Cubs announce 2018 minor league coordinators
CHICAGO – The Chicago Cubs today announced the club’s minor league coordinators for the 2018 season.
Tim Cossins returns for his sixth season as the organization’s minor league field and catching coordinator following 10 years in the Miami Marlins farm system, including the final six as the minor league catching coordinator. He was also a manager in the Marlins minor league system from 2003-07. Cossins began his coaching career in 2000 and spent two seasons as the Major League bullpen catcher for Kansas City. The former catcher played eight minor league seasons (1993-2000) in the Rangers, Yankees and Expos organizations.
Jacob Cruz begins his second season in the Cubs organization, and first as the club’s minor league hitting coordinator. He served as Double-A Tennessee’s hitting coach in 2017, his first season with the Cubs. He spent the previous six seasons as a minor league hitting coach in Arizona’s farm system (2011-16). The former outfielder played nine major league seasons from 1996-2005 with the Giants, Indians, Rockies, Tigers and Reds.
Brendan Sagara joins the organization as the club’s pitching coordinator. He previously spent six seasons in the Marlins organization, including most recently as the assistant pitching coordinator last season. Overall, he has served as a pitching coach for 17 seasons with various teams, beginning with the Dubois County Dragons of the Frontier League in 2001. A native of Hawaii, he attended the University of Hawaii at Hilo.
Tom Beyers returns for his 19th season with the Cubs organization, and his fourth as the minor league assistant hitting coordinator, following two seasons as Single-A Kane County’s hitting coach. He was the short-season hitting coordinator in 2012 following one season as the minor league hitting coordinator in 2011. Beyers joined the Cubs in 2000 and was a minor league manager or coach for 11 seasons, including manager of Single-A Boise in 2004, a season in which he led the club to the Northwest League title and earned league manager of the year honors. A former outfielder, he spent his first 21 seasons in professional baseball with the Dodgers as a player, coach or manager after he was selected by Los Angeles in the 15th round of the 1979 Draft.
Mike Mason begins his fifth season as assistant pitching coordinator after spending the previous six years as Triple-A Iowa’s pitching coach. He has over 25 years of coaching experience following a seven-year big league playing career with Texas (1982-87), the Cubs (1987) and Minnesota (1988). Prior to joining the Cubs, he served as Kansas City’s minor league pitching coordinator (2004-07), while also handling interim pitching coach duties at the Major League level in 2004. Mason served as pitching coach for Philadelphia’s Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre club in 2002-03 after serving as Kansas City’s minor league pitching instructor the previous two seasons (2000-01). He began his coaching career in Kansas City’s minor league system from 1991-99.
Steve Merriman joins the organization as an assistant pitching coordinator. He most recently served as a pitching coach with Single-A Lexington in the Royals organization in 2014 and has also been a part of the Tigers, Rockies, Mets and Diamondbacks organizations. A graduate of Central Michigan University, he has served three stints as a coach with the University of Michigan, most recently as the pitching coach in 2012.
Jeremy Farrell is in his first year as the club’s minor league infield coordinator and his third year as a coach in the Cubs organization. He served as South Bend’s hitting coach last season and in the same role with Mesa in 2016. He became a coach following a seven-year minor league career with the Pirates (2008-12) and White Sox (2013-15). He is joined in the organization by his brothers, Luke Farrell (pitcher) and Shane Farrell (area scout).
Doug Dascenzo begins his fourth year as the organization’s minor league outfield and baserunning coordinator. Dascenzo has 19 years of coaching experience following a career that saw him play in parts of seven seasons in the majors, including five with the Cubs from 1988 to 1992. Prior to joining the Cubs, Dascenzo spent the previous three seasons with Atlanta, including serving as the third base coach for the major league club in 2014. After retiring from baseball, he coached in the Padres farm system from 1999 to 2011, including six seasons as a minor league manager.
Dave Keller enters his his 15th year in the Cubs organization and his fourth as minor league Latin America field coordinator. He managed Single-A Daytona in 2013-14 and led the club to the 2013 Florida State League title after he served as Iowa’s hitting coach in 2012. In 2011, he was the Cubs major league staff assistant after seven years (2004-10) as the organization’s minor league hitting coordinator. Keller was a major league staff assistant and bullpen catcher for Cleveland from 2001-03 following two years as the organization’s minor league hitting coordinator. He managed in the minor leagues in the Cincinnati (1987-89), Cleveland (1990-94) and White Sox (1996) organizations, and was named the 1993 Carolina League Manager of the Year with Single-A Kinston. The former first baseman played in the Reds organization for three seasons (1982-84).
Chuck Baughman enters his 18th year with the Cubs organization and his first season as the head minor league athletic training coordinator. He spent the past four seasons as assistant athletic training coordinator and before that spent eight seasons as a rehabilitation coordinator. He joined the organization as Single-A Boise’s athletic trainer in 2001. His career in professional baseball began in 1999 when he was the athletic trainer for Single-A Clinton in Cincinnati’s system.
Doug Jarrow begins his 11th season as Chicago’s minor league strength and conditioning coordinator. He previously spent five years in the Dodgers organization, including 2003-05 as the minor league strength and conditioning coordinator and 2006-07 as the Major League strength coach. Jarrow began his career as a minor league strength and conditioning coach with Tampa Bay in 1998 and Pittsburgh in 1999.
Jonathan Fierro is in his seventh year with the organization and his first as the club’s rehab coordinator. He spent last season as the athletic trainer with Iowa and previously served as the athletic trainer with Double-A Tennessee in 2016 and with the Cubs’ low-A affiliate from 2013-15. Originally joined the organization as a trainer with the Cubs DSL team in 2012.
Ron Villone is in his seventh season as a coach in the Cubs organization, returning as the team’s minor league rehab pitching coordinator. He served as pitching coach for Mesa in 2015-16 following stints at Single-A Daytona (2014), Single-A Kane County (2013) and Single-A Peoria (2012). A left-handed pitcher, he played in all or part of 15 major league seasons from 1995-2009, going 61-65 with eight saves and a 4.73 ERA.
Josh Lifrak returns for his fourth season with the Cubs as the club’s director, mental skills program. He is tasked with the development, implementation and supervision of the Cubs mental skills training program for all levels of the organization. Prior to joining the Cubs, he spent 10 years as the Senior Mental Conditioning Consultant for IMG Academy in Bradenton, Fla. Lifrak earned his Bachelor of Arts in Sociology from the University of Rhode Island in 1994 and earned a Masters of Science, Exercise Science with a concentration in Sports Psychology from Ithaca College in 2005.
Rey Fuentes begins his sixth season with the organization and fourth as Latin Coordinator, Mental Skills Program, following two years as cultural programs coordinator. In this role, he oversees all educational classes and mental skills programs for the Cubs Latin American players. Prior to joining the Cubs, he coached and taught physical education in the Orlando area. Fuentes graduated from Barry University in Miami Shores, Fla., in 2002 with a degree in Exceptional Student Education.
Darnell McDonald begins his fourth season as the organization’s mental skills program coordinator, working with players throughout all levels of the farm system. McDonald served as a Cubs baseball operations assistant in 2014 following his retirement in April after 16 professional seasons. He was selected by Baltimore in the first round of the 1997 Draft and played for the Cubs in 2013.
John Baker enters his second season as a mental skills coordinator after joining the Cubs front office in November of 2015 as a baseball operations assistant. He played seven major league seasons with Florida (2008-11), San Diego (2012-13) and the Cubs (2014).