KANNAPOLIS, N.C. (November 16, 2016) - Justin Jirschele has been named the 12th manager of the Kannapolis Intimidators, Class A Affiliate of the Chicago White Sox. In addition to becoming the first former Intimidators player to manage the club, Jirschele (pronounced "JIRSH-lee") will likely be the youngest manager in affiliated Minor League Baseball during the 2017 season, opening the season at age 26 and turning 27 on April 15.
Jirschele, who played infield for Kannapolis in 2013, began his coaching career in 2015 as the hitting coach of Advanced Rookie Great Falls and spent the 2016 campaign in the same role for the Intimidators. He will be joined in 2017 by pitching coach Matt Zaleski, hitting coach Jamie Dismuke, athletic trainer Joe Geck, and strength and conditioning coach Goldy Simmons.
"I'm looking forward to working with a great staff on and off the field this year," said Jirschele. "These guys are very dedicated to our organization. I'm also looking forward to continue developing our players as they further their careers striving for the common goal to play in Chicago. Along the way, we hope to bring winning baseball to the fans of the Kannapolis Intimidators."
Jirschele, son of Kansas City Royals third base coach Mike Jirschele, spent parts of four seasons in the White Sox minor league system, batting .277 with 70 RBI and 77 runs scored in 184 career games. The former infielder played 15 games with Kannapolis in 2013 before earning a promotion to Class A-Advanced Winston-Salem. He reached as high as AAA Charlotte in both 2014 and 2015 as a player before beginning his coaching career.
Matt Zaleski, who will be 36 next season, joins Jirschele as a former Intimidators player to now serve as a coach for the club. A career White Sox player whom the organization selected in the 30th round of the June 2004 draft, Zaleski played for Kannapolis during the 2005 championship season and is the first former Intimidators arm to lead the pitching staff. In 11 Minor League seasons all in the White Sox system, he went 49-50 with a 3.88 ERA in 316 games (110 starts), spending the majority of his final six seasons with AAA Charlotte (2009-14). In 2016, Zaleski made his coaching debut as the pitching coach in Great Falls.
Jamie Dismuke, 47, comes to Kannapolis after two previous seasons as a hitting coach in the White Sox organization - both with AA Birmingham. He began his coaching career with the Cincinnati Reds in 1999 in Chattanooga and spent 11 seasons as a coach in the Reds system, including managing Chattanooga in 2008. Dismuke spent the next six seasons as a hitting coach in the Braves organization (2009-14) including five years with AAA Gwinnett before joining the White Sox. He played nine seasons (1989-1997) in the Major Leagues with Cincinnati, Detroit, and Toronto, batting .277 with 94 home runs and 429 RBI in 793 career games.
Joe Geck will serve as the head trainer for Kannapolis for the second straight season in 2017, his 25th season in the White Sox organization. He has served as the trainer with AAA Charlotte, AA Birmingham, and A-Advanced Winston-Salem. During the White Sox affiliation with Class A Hickory, Geck was named the South Atlantic League's All-Star Athletic Trainer in 1994.
Goldy Simmons comes to the Intimidators after working as the strength and conditioning coach for Great Falls in 2016, his second season on the White Sox player development staff. He joined the organization in 2015 as the conditioning coach of the AZL White Sox after working at UCSD in 2014. In two seasons as a pitcher in the White Sox organization, Simmons went 3-3 with a 4.97 ERA in 28 games between Advanced Rookie Bristol and Great Falls in 2009-10. He played college baseball at San Diego State for head coach Tony Gwynn.
The White Sox full player development staff assignments, including new Director of Player Development Chris Getz - a teammate of Zaleski's on the 2005 Intimidators championship team, are listed below:
PLAYER DEVELOPMENT INSTRUCTORS
Director of Player Development: Chris Getz
Director of Minor League Instruction: Kirk Champion
Pitching Coordinator: Richard Dotson
Hitting Coordinator: Mike Gellinger
Catching Coordinator: John Orton
Outfield/Baserunning Coordinator: Aaron Rowand
Infield Coordinator: Vance Law
Camp Coordinator/Assistant, Player Development: Tommy Thompson
Pitching Assistant: J.R. Perdew
Assistant, Player Development: Rafael Santana
Conditioning Coordinator: Dale Torborg
Latin/Cultural Development Coordinator: Anthony Santiago
Minor League Medical/Rehabilitation Coordinator: Scott Takao
Coaching Assistant: Jerry Hairston
CLASS AAA CHARLOTTE
Manager: Mark Grudzielanek
Pitching Coach: Steve McCatty
Hitting Coach: Andy Tomberlin
Coach: Garey Ingram
Trainer: Scott Johnson
Conditioning: Shawn Powell
CLASS AA BIRMINGHAM
Manager: Julio Vinas
Pitching Coach: Jose Bautista
Hitting Coach: Cole Armstrong
Trainer: James Kruk
Conditioning: Tim Rodmaker
CLASS A WINSTON-SALEM
Manager: Willie Harris
Pitching Coach: Brian Drahman
Hitting Coach: Charlie Poe
Trainer: Josh Fallin
Conditioning: George Timke
CLASS A KANNAPOLIS
Manager: Justin Jirschele
Pitching Coach: Matt Zaleski
Hitting Coach: Jamie Dismuke
Trainer: Joe Geck
Conditioning: Goldy Simmons
ADVANCED ROOKIE GREAT FALLS
Manager: Tim Esmay
Pitching Coach: John Ely
Hitting Coach: Eric Richardson
Trainer: Margaret Rall
ARIZONA ROOKIE LEAGUE
Manager: Ryan Newman
Pitching Coach: Felipe Lira
Hitting Coach: Gary Ward
Trainer: Cory Barton
Conditioning: Ibrahim Rivera
DOMINICAN REPUBLIC ACADEMY
Academy Supervisor: Ever Magallanes
Complex Operations Coordinator: Manuel Santana
Field Coordinator: Guillermo Reyes
Manager: Julio Valdez
Pitching Coach: Leo Hernandez
Hitting Coach: Angel Gonzalez
Catching Coach: TBD
Outfield Coach: TBD
Trainer: Jose Del Villar
Conditioning Coach: Pedro Gomez
About the Intimidators
The Intimidators are preparing for the 2017 season, the 23rd season of professional baseball in Kannapolis and 17th year as a Chicago White Sox affiliate. Since the team's inception in 1995, a total of 93 players have gone from Kannapolis to the Major Leagues. The Intimidators play at Intimidators Stadium supported by Carolinas HealthCare System located off I-85, Exit 63 in Kannapolis. Season Tickets and Mini Plans for the 2017 season are available by calling the F&M Bank Box Office at (704) 932-3267 or by visiting IntimidatorsBaseball.com.