LANSING, Mich. - In the thick of winter, news of spring: Former Major Leaguer Ken Huckaby will serve as manager of the 2015 Lansing Lugnuts a year after serving as the team's hitting coach.
Huckaby's field staff is filled out by hitting coach Kenny Graham, new pitching coach Jeff Ware and returning athletic trainer Drew MacDonald.
Affectionately nicknamed Huck, the former catcher played for the Arizona Diamondbacks, Texas Rangers, Baltimore Orioles, Boston Red Sox and Toronto Blue Jays in a career spanning 2001-2006. He joined the Blue Jays' organization two years ago, working as Bluefield Blue Jays hitting coach in 2013 before ascending to the same role with the Lugs last season. Huckaby makes his offseason home in Chandler, Arizona.
Hitting coach Kenny Graham's name likely strikes a familiar chord for Lugnuts fans; the Indiana University product previously directed Lansing's offense in 2012 and 2013. Last season, Graham managed the Blue Jays' rookie-level Gulf Coast League affiliate.
First-year pitching coach Jeff Ware moves up to the Lugnuts from the Vancouver Canadians. Drafted 35th overall in 1991 from Old Dominion University, Ware pitched for the Toronto Blue Jays in 1995 and 1996. He rejoined the Jays last season after coaching in the New York Yankees' organization from 2007-2013.
Athletic trainer Drew MacDonald enters his third season in the Midwest League. MacDonald originally interned with Toronto in 2009 before joining the Baseball Canada Junior National Team. MacDonald moved up to Lansing after spending 2011 with advanced-rookie Bluefield and 2012 in short-season A Vancouver.
A level above Lansing on the Blue Jays' ladder, the Dunedin Blue Jays' incoming coaching staff features two familiar names: Dunedin's hitting coach will be John Tamargo, Jr., the Lugs' manager from 2012-2014, and the team's pitching coach will be Vince Horsman, the Lugs' pitching coach from 2011-2014.
The Lansing Lugnuts open up their 20th season in Michigan's state capital with the Crosstown Showdown presented by Auto-Owners Insurance, hosting Michigan State University on Thursday, April 9th. For the latest Lugnuts information, visit lansinglugnuts.com