Former Montreal Expos pitcher Dennis Martinez -- known as El Presidente during a career that spanned 23 years -- was hired Monday as the Houston Astros bullpen coach.
Martinez has a reputation as a strong instructor and the Astros are a young team with numerous prospects from Latin America.
"It's one thing to be bilingual and have a communication," Houston general manager Jeff Luhnow said. "It's another to be bicultural and have an understanding of the Latin American player -- where they came from, how they got here, the challenges that they face on a day-to-day basis. Because it's a big culture shock for a lot of them.
Martinez, 57, has spent the past six seasons as a pitching coach in the St. Louis Cardinals organization. He also will manage his native Nicaragua in the qualifying round of the 2013 World Baseball Classic.
He pitched in the majors from 1976 to 1998, going 245-193 with a 3.70 earned-run average. Martinez pitched a perfect game for the Expos at Los Angeles on July 28, 1991.
The Astros also announced the hiring of Eduardo Perez as bench coach. The 43-year-old had been a hitting coach for the Miami Marlins.
MADSON KEY FOR CHAPMAN SHIFT
Pitcher Ryan Madson, who sat out last season after undergoing Tommy John surgery, is aiming to come back as a closer in 2013.
He might get that chance in Cincinnati, even though the Reds last week declined his $11-million option for 2013, making him a free agent.
Should Madson re-sign with the Reds, it would allow them to put closer Aroldis Chapman into the starting rotation.
"A lot of teams have already expressed interest" in Madson, agent Scott Boras told the Philadelphia Inquirer.
The 32-year-old had 32 saves and a 2.37 earned-run average for the Philadelphia Phillies in 2011. But when the Phillies then signed Jonathan Papelbon as closer, Madson opted for a one-year, $6-million deal with the Reds. But he never pitched for them because of his elbow injury.
The Reds haven't decided whether they want to use Chapman as a starter or as a reliever.
"We're talking about it," Reds general manager Walt Jocketty told MLB.com
"It depends on if we re-sign (reliever Jonathan) Broxton and Madson. Or if we get another closer."
Chapman, 24, went 5-5 with a 1.51 ERA and had 38 saves in 43 attempts. He had 122 strikeouts and 23 walks in 71 2/3 innings.
Pitcher Joel Peralta has agreed to a deal to remain with the Rays, the Tampa Bay Times reported Monday. The 36-year-old right-hander has a two-year, $6-million contract, with a $2.5-million option for 2015. Peralta had a 2-6 record with a 3.63 ERA and two saves in 76 relief appearances in 2012 ... The St. Louis Cardinals have promoted John Mabry to hitting coach from assistant hitting coach, replacing Mark McGwire, who joined the Los Angeles Dodgers as hitting coach. Also, triple-A pitching coach Blaise Ilsley will be new Cards bullpen coach, replacing Dyar Miller.