December 8, 2017 - Texas League (TL) - Frisco RoughRiders
RIDERS MANAGER JOE MIKULIK RETURNS FOR FOURTH SEASON IN FRISCO
ARLINGTON, Texas (Dec. 7, 2017) - The Texas Rangers today announced the managers, coaches, and staff for all minor league affiliates in 2018. Texas affiliates combined for three division titles and one league championship in 2017.
Former major league infielder Spike Owen has been elevated to manager at High-A Down East as he enters his third season as a skipper in the Texas farm system. He managed the club's High-A affiliate in 2015, leading High Desert to a second half division title and the California League semifinals. Matt Hagen will manage Hickory after his debut season as a manager with Spokane last year. Hagen led the Indians to the postseason in his only season at the helm. Kenny Holmberg returns to a managerial role in 2018, taking over for Hagen at Spokane. Holmberg previously managed the DSL Rangers in 2011 and the AZL Rangers from 2013-15. In addition to managing in Spokane, Holmberg will retain his responsibilities as the organization's infield coordinator.
Several Texas coaches will be with new affiliates in 2018. The Round Rock staff will feature a pair of new coaches in pitching coach Brian Shouse and hitting coach Howard Johnson. Shouse spent last season at Frisco, while Johnson led Down East to a Carolina League co-Championship as a manager. Johnson has been a major league hitting coach with Seattle (2013-15) and the New York Mets (2008-10).
In addition to Johnson, there will be new hitting coaches at several affiliates, as Kenny Hook (Down East), Chase Lambin (Hickory), Jared Goedert (Spokane), and Jeremy Moore (AZL Rangers) will all have new assignments. Greg Hibbard (Frisco) and Jono Armold (Spokane) will serve as pitching coaches with new clubs in 2018.
The organization's entire group of roving instructors return in 2018.
The lone new hire in the organization is Chris Egelston as a pitching coach with the AZL Rangers. Egelston previously operated his Triple Play Baseball Academy in Blue Springs, Missouri and joined the organization during the 2017 campaign.
A look at the Riders' 2018 staff (changes from 2017 underlined in italics; new hires denoted by*):
Manager Joe Mikulik
Pitching Greg Hibbard
Hitting Jason Hart
Trainer Jacob Newburn
Strength Wade Lamont
The organization's roving instructor staff remains completely intact from 2017. Corey Ragsdale will lead the group in his third season as Field Coordinator. Danny Clark begins his 13th season in the Texas system and 10th as the organization's pitching coordinator. Josue Perez will be in his fourth season in the role of hitting coordinator.
Former major league infielder Jason Wood returns for a fourth season at the helm of the Express and ninth season overall in the organization. Newcomers Howard Johnson and Brian Shouse join Wood in Round Rock this season, while former Texas backstop Geno Petralli will be on the staff for a fourth straight season. Carlos Olivas (athletic trainer) and Eric McMahon (strength and conditioning) both return. McMahon will continue with additional responsibilities as the organization's assistant strength and conditioning coordinator.
Joe Mikulik returns to Frisco for his fourth season, his 20th season overall as a minor league manager. Former Ranger Jason Hart enters his seventh season as the Frisco hitting coach and Greg Hibbard joins the staff after two seasons at Round Rock. Jacob Newburn begins his third season as Frisco's athletic trainer and Wade Lamont will be the strength and conditioning coach for a second straight year.
Owen's staff at Down East will feature Steve Mintz (pitching), Kenny Hook (hitting), and Carlos Maldonado (coach). Mintz is the only holdover from the 2017 staff, as Hook spent last season at Hickory and Maldonado was a player/coach at Frisco. Alex Rodriguez (athletic trainer) and Al Sandoval (strength and conditioning) round out the staff.
Hagen will be joined in Hickory by Jose Jaimes (pitching), Chase Lambin (hitting), and Turtle Thomas (coach). Lambin and Thomas were both apart of Hagen's staff in Spokane last season and Jaimes enters his third season with the Crawdads. Athletic trainer Luke Teeters also moves to Hickory in 2018 and Adam Noel will be in second season as the team's strength and conditioning coach.
Holmberg's staff will feature nearly all newcomers to the Spokane club. In addition to Holmberg, Jono Armold (pitching) will move to Spokane after spending last season with the AZL Rangers. Hitting coach Jared Goedert will have a new role on the staff following one season as the team's fourth coach. Athletic trainer Bronson Santillan will also be in his first season at Spokane. Strength and conditioning coach Ed Yong returns for his 10th season with the Indians.
Matt Siegel will manage the Arizona League Rangers for a third straight season. Henderson Lugo and Egelston will serve as pitching coaches. Salomon Manriquez returns as a hitting coach, while Jeremy Moore joins the staff after one season as a coach for Down East. Former Ranger Guilder Rodriguez will be a member of the AZL Rangers staff for a second straight year. Chandler Geller returns for his second season as the club's strength and conditioning coach.
Carlos Cardoza will manage the Dominican Summer League Rangers for a third straight season. Jesus Delgado and Pablo Blanco both return to the staff as pitching coaches, while Chad Comer, Alexis Infante, Chu Ovalle, Roberto De La Rosa, and Luis Encarnacion also return. Eduardo Thomas will be the team's strength and conditioning coach for an 11th season.