The Chicago Cubs today unveiled Iowa's field staff for 2018, led for the sixth consecutive season by Manager Marty Pevey. Pitching coach Rod Nichols, hitting coach Desi Wilson and strength and conditioning coach Ryan Clausen also return from the 2017 staff. Former I-Cub Chris Valaika returns to Des Moines to serve as Iowa's second hitting coach. Ed Halbur and Mike McNulty round out the staff as the team's athletic trainers.
Pevey enters his 35th season in baseball and 22nd as a coach. He is the only Iowa manager to lead the team in six straight seasons. Pevey is two wins shy of his 356th victory as Iowa's manager, a new franchise record. That win will also mark his 1,000th career managerial victory. A Georgia native, Pevey was selected by the Minnesota Twins in the 19th round of the 1982 draft. He debuted with the Montreal Expos on May 16, 1989 and appeared in 13 games in his only big league season.
Nichols begins his third year with the Iowa Cubs and his 19th as a coach in professional baseball. Through his term with the I-Cubs, Nichols has worked with 67 pitchers, 24 of which took the mound for both Iowa and Chicago in the two-season span. As a player, Nichols appeared in parts of seven big league seasons, primarily with Cleveland, posting a 4.43 ERA (203ER/412.2IP) through 100 games.
Wilson returns for his second full season with the I-Cubs and his 11th in the Cubs organization. He also served a short stint as Iowa's hitting coach in 2009. Wilson previously acted in a similar role with Rookie League Mesa (2010), Chicago's Single-A affiliate (2011-12), and Double-A Tennessee (2013-16). During his playing career, Wilson logged 11 minor league seasons and followed with five seasons in independent ball. He appeared in 41 games for the San Francisco Giants in 1996, hitting .271 with two home runs.
Valaika will share hitting coach duties with Wilson, embarking on his first season with Iowa and his second with the Cubs. Valaika began his coaching career with Mesa last season. In his playing career, Valaika appeared in over 1,000 minor league games, including 208 games with Iowa from 2014-15. He also logged 99 major league games between Cincinnati, Miami and Chicago.
Clausen returns to Iowa for his fifth season as the team's strength and conditioning coach. He began his work with the Cubs organization in 2010, working with Mesa (2010-11), Short-Season Boise (2012) and Tennessee (2013). Clausen is a Clinton, IA native.
Halbur begins his 14th season with the Cubs organization and enters his second stint in his home state of Iowa, having previously worked for the I-Cubs from 2003-04. Halbur served as an assistant athletic trainer for Chicago from 2005-17. Prior to joining the Cubs, Halbur worked for the Tigers' organization from 1999-2002.
McNulty rounds out Iowa's field staff, entering his first season with Iowa and his fifth as a trainer in the Cubs organization. Prior to 2018, McNulty spent time with Tennessee (2017), Single-A South Bend (2016), Short-Season Eugene (2015) and Mesa (2014). He previously served as an athletic trainer for the University of Kentucky and the River City Rascals of the Independent League.
The Iowa Cubs open their 2018 campaign on Thursday, April 5 at Principal Park with a 3:08 p.m. first pitch against the Oklahoma City Dodgers. For ticket information and the latest Iowa Cubs news, visit www.iowacubs.com.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.