Steve Krah
Steve Krah
Baseball has been sports reporter Steve Krah's passion since childhood. In Season Tickets, there will be plenty of stories from the diamond, but that's not all. Look for stories about athletic happenings and personalties of all kinds.

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Reporter Steve Krah covers sports for the Elkhart Truth.

Rinard turns his attention to baseball coaching

Former Marian High School and Yankees player is throwing his career a change-up.

Posted on Sept. 18, 2013 at 1:00 a.m. | Updated on Sept. 18, 2013 at 8:00 a.m.

Bobby Rinard made his decision midway through his third professional baseball season.

The former Marian High School standout decided his future in the game was not as a player. It was as a coach.

So the fleet-footed outfielder who played in the New York Yankees organization in 2011 and for independent teams in 2012 (Normal, Ill.) and the first half of 2013 (Edbinburg, Texas) decided to go back to the University of Arizona to finish his psychology degree and to get started on his coaching career.

Rinard, who had played at Arizona in 2010 and 2011, answered an invitation by Wildcats head coach Andy Lopez to be an undergraduate assistant - a sort of "internship in coaching."

"It's an opportunity of a lifetime," said Rinard, who left the Edinburg Roadrunners - the eventual 2013 United Baseball League champions - at the end of June and was soon back on the Tucson campus helping Arizona's outfielders and hitters while also soaking up knowledge about all aspects of the college game, including recruiting, and building his resume.

"I want to round out my coaching skills," said Rinard, 24. "I want to learn what I can about pitching and catching, too."

After high school, Rinard began his college playing career with two seasons under then-head coach Sky Smeltzer at renowned Yavapai College in Prescott, Ariz., before moving on to the NCAA Division I ranks at Arizona.

At Arizona, where Rinard played in two NCAA tournament regionals, going against former Texas A&M and current St. Louis Cardinals right-hander Michael Wacha. He could see himself leading a team at a junior college or small four-year school.

"I like the idea of rebuilding a program someday," said Rinard.

It was while still living in northern Indiana that Rinard first got a taste for instruction. Bobby taught lessons while working for his father, Jeff, at the former "Chasing A Dream" training facility on the south side of South Bend, near Lakeville.

"I felt I always got through to the kids," said the young Rinard, who attended Catholic grade schools in South Bend and Mishawaka before going to Marian High School.

Rinard was drafted by the New York Mets in 2009, but did not sign. Two years later, he was signed as an undrafted player by the Yankees, learning the Steinbrenner way and helping the 2011 Tom Slater-managed Staten Island club win a New York-Penn League championship.

Rinard's definition of coach is the person who sets the standards and rules, makes the practice schedule etc. He said good coaches are also good teachers and not only tell players what to do, but they are able to show them the way.

"You have to teach them how to do it," said Rinard.

Rinard is sure he can impart some of his wisdom on college players.

"I've learned a lot of of different things," said Rinard. "I feel like I've got a lot to offer them."

Rinard has been working with freshmen players on the hit-and-run and bunting techniques.

"You want to hit it through the 4 or 6 hole (second base or shortstop) and get your hands on top of the flight of the ball," said Rinard.

Especially with the less-lively bats now used in college, it is important for all players to be able to get down a bunt. Rinard points out that middle of the order hitter Seth Mejias-Breen (now in the Cincinnati Reds organization) executed a bunt in the 2012 College World Series final that helped Arizona win a national title.

"You have to be well-rounded," said Rinard. "You have to be able to bunt."


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