LANSING, Mich. -- In conjunction with the Toronto Blue Jays, the Lansing Lugnuts announce a 2016 coaching staff helmed by first-year manager John Schneider and hitting coach Donnie Murphy, returning pitching coach Jeff Ware and returning athletic trainer Drew MacDonald.
John Schneider, 36, joins the Lugs two wins shy of 200 career victories in Minor League Baseball. A native of Princeton, NJ, he was drafted by the Jays in 2002 as a 13th-round pick out of the University of Delaware. Schneider's MiLB career lasted six seasons and 312 games, rising as high as Triple-A. Upon retiring as a player, he worked as hitting coach in the Gulf Coast League in 2008 before steering the club in 2009-2010. He managed 52 games with eventual Northwest League champion Vancouver Canadians in 2011, returned to manage in the GCL in 2013, and spent the last two summers at the helm of the Canadians.
Schneider takes the place of 2015 manager Ken Huckaby, who led Lansing to a 73-66 record, a first-half division title and a spot in the Eastern Division Championship Series. Huckaby moves up to manage Class A-Advanced Dunedin this season.
New hitting coach Donnie Murphy, 32, played parts of nine seasons in the Major Leagues, spanning from 2004-2014 with the Royals, Athletics, Marlins, Cubs and Rangers. A fifth-round Kansas City pick in 2002 from Orange Coast College, Murphy batted .257 in 55 games for Milwaukee's Triple-A affiliate in Colorado Springs in 2015.
Pitching coach Jeff Ware, 45, returns for his second season with the Lugnuts after instructing a staff featuring breakout talents Shane Dawson, Conner Greene and Sean Reid-Foley and Chase De Jong in 2015. Drafted 35th overall in 1991 from Old Dominion University, Ware brings the experience of both international and MLB competition, pitching for Team USA in the Pan-Am Games and appearing for the Toronto Blue Jays in 1995 and 1996. This is his third consecutive season in the Jays' system after coaching in the New York Yankees' organization from 2007-2013.
Athletic trainer Drew MacDonald enters his fourth straight season in the Midwest League. MacDonald originally interned with Toronto in 2009 before joining the Baseball Canada Junior National Team. A native of Teeswater, Ontario, he moved up to Lansing after spending 2011 with Bluefield and 2012 with Vancouver.