Fryman, Willis highlight Indians minor-league staff changes

Carl Willis, who was the Indians pitching coach for seven seasons under Eric Wedge, will be the pitching coach in Triple-A Columbus this upcoming season.

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The Indians will have new managers for three of their lower-level affiliates as the franchise announced the staffs for their minor-league teams for the upcoming season.

Shaun Larkin, who was the hitting coach at Low-A Lake County last season, takes over the managerial reigns while Mark Budzinski moves up to High-A Lynchburg. Travis Fryman will take over at Short-A Mahoning Valley where he managed from 2008-10. Fryman has been a special assistant and infield coordinator the past four seasons.

"He is a guy with the experience and pedigree who has had an impact working with players at that level," said Indians Vice President of Player Development Carter Hawkins of Fryman. "His family loves the Niles area and he is excited about returning there."

Chris Tremie will be in his third season at Triple-A Columbus while Dave Wallace is in his second season at Double-A Akron and fourth as a manager in the Indians system. Columbus, Akron and Lake County ended up making the playoffs last year in their respective leagues.

Anthony Medrano, who has been in the organization for eight years, will lead the Rookie-Level Arizona League Indians for the fifth straight season. Scooter Tucker, who managed at Carolina last season, will be the catching coordinator after managing in Carolina and Lake County the past two years.

Among other changes — Carl Willis, who was the Tribe’s pitching coach from 2003-09, will be the pitching coach in Columbus after serving as a special assistant in baseball operations last year. Willis was the Mariners pitching coach from 2010-13. Tony Arnold, who was in Columbus the past two seasons, will be at Lynchburg.

"When he was with us (earlier) we always had the utmost respect for him. The most important thing is to get guys better and he will do a good job of that in Columbus," Hawkins said of Willis. "Tony has a unique skill set and has experience in all levels of the organization. Having him in Lynchburg is important because this is the first full season where guys at that level are really attacking hitters." 

Jim Rickon, who was Columbus’ hitting coach last season, has been promoted to organizational hitting coordinator. Eric Binder has been promoted to Assistant Director of Player Development. Binder, who joined the organization two years ago, will have increased responsibilities in the leadership of the farm system and in creating its programs and policies.

Ken Knutson will be the Pitching Programs and Rehab Coordinator. Knutson will coordinate and monitor pitcher throwing/arm care programs, with an emphasis on off-season development. Knutson joins the organization after five years as the pitching coach at Arizona State. Before that, he was the head coach at the University of Washington for 17 seasons where one of his players was Indians pitcher Nick Hagadone.

Larry Day and Bobby Magallanes join the organization as hitting coaches. Day, who was an assistant coach at Ohio University last year, will be at Mahoning Valley and Magallanes, who has spent the last four seasons as a manager in the White Sox system, will be at the Rookie Arizona League Indians.

Here is a look at the staff assignments for the upcoming season:

COLUMBUS — Manager: Chris Tremie; Hitting coach: Rouglas Odor (was in Akron last year); Pitching coach: Carl Willis (had role in organization last year); Trainer: Chad Wolfe; Strength and conditioning: Ed Subel

 AKRON — Manager: Dave Wallce; Hitting coach: Tony Mansolino (at Carolina last year); Pitching coach: Jeff Harris; Trainer: Jeremy Heller; Strength and conditioning: Jake Sankel

LYNCHBURG — Manager: Mark Budzinski (at Lake County last year); Hitting coach: TBD; Pitching coach: Tony Arnold (at Columbus last year); Trainer: Bobby Ruiz; Strength and conditioning: Scott Nealon

LAKE COUNTY — Manager: Shaun Larkin (hitting coach last year); Hitting coach: TBD; Pitching coach: Steve Karsay (at Carolina last year); Trainer: Matt Beauregard; Strength and conditioning  Paul Synenkyj

MAHONING VALLEY — Manager: Travis Fryman (roving instructor last season); Hitting coach: Larry Day (new to organization); Pitching coach: Greg Hibbard; Trainer: Jake Legan; Strength and conditioning: Juan Acevado

ROOKIE ARIZONA LEAGUE INDIANS — Manager: Anthony Medrano; Pitching coach: Rigo Beltran; Hitting coaches: Junior Betances, Dennis Malave and Bobby Magallanes (new to organization); Trainer: Ted Blackwell; Rehab strength: Pat Trainor; Strength and conditioning: Cesar Yepez

ROOKIE DOMINICAN SUMMER LEAGUE INDIANS — Field coordinator: Jose Mejia; Pitching coaches: Jesus Sanchez, Carlos Yan; Hitting coach: Danny Bautista (outfield coach last year); Infield coach: Carlos Fermin; Outfield coach: Jesus Tavarez (new position); Tryout coach: Lionel Vargas; Strength and conditioning: Hasani Torres; Strength and conditioning assistant: Fernando Cabral; Trainer: Gabriel Garcia