Results tagged ‘ Mark Johnson ’

8/25 Kane County’s Johnson honored

Kane County’s Mark Johnson was named the Midwest League manager of the year on Monday. Johnson has guided the Cougars to an 86-46 record this season, the best mark among all Major League and Minor League teams.

The Cougars are three wins away from breaking the mark for most regular season wins in franchise history. Entering play Monday, there were eight games remaining. Under Johnson, the Class A team clinched the Western Division first half championship and will play in September’s Midwest League playoffs as the top seed.

Johnson has had to deal with plenty of roster turnover. The Cougars have lost 15 of the 25 players on their April Opening Day roster. This is his fourth season as a manager in the Cubs’ system. Johnson made his Kane County managerial debut last season and prior to that, skippered the Short-A Boise Hawks in 2011 and 2012. The ’12 Hawks advanced to the Northwest League Championship Series. Johnson enjoyed 17 professional seasons (1994-2010) on the field including 332 Major League games with the Chicago White Sox, Oakland Athletics, Milwaukee Brewers and St. Louis Cardinals.

4/2 Class A Kane County

The Class A Kane County Cougars announced their preliminary Opening Day roster. The Cougars and manager Mark Johnson open the season Thursday at Fifth Third Bank Ballpark against the Quad Cities River Bandits. The infield includes first baseman Dan Vogelbach, the Cubs’ second round pick in 2011. Vogelbach is ranked No. 11 on MLB.com’s list of top 20 Cubs prospects, and batted .322 with 17 home runs in 61 games between Mesa and Boise last season. Third baseman Jeimer Candelario was the youngest regular in the Northwest League last season and batted .281 with six home runs and 47 RBIs for Boise as an 18-year-old. Middle infielder Gioskar Amaya led the Northwest League with 12 triples last season and topped NWL second basemen with a .968 fielding percentage. Marco Hernandez split last season between Class-A Peoria and Boise, batting .286 in 67 games with Boise.

The Cougars’ pitching will feature right-hander Pierce Johnson, the 43rd overall selection in last June’s Draft. He’ll be joined by Jose Arias, South African native Tayler Scott, and last year’s Rule 5 pick Lendy Castillo. Pitchers Michael Heesch and Nathan Dorris are on the preliminary roster, which means the Cougars will have at least one Illinois-born player for each of the past five Opening Day rosters. Heesch was born in Crystal Lake and graduated from Prairie Ridge High School. Dorris is from Carbondale and attended Southern Illinois University.

You can follow the Cougars at: http://www.kccougars.com.

12/11 Minor League staffs

Marty Pevey will return to managing as skipper of the Cubs’ Triple-A Iowa team, Buddy Bailey stays at Double-A Tennessee, Dave Keller will skipper Class A Daytona, and Mark Johnson will manage the new Class A Kane County affiliate. The Cubs announced the Minor League staffs on Tuesday.

Pevey, 51, just completed his third season as the Minor League catching coordinator. He last managed in 2009 with Class A Peoria, when he was named Midwest League manager of the year, leading the team to an 81-57 record. Mike Mason will return as Iowa pitching coach and Brian Harper, who was Daytona’s manager last season, will join the Triple-A team as hitting coach. Harper was the Mesa Solar Sox hitting coach in the Arizona Fall League this year.

This will be Bailey’s second straight season with Tennessee, and 24th as a Minor League manager. Bailey, 55, guided the Smokies to a 72-68 record in 2012, and picked up his 1,600th win on July 6. He ranks fourth among active managers in wins. Jeff Fassero will return as Tennessee pitching coach and Desi Wilson will move up from Daytona to be the Smokies hitting coach.

Keller, 53, was Iowa’s hitting coach last season and a special assistant to the Major League team in 2011. This will be his 10th season in the Cubs organization. He has managed in the Minor Leagues for the Reds, indians and White Sox. Mariano Duncan will join Keller as Daytona’s hitting coach and Storm Davis will join the Cubs’ organization as the team’s pitching coach.

The 2013 season will be the Cubs’ first in Kane County after eight years in Peoria, and Johnson, 37, will be at the helm. The former big league catcher has managed Class A Boise for two years, and the Hawks won the second-half East division with a 24-14 record. Boise won the Northwest League East Division Series, but lost to Vancouver in the best-of-three league championship series, 2-1.
Johnson will be joined at Kane County by pitching coach Ron Villone and hitting coach Tom Beyers.

Gary Van Tol, who has 20 years of coaching experience, will take over as Class A Boise manager. David Rosario returns as the Hawks pitching coach, and Bill Buckner will return as hitting coach for his second season. Buckner enjoyed a 22-year Major League playing career, playing for the Cubs from 1977-84. Jonathan Fierro, son of former Cubs athletic trainer John Fierro, will begin his first season as Boise’s athletic trainer.

Bobby Mitchell will stay as manager for the Mesa Rookie League team, which will have two hitting coaches in Ricardo Medina and Jimmy Gonzalez. Medina has been a coach, manager or scout in the Cubs organization since 1999. Gonzalez is a former catcher who played 14 Minor League seasons after he was selected in the first round by the Astros in 1991.

Yudith Ozorio will manage the Dominican squad, the same position he has held for the past three seasons. Leo Hernandez will serve as the pitching coach in his 18th year with the club while Oscar Bernard makes his organization debut as the club’s hitting coach. Osmin Melendez will serve as the Venezuelan Cubs manager, a newly created team. He will be joined by hitting coach Franklin Blanco, who begins his seventh year with the organization.

