The Norfolk Tides and Baltimore Orioles today announced Norfolk's field staff for the 2018 season. Ron Johnson will return as Manager, Mike Griffin will once again serve as Pitching Coach, José Hernández will return as Field Coach and Butch Davis will join the Tides in his first season as the club's Hitting Coach. Trevor Howell will return as the club's Strength and Conditioning Coach, while Chris Poole joins the Tides from Baltimore in his first year as Norfolk's Athletic Trainer.
"Ron Johnson has become such a fan favorite in this community and we're thrilled that he's back to lead our club for the 2018 campaign" said Tides General Manager Joe Gregory. "RJ has an excellent track record of preparing players for the next level, and we're excited to see him work with our guys again this season."
Ron Johnson, 61, is entering his seventh year as Norfolk's Manager, over which he has posted a 422-440 record. His 422 managerial victories with Norfolk are the most in franchise history, and he's accumulated 1,683 wins over a 24-season minor league managing career. Johnson led the Tides to a division title in 2015 while being named the International League's Manager of the Year - just the fifth Tides skipper to win the award in franchise history. He also received the Cal Ripken Sr. Player Development Award from the Orioles in 2015, an award presented to a minor league staff member who exemplifies the qualities of the late Oriole who is regarded as the architect of "The Oriole Way."
Through his first six years with Norfolk, Johnson has posted three winning campaigns (2012, 2013 and 2015) while upping his career managerial record over 23 seasons to 1,683-1,699. He was named by Baseball America as the Best Manager Prospect in the International League in 2014, and he's managed 68 Major League All-Stars over his minor league career. He enters 2018 as the longest-tenured manager in the International League, and he was chosen by fans as the manager on Norfolk's All-Harbor Park Team in 2017. A product of Fresno State University, Johnson was drafted by the Kansas City Royals in 1978 and played in 22 Major League games over parts of three seasons with the Royals (1982-83) and Expos (1984).
Mike Griffin, 60, is entering his tenth season as Norfolk's Pitching Coach and his eleventh season in the Orioles organization. He's twice been presented with the Cal Ripken Sr. Player Development Award (in 2009 and 2010), and he's previously spent time as a coach in the Boston Red Sox and Cincinnati Reds organizations. As a player, Griffin appeared in 67 major league games over parts of five seasons with five different organizations, including 23 games for the Orioles in 1987.
Butch Davis, 59, is entering his first season as Norfolk's Hitting Coach after a 2017 campaign that saw him serve as the Hitting Coach for the Bowie Baysox. The 2018 season will be his 22nd season in the Orioles organization, as Davis has served in various capacities in the Baltimore minor league system since 1995. His coaching accolades also include a two-year stint as the First Base Coach for the Minnesota Twins from 2015-2016. An East Carolina University product, Davis played parts of eight Major League seasons with five different organizations from 1983-1994.
José Hernández, 48, is entering his sixth season as a coach with Norfolk and his ninth in the Orioles system. Hernández, who also serves as Norfolk's Third Base Coach during the season, played 1,587 major league games over a 15-year career. He was a National League All-Star with Milwaukee in 2002 and he belted 168 home runs over his career, the 17th-most by a player born in Puerto Rico. Hernández played for nine different teams over his MLB career.
Chris Poole, 29, is entering his first season as the Athletic Trainer for the Tides after spending the previous two years as an Assistant Athletic Trainer with the Orioles. He has been an athletic trainer in the O's organization since 2013, having previously spent time with the GCL Orioles and Aberdeen IronBirds. Poole received his Bachelor of Science degree in Athletic Training from Towson University and his Master of Science degree in Exercise Science with a concentration in Exercise Physiology from William Paterson University.
Trevor Howell, 34, is in his fifth year as the Strength and Conditioning Coach in Norfolk, and his seventh within the Orioles system. He graduated from Sonoma St. University before obtaining his Masters at Fresno Pacific University. Prior to joining the Orioles system, Howell played baseball and served as a Strength and Conditioning Coach in the German Professional League.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.