Grudzielanek Tabbed New Knights Manager11/16/2016 12:00 PM ET
(UPTOWN CHARLOTTE, NC) -- Mark Grudzielanek, who hit .289 over 15 seasons in the majors as a Gold Glove-winning infielder, has been named as the new manager of the Charlotte Knights for the upcoming 2017 season. Grudzielanek replaces 2016 manager, Julio Vinas, who will return to manage Double-A Birmingham in 2017. The Knights open the 2017 season -- their 30th in franchise history -- on Thursday, April 6th at BB&T Ballpark in Uptown Charlotte.
Joining Grudzielanek's field staff in 2017 will be returnees Andy Tomberlin (hitting coach), Scott Johnson (head athletic trainer), and Shawn Powell (strength and conditioning coach). Newcomers rounding out Grudzielanek's staff include Steve McCatty (pitching coach) and Garey Ingram (assistant coach). Richard Dotson, who spent the past nine seasons as Charlotte's pitching coach, has been named as the new pitching coordinator on Chicago's player development staff. Tim Esmay, who served as Charlotte's assistant coach last season, will manage Advanced Rookie Great Falls in 2017. Former Knights and Chicago White Sox infielder Chris Getz was recently named as Chicago's director of player development. Getz replaced former Knights player and manager, Nick Capra, who will serve as Chicago's third-base coach.
Grudzielanek enters his first season in the White Sox organization after spending the last two years in the Arizona Diamondbacks player development system. As a manager in 2015, he guided the Kane County Cougars (Single-A) to an 84-54 record and a postseason berth. Last season, the Milwaukee, WI native served as assistant coordinator in Arizona's system.
Originally drafted by the Montreal Expos in the 11th round of the 1991 draft, Grudzielanek played for six teams over his illustrious 15-year big league career, including the Expos (1995-98), Los Angeles Dodgers (1998-2002), Chicago Cubs (2003-2004), St. Louis Cardinals (2005), Kansas City Royals (2006-2008), and Cleveland Indians (2010).
In 1996, while playing for the Expos, Grudzielanek hit .306 in 153 games. He was a National League All-Star that season. In 2006 as a member of the Royals, Grudzielanek was awarded a Rawlings Gold Glove at second base. He appeared in 1,802 major league games over the course of his career and compiled a .289 batting average with 2,040 hits, 391 doubles, 90 home runs, 640 RBIs, and 133 stolen bases.
McCatty, a nine-year major league veteran, also enters his first season in the Chicago White Sox organization. The Detroit, MI spent the 2016 season as the pitching coach for Lake County (Single-A) in the Indians system. Before that, McCatty served eight seasons as a major league pitching coach for Oakland (2002) and Washington (2009-2015). As a player, he compiled a 63-63 record and a 3.99 ERA in 221 career games pitched during his career with the Oakland A's. In 1981, McCatty finished second in the American League Cy Young Award voting after posting a 14-8 record and a 2.33 ERA.
Tomberlin, a product of nearby Piedmont High School, is back for his fifth season with the Knights and fourth consecutive overall with the club. He also spent the 2012 season as Charlotte's hitting coach. The 2017 season will be the 15th in the White Sox organization as a coach. Tomberlin, a native of Monroe, NC, played professionally for 15 seasons from 1986 to 2000 with Pittsburgh, Boston, New York (NL), and Detroit. He was originally signed as a free agent by Atlanta as a pitcher in 1986 after attending a tryout camp.
Ingram, a native of Columbus, GA, spent the past seven seasons in the Atlanta Braves organization as a minor league hitting coach. For the past two seasons, he worked as the hitting coach for Double-A Mississippi. In 2014, Ingram was the hitting coach for Triple-A Gwinnett. Before his time in Atlanta's system as a minor league hitting coach, he spent seven seasons (2002-2008) as a minor league hitting coach in the Dodgers organization. Originally drafted by the Dodgers in the 44th round of the 1989 draft, Ingram made his major league debut on May 15, 1994. He spent parts of three seasons in the majors (82 games)
The 2017 season will mark Johnson's 29th in Chicago's system and 15th overall with the Knights. His lengthy tenure with Chicago began in 1995 as Birmingham's athletic trainer. Overall, Johnson has been the head athletic trainer for Chicago's Triple-A affiliate for 15 seasons (14 with Charlotte and one with Calgary in 1998).
Powell, a native of Brighton, IL, enters his sixth season in Chicago's system and second in Charlotte. Before spending the 2016 season with the Knights, the Western Illinois University product spent the previous two seasons as the Strength and Conditioning Coach in Winston-Salem. Before that, he spent time in the same capacity with Double-A Birmingham (2013-14). Powell has also worked for the NBA's Toronto Raptors as a strength and conditioning consultant (2005-05), and the New York Yankees as a strength and conditioning coach (1989-99).
2017 Charlotte Knights Field Staff:
Manager: Mark Grudzielanek
Pitching Coach: Steve McCatty
Hitting Coach: Andy Tomberlin
Coach: Garey Ingram
Athletic Trainer: Scott Johnson
Strength Coach: Shawn Powell
Season tickets, 18-game partial season ticket plans, as well as Club 93 partial and full season ticket plans for the 2017 season, are all on sale now and can be purchased online at charlotteknights.com, by phone at 704-274-8282, or in person at the BB&T Ballpark Ticket Office located at 324 S. Mint St. Single-game tickets for the upcoming season will go on sale at a later date. Tradition Never Ends.