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Monday, December 2
 
Little, Red Sox 'overwhelmed' by Rojas

Associated Press

BOSTON -- Euclides Rojas, the career saves leader for Cuba's national team, was hired by the Boston Red Sox on Monday as their bullpen coach.

Rojas, 35, succeeds Bob Kipper, fired along with two other coaches in October after the Red Sox failed to make the AL playoffs.

General manager Theo Epstein said Rojas' experience as the Cuban team's closer, as well as his track record in the Pirates and Marlins' minor league systems, gave the Red Sox confidence he can turn around a bullpen that has struggled on occasion during the past two seasons.

''Every time we asked somebody about him, they said, 'Why isn't he in the big leagues?''' Epstein said.

Manager Grady Little said Red Sox officials met with Rojas last week and were ''overwhelmed with what he brought to the table. It didn't take us long to decide he was our man.''

Rojas and 12 others crammed onto a 15-foot raft and left Cuba in August, 1994. They were rescued by the U.S. Coast Guard after five days at sea and taken to Guantanamo Bay, where they remained for six months.

Rojas played independent league baseball in Palm Springs, Calif. in 1995, then signed with the Florida Marlins after they selected him during the 30th round of the amateur draft.

Rojas was hired as a coach in the Marlins' organization in 1996 and instructed young pitchers with the team's Gulf Coast League and Florida State League affiliates. He spent 12 games as the Marlins' major league bullpen coach in 1999.

He was a roving instructor for the Pirates last season.