The SF Giants brought back plenty of familiar faces when they announced the coaching staff at each minor league affiliate. Included in that announcement was former reliever Dan Runzler returning as the pitching coach for the San Jose Giants.
Former SF Giants reliever returns as pitching coach
San Francisco originally drafted the left-handed hurler in the ninth round of the 2007 out of the University of California - Riverside. He struggled in adjusting to professional hitters at first, but he made a meteoric rise in 2009.
He began that year in Low-A where he recorded a 0.64 ERA with 45 strikeouts in 26.1 frames before receiving a promotion to High-A. His dominance continued, producing a 0.84 ERA with 26 strikeouts in 21.1 innings with the San Jose Giants.
His stints in Double-A and Triple-A were much more brief as he allowed just one earned run in 11.1 innings across the two levels. By that point, he earned a callup to the major league club and his strong performance continued. In a Giants uniform, the young southpaw yielded just one earned run with 11 strikeouts in 8.1 innings down the stretch.
That 2009 season was a whirlwind year for Runzler as he pitched in five different levels in the Giants organization. He followed up his strong 2009 campaign with a solid start to the 2010 season as he posted a 3.03 ERA in 41 appearances.
However, the former ninth-round pick dislocated his knee in the middle of an at-bat and he was never truly the same on the mound. Runzler appeared for the Giants briefly in 2011 and 2012 and was released in the middle of the 2014 season.
Runzler's career was one of persistence as he continued to pitch professionally for the next several seasons. He made stops with the Arizona Diamondbacks and Minnesota Twins before making a cameo appearance with the Pittsburgh Pirates in 2017. That would be his last on a major league mound, but he continued to pitch in the minors through the 2019 season before hanging up his spikes for good.
The new Giants pitching coach returns to familiar territory as he made three stops in San Jose as a player. He will be tasked with shepherding some of the younger arms in the organization. The Giants drafted nine pitchers in the first 10 rounds last year, so there is plenty of new talent for Runzler in his first assignment as a coach.