WINSTON-SALEM DASH: Former MLB All-Star Vizquel Headlines 2018
WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. - In conjunction with the Chicago White Sox, the Winston-Salem Dash have announced their on-field staff for the 2018 season. As previously released, former Major Leaguer Omar Vizquel, who won 11 Gold Gloves during his 24-year career in the big leagues, will manage the Dash this upcoming season. Vizquel will be joined by hitting coach Charlie Poe, pitching coach Matt Zaleski, athletic trainer Josh Fallin and strength and conditioning coach George Timke, while former Major League catcher Guillermo Quiroz will serve as an additional coach on the staff.
The 47th manager in Winston-Salem franchise history, Vizquel will be a skipper for the first time in affiliated baseball when he leads the Dash in 2018. He most recently served as the first base coach with the Detroit Tigers from 2014-17, and he was also the manager for the Venezuelan national team during last spring's World Baseball Classic.
During his decorated playing career, Vizquel played 2,968 games for six different teams, including a two-year stint with the White Sox from 2010-11. One of the premier shortstops of his era, Vizquel holds the all-time record at his position with a .985 fielding percentage. He collected nine Gold Glove awards in a row between 1993-2001 while playing with the Cleveland Indians and Seattle Mariners. The 50-year old is a three-time All-Star and ranks 43rd on the all-time hit list with 2,877. Vizquel is a first-time candidate for the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 2018.
For a fourth consecutive season, Poe will serve as Winston-Salem's hitting coach. Last year, he assisted Zack Collins, Danny Mendick and Louis Silverio in earning spots in the Carolina League All-Star Game. Poe also aided Eloy Jimenez in collecting a CL Year-End All-Star nod, as the star prospect compiled a slash line of .345/.410/1.092 during his 29-game stint in Winston-Salem. In 2016, Poe helped Mason Robbins (.314) and Nick Basto (.308) finish first and second, respectively, in batting average amongst Carolina League qualifiers. He also worked with current White Sox Adam Engel and Omar Narvaez in 2015. As a player, Poe suited up professionally from 1990-2002, including three seasons at the Triple-A level.
Fallin will enter his 20th season in the White Sox system and 16th with Winston-Salem in 2018. A three-time Carolina League Trainer of the Year, Fallin was in Winston-Salem from 2001-10 before a two-year stint with Double-A Birmingham. At the collegiate level, Fallin has worked for New Mexico State University, his alma mater, and Wake Forest University, with whom he served on the 2007 national championship men's soccer team.
During his first season with Winston-Salem in 2016, Timke earned the Carolina League's Strength and Conditioning Coach of the Year award, as announced by the Professional Baseball Strength and Conditioning Coaches Society (PBSCCS). The Suffern, N.Y., native began his White Sox tenure with Great Falls in 2013 before working in Kannapolis in 2014 and 2015. His professional career began with the Royals' organization in 2009.
Zaleski, who pitched for parts of four seasons with Winston-Salem from 2006-09, will make his coaching debut at the High-A level in 2018. A 30th-round pick by Chicago in 2004 out of Indiana State, Zaleski spent 11 seasons in the Minors, reaching as high as Triple-A Charlotte. After beginning his coaching career as a pitching coach in Great Falls in 2016, the 36-year-old served the same role with Low-A Kannapolis last year. Under Zaleski's tutelage, four pitchers - Alec Hansen, Kyle Kubat, Jimmy Lambert and Mike Morrison - were named South Atlantic League Midseason All-Stars in 2017.
Quiroz enters his first season as a coach after appearing in 148 games over 10 Major League seasons. During his time in the big leagues, which stretched from 2004-14, the 36-year-old spent time as a backstop in Toronto, Seattle, Texas, Baltimore, Boston and San Francisco.
"We are excited to welcome Omar, Matt and Guillermo - three former players with a wealth of experience - to Winston-Salem for the 2018 season," Dash President CJ Johnson said. "Plus, it will be great to see familiar faces like Charlie, Josh and George back in the home dugout at BB&T Ballpark."
Brian Drahman will be the White Sox rehab pitching coach after serving as Winston Salem's pitching coach in 2016. For the second straight year, former Dash managers Tim Esmay (2015) and Ryan Newman (2013) will act as skippers for Great Falls and the AZL White Sox, respectively. Justin Jirschele, who was an infielder for Winston-Salem in 2014 and 2015, will once again manage for Low-A Kannapolis. Both Jirschele and Esmay reached the playoffs last year in their first season with their respective clubs.
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Carolina League Stories from January 17, 2018
- WINSTON-SALEM DASH: Former MLB All-Star Vizquel Headlines 2018 - Winston-Salem Dash