February 14, 2008 - Midwest League (MWL) - West Michigan Whitecaps
COMSTOCK PARK, MI - The West Michigan Whitecaps, in conjunction with the Detroit Tigers, announced today that Mark Johnson will be joining the 2008 Whitecaps as the team's pitching coach. Alan Mills, who was originally slated to fill that role for the 'Caps, will be the pitching coach for the Oneonta Tigers of the New York-Penn League.
Johnson joined the Tigers organization in 2007 for his first professional coaching assignment as the pitching coach in Oneonta. A first-round selection by the Houston Astros in the June 1996 draft, Johnson pitched a total of nine seasons with five diferent organizations including the Astros (1997), Florida Marlins (1998), New York Yankees (1999), Tigers (2000-03, 2005) and Los Angeles Dodgers (2004). Johnson had nine major league appearances during the 2000 season with the Tigers.
The 2008 'Caps will be lead by manager Joe DePastino, and Benny Distefano will return as the team's hitting coach. The fans' first opportunity to see the defending Midwest League Champion West Michigan Whitecaps will be on Wednesday, April 2 when the team takes on Grand Valley State University in a seven-inning exhibition game at Fifth Third Ballpark at 6:00 p.m. The team opens the season on the road, Thursday, April 3 in South Bend and returns home on Monday, April 7 to take on the Great Lakes Loons at 6:35 p.m. The home opener will be followed by the first of 20 Farm Bureau Insurance fireworks shows. Tickets for all 2008 regular season games are currently on sale and can be purchased online at www.whitecapsbaseball.com or by calling the Whitecaps ticket office at (616) 784-4131.