The Philadelphia Phillies coaching staff is set for the 2016 season, and we are presenting a series here at TBOH to introduce each of them to fans.
In the continuation of that TBOH series in which Ryan Gerstel and I are taking a look at the 11 coaches on this season’s Phillies staff, today I will introduce fans to bullpen catcher Jesus Tiamo.
The 55-year-old Tiamo begins his eighth year as the Phillies’ bullpen backstop in the 2016 season. In his current role, Tiamo helps warm up the relief pitchers, and will assist newly named bullpen coach Rick Kranitz with any additional help that might be required at any point.
A native of Puerto la Cruz, Venezuela, Tiamo played for his home country in the 1979 Pan-American Games and had a brief playing career from 1981 to 1983 as a catcher in the Pittsburgh Pirates farm system.
In 1981 with the Gulf Coast League Pirates, Tiamo played 33 games, hitting .303 with 19 RBIs. The next season, Tiamo played 131 games with Pittsburgh’s low-A ball Greenwood affiliate, owning a .267 average while smacking five home runs and driving in 75 runs.
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In 1983, his final season in the Bucs’ organization, Tiamo batted .261 with three longballs and 43 RBIs in 114 games with Greenwood. From 1980 to 1987, Tiamo played for the Navegantes del Magallanes in the Venezuelan winter league.
Tiamo got into the coaching end of the game starting in 1995 with the Chicago White Sox, working in their minor league system. He left the White Sox after the 1999 season and took a job with the Mets organization, becoming the manager of their Venezuelan Summer League team.
Tiamo then moved on to that same position with the Phillies in 2008, and would manage for one VSL season. In 2009, he assumed his current role as the big club’s full-time bullpen catcher.
Tiamo is a behind-the-scenes guy that probably isn’t well-known to most Phillies fans, but he’ll play a big role in helping Kranitz become acclimated to the way things are run in the Phils’ pen this year, while helping the new coach implement some of his own ideas into that program.
Tiamo may also throw batting practice to the team once in a while, something that he has done in the past. But his top priority is to help warm up the relief pitchers and allow Pete Mackanin to keep his backup catcher on the bench at all times. It might seem like a small role, but it turns out to be an important functional piece of the whole Phillies organizational picture.