CLEVELAND, OH – The Cleveland Indians Tuesday announced the organizational staff alignment within the Player Development System for the upcoming season.
Chris Tremie (AAA Columbus) returns for his fifth season with the Clippers while Mark Budzinski (Double-A Akron) and Tony Mansolino (Single-A Lynchburg) each move up one level with 2016 Baseball America Minor League Manager of the Year David Wallace moving to the role of Special Assignment Coordinator for the 2017 season. Larry Day (A Lake County) moves into a managerial role for the first time after serving as a Hitting Coach at Lynchburg and Mahoning Valley the last two seasons. Former Indians catcher Luke Carlin, who served on the Akron staff in 2016, will guide the Short-Season Rookie Mahoning Valley Scrappers this June. Carlin enjoyed a 14-year professional career from 2002-2015, appearing in 56 Major League games with San Diego, Cleveland and Arizona.
In 2016, all four full-season clubs posted winning records for the second straight season as the organization’s combined mark of 407-357 (.533) was sixth-best among the 30 Major League franchises. AAA Columbus, AA Akron and Single-A Lynchburg all captured regular season division titles as the Rubberducks took the Eastern League postseason title.
Matt Blake moves to a front office role after serving as the Lower-Level Pitching Coordinator in his first season with the organization in 2016. Blake replaces Eric Binder, who was recently promoted to Director of Baseball Operations. Prior to joining the Indians, Blake was the Pitching Coordinator at Cressey Sports Performance and held a similar position for Yarmouth-Dennis in the Cape Cod League. Blake, along with Alex Eckelman, will assist with the leadership of the Player Development staff and the design and creation of its programs, policies and curriculums. He will oversee the player-plan process for all of the system’s pitchers.
Youngstown native Todd Kubacki has been promoted to Performance Coordinator after nine seasons in the position of Minor League Strength and Conditioning Coordinator. Ed Subel, who most recently served as the Triple-A Columbus Strength & Conditioning coach, moves into Kubacki’s former role as the organizational Strength and Conditioning Coordinator.
Jerry Owens enjoyed a 14-year player career from 2003-16 and appeared in 129 Major League games with the Chicago White Sox from 2006-09. The Santa Clarita, CA native recently wrapped up his playing career in 2016 after a stint in the Mexican League. He attended The Master’s College and UCLA and was the second round pick of the Montreal Expos in 2003. He stole 185 bases during his Minor League career and topped the 30-SB mark five times.
Johnny Narron was most recently the Hitting Coordinator and Triple-A Hitting Coach in the Los Angeles Angels system since 2015 and was the Major League Hitting Coach of the Milwaukee Brewers from 2012-14 after serving as the Assistant Hitting Coach with the Texas Rangers prior. Narron has been involved in baseball in some capacity since beginning his professional playing career in 1974. His brother, Jerry, is a former Major League player, coach and manager and currently manages in the Diamondbacks Minor League system.
Grant Fink rejoins the Indians organization after spending three seasons in the system as a first and third base from 2013-15 after being selected in the 23rd round of the 2013 draft out of Missouri Western State University (St. Joseph, MO). The Spokane, WA native played in the Frontier League in 2016 before his recent hire as the Bench Coach at Mahoning Valley.
Pete Lauritson most recently served as the volunteer assistant coach at his alma mater, the University of Iowa, after a successful 13-year hitting coach stint at North Iowa Area Community College (NIACC) from 2004-16. NIACC appeared in the NJCAA Division II College World Series three times during his tenure. He has also managed in the summer Northwoods League for collegians.
Joe Torres spent the last two years as the Pitching Coach at King’s Ridge Christian Academy outside Atlanta, GA. The Bronx, NY native and left-handed pitcher was the first round selection (10th overall) of the Los Angeles Angels in 2000 out of Gateway High School in Kissimmee, FL. He pitched in five different organizations during his 14-year playing career from 2000-13 and appeared in the Baseball World Cup and Pan Am Games for Team USA and Team Puerto Rico.