KANNAPOLIS, NC, January 16, 2018 - The 2017 season was an exciting time for baseball in Kannapolis, coming off a Northern Division First Half Championship the team guaranteed its first playoff spot since 2009. As that momentum looks to continue into 2018, the Intimidators, in conjunction with the Chicago White Sox, have announced the field staff for the upcoming season.
Fan favorite Justin Jirschele is poised to return for his second season as the Intimidators manager. He will be joined in 2018 by pitching coach José Bautista, hitting coach Jamie Dismuke, athletic trainer Joe Geck, and strength and conditioning coach Goldy Simmons.
Kannapolis Intimidators President Brian Radle says of the 2018 staff, "We are thrilled to welcome back Jirschele, Dimuke, Geck and Simmons, and have Bautista back with the Intimidators. It is obvious after the success of last season, that the talent coming through Kannapolis will be in phenomenal hands."
As the youngest manager in minor league baseball, Jirschele led Kannapolis to a first-half division title and a berth to the South Atlantic League finals. Following this successful 2017 campaign, the White Sox named the 27-year-old Minor League Coach of the Year. He 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 and has quickly climbed the ladder. Jirschele spent parts of four seasons in the White Sox minor league system, batting .277 with 70 RBIs and 77 runs scored in 184 career games. He 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.
Bautista returns to the Intimidators after spending the 2017 season as pitching coach in AA Birmingham and the 2016 season at Class A-Advanced Winston-Salem. This will not be Bautista's first time in Kannapolis; he returns after having served has the Intimidator's pitching coach from 2011-15. This will be his 11th season with the White Sox. Prior to that he spent time in the Royals organization. Signed by the Mets in 1981 he had a nine-year career in the Major Leagues with, Baltimore, the Cubs, San Francisco, Detroit and St. Louis. He went 32-42 with a 4.62 ERA and threes saves in 312 appearances.
Dismuke is back for his second season as the Intimidators hitting coach. He came to Kannapolis after two previous seasons as a hitting coach in the White Sox organization, both with AA Birmingham. Dismuke spent 11 seasons as a coach in the Reds system and six seasons as a hitting coach in the Braves organization 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.
Goldy Simmons also returns to Kannapolis as the team's strength and conditioning coach. His third season on the White Sox player development staff, he served as the strength and conditioning coach for Great Falls in 2016. 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.
Joe Geck will serve as the head trainer for Kannapolis for his third straight season in 2018, his 26th season in the White Sox organization.
The Kannapolis Intimidators open the 2018 season on Thursday, April 5, at Intimidators Stadium supported by Carolinas Healthcare System against the Lakewood BlueClaws. The Intimidators are coming off a 2017 Northern Division Championship and preparing for a new ballpark in downtown Kannapolis scheduled for 2020. Season and group tickets are now available for the 2018 season. To purchase please call F&M Bank Box Office at (704) 932-3267 or visit www.intimidatorsbaseball.com.
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For more information contact Blair Jewell at firstname.lastname@example.org or 704-932-3267 ext. 109.