by Stuttgart Reds
Stuttgart – Shortly before the Reds announced that their second team would be moving up to the Regionaliga, it was released that one of their own would be taking over as coach of the second squad. Naohisa Matsuda will run the second team during the 2012 season, which will be his first venture as a head coach. In 2007, Matsuda assisted in the coaching duties for the Reds (then first team) Regionaliga squad. The Japanese outfielder won the best batter award for the Reds 2011 2.Bundesliga team hitting .483 for the season, mostly as a pinch hitter.
With the first team promotion to Germany’s highest level, the Reds will now put a large emphasis on developing future players. Matsuda will be a perfect fit for that role as the technical knowledge he brings is top level. In 2011, first team head coach, Bret Helenius stepped in during the season to take over the coaching duties. “I am extremely happy Naohisa Matsuda has accepted this position with our organization and I am very impressed with the experience and the knowledge he brings to our players” said Helenius. Matsuda‘s responbilities will cover game management and player development. He will also serve as a player for the second team and will also continue his role on the 1.Bundesliga team as a pinch hitter and outfielder. Matsuda holds a .406 career batting average in four seasons in Germany.
Assisting Matsuda will be Gonzalo Rivera. Rivera was on the Reds 2010 Regionaliga team that was promoted to the 2.Bundesliga. Rivera, who comes from Mexico, will help with developing young defensive skills. After taking a season off, Rivera will be a player/coach for the Regionaliga team and brings experience from playing in Mexico. “Bringing Gonzo back to the club was a top priority for me this season” said Helenius. “Keeping our players with so much good experience and enthusiasm for the game is what makes clubs continue to improve.”