* The Cubs also announced their Minor League coordinators for the 2013 season, including four newcomers to the organization. Tim Cossins takes over as field coordinator after 10 seasons in the Marlins farm system, including the last six as the catching coordinator. Cossins takes over for Brandon Hyde, who was promoted to director of player development in August.

Derek Johnson is the new Minor League pitching coordinator after 11 seasons at Vanderbilt University as the team’s pitching coach, including the last three as the school’s associate head coach/pitching coach. Johnson earned National Pitching Coach of the Year honors in 2004 and National Assistant Coach of the Year honors in 2010.

Anthony Iapoce, the special assistant to the general manager and player development, will oversee the Minor League hitting program while contributing to additional projects within the organization. He has spent the last three seasons as roving hitting coordinator for the Blue Jays.

Carmelo Martinez enters his 16th season in the Cubs organization, and his first as hitting coordinator for the Cubs Single-A, Rookie League and Dominican League teams. He was the Latin American field coordinator for the previous five years (2008-12). Jose Flores joins the Cubs as Minor League infield coordinator, and will begin his 13th year as a coach or manager. Lee Tinsley enters his third year as the outfield/base running coordinator.

– Carrie Muskat

9/6 Boise advances to NWL finals

Felix Pena gave up five hits over seven scoreless innings Wednesday night to help Class A Boise beat Yakima, 3-2, and advance to the Northwest League championship series. Pena struck out two and did not walk a batter. Dan Vogelbach delivered a two-run single in the third. The Hawks will face Vancouver in the best of three championship series, starting Thursday. Boise is seeking its seventh title and first since 2004.

“This is a very young team,” Boise manager Mark Johnson said. “This is a great time in their careers, to be in a position like this, to win a championship. Whatever happens, it’s great experience. Some poeple go through their whole career without a chance to win a championship. To have a chance to win one is a feat in itself.”

– Carrie Muskat

12/16 Minor League staffs

Here are the Cubs’ Minor League staffs for 2011:

Triple-A Iowa: manager Bill Dancy, pitching coach Mike Mason, hitting coach Von Joshua.

Double-A Tennessee: manager Brian Harper, pitching coach Marty Mason, hitting coach Mariano Duncan.

Class A Daytona: manager Buddy Bailey, pitching coach Tom Pratt, hitting coach Barbaro Garbey

Class A Peoria: manager Casey Kopitzke, pitching coach Jeff Fassero, hitting coach Ricardo Medina.

Class A Boise: manager Mark Johnson, pitching coach David Rosario, hitting coach Desi Wilson.

Mesa rookie league: manager Juan Cabreja, pitching coaches Rick Tronerud and Frank Castillo, and hitting coach Jason Dubois.

Dominican rookie No. 1: manager Manuel Callado, pitching coach Leo Hernandez, hitting coach Alberto Garcia.

Dominican rookie No. 2: manager Yudith Ozorio, pitching coach Anderson Tavares, hitting coaches Leo Perez and Franklin Blanco.

– Carrie Muskat

7/8 Backstop options

If Geovany Soto is sidelined for an extended period because of a strained oblique, the Cubs don’t have many options. Jake Fox has caught and could sub on Wednesday if needed. But they’ll need more than one for Sunday’s day-night doubleheader against the Cardinals. Steve Clevenger and Chris Robinson are the catchers at Triple-A Iowa. Clevenger is a converted infielder, and was batting .274. He began the year at Double-A Tennessee, where he was hitting .364. Chris Robinson is the Iowa Cubs’ main catcher, hitting .315 in 59 games. He was acquired from the Tigers for Neifi Perez in August 2006.

Mark Johnson, who has big league experience, also was at Iowa, but he’s been on the disabled list since June 8 because of sore muscles in his neck. Johnson has not played since May 30.

– Carrie Muskat

Saturday in the park, Part II

The one thing Lou Piniella is looking for this spring from his hitters is bat speed, and so far, he hasn’t seen much of it from the big three, Alfonso Soriano, Aramis Ramirez and Derrek Lee. Soriano and Ramirez were both in Saturday’s lineup for the Cubs’ game against the Milwaukee Brewers.

“I’m not complaining,” Piniella said, “but I’d just like to see it. You lull yourself into thinking, ‘I’ve got time’ and play a waiting game.”

But hitters can’t just flip a switch and turn on the power.

“Everybody has to work at it to maintain it,” Piniella said.

Other Saturday pregame notes:

  • Mark Johnson started behind the plate Saturday and is part of the mix for the backup catcher job. Piniella said Koyie Hill and Paul Bako both call a good game and are both good catch and throw players. But neither one has done much at the plate.
  • Looking ahead to Monday’s game against Kansas City, Chad Gaudin, Jeff Samardzija, Kevin Gregg and Sean Marshall are all scheduled to pitch. Rich Harden, Ryan Dempster and Aaron Heilman all are expected to pitch Tuesday vs. Seattle. Wednesday is an off day for the Cubs.
  • Carlos Marmol could return sooner than expected if the Dominican Republic team doesn’t rally in the World Baseball Classic. The Netherlands beat the Dominican, 3-2, on Saturday in the double elimination tournament.

– Carrie Muskat 

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