The Chicago White Sox announced its field staffs for their minor league affiliates for the 2017 season, and it’s Triple-A International League affiliate, the Charlotte Knights, announced that Mark Grudzielanek has been named the Knights new manager for the 2017 season, which will be the franchise’s 30th year in Charlotte.
Grudzielanek comes to the White Sox organization after two seasons with the Arizona Diamondbacks organization as part of their player development system and will take over the reigns from Julio Vinas, who returns to Birmingham to manage the White Sox Double-A affiliate, the Birmingham Barons. During the 2015 season with Kane County, Arizona’s Single-A affiliate in the Midwest League, he guided the Cougars to a 84-54 mark and a postseason berth that season, before being eliminated by the Peoria Chiefs in the first round of the Midwest League playoffs.
Originally selected by the then-Montreal Expos in the 11th round of the 1991 MLB Draft, Grudzielanek spent 15 years in the majors with six teams, which included Montreal, the L.A. Dodgers, Chicago Cubs, St. Louis Cardinals, Kansas City Royals, and Cleveland Indians. His best season came in the 1996 campaign with Montreal, where he hit .306 in 153 games that season, earning National League All-Star that season. During the 2006 season with Kansas City, Grudzielanek was name a recipient of the Rawlings Gold Glove Award in the American League at second base.
In addition to the announcement today, the Knights also announced that Steve McCatty has been named the team’s new pitching
coach, replacing longtime fan favorite Richard Dotson, who has been named the new pitching coordinator for the White Sox player development staff. McCatty comes to the Knights after spending the 2016 year with the Lake County Captains, Cleveland’s Single-A affiliate in the Midwest League, and prior to that, he spent 8 years as a pitching coach in MLB, including 7 seasons with the Washington Nationals(2009-2015). McCatty went 63-63 with a 3.99 ERA during his Major League Baseball career appearing in 221 career games with the Oakland A’s, and was a runner up for the 1981 American League Cy Young Award after going 14-8 with a 2.23 era that season with Oakland.
Another new addition to the Knights coaching staff is Garey Ingram, who replaces Tim Esmay, who left to manage Chicago’s advanced rookie affiliate, the Great Falls Voyagers in the 2017 season. Ingram comes to Charlotte from the Atlanta Braves organization, where spent the last two seasons as hitting coach for the Mississippi Braves in the Southern League, and spent the 2014 season as hitting coach for Triple-A Gwinnett.
Monroe, NC native and former Piedmont High School product Andy Tomberlin(hitting coach) will return for his fifth season with Charlotte, while Shawn Powell(strength and conditioning coach) is back for his second season, and Scott Johnson(head athletic trainer) will enter his 15th season with the Knights as its head athletic trainer, and his 29th overall with the Chicago White Sox organization. The Knights will open up the 2017 campaign on Thursday, April 6 2017 against the Norfolk Tides(Baltimore Orioles affiliate) at BB&T Ballpark.