KEIZER, OR - The Salem-Keizer Volcanoes, in conjunction with the San Francisco Giants, are excited to welcome Jolbert Cabrera as manager of the Volcanoes for the 2017 season.
Cabrera is one of two new faces joining the coaching staff with the other being a familiar one, as Jerry Cram - pitching coach with the Volcanoes from 2004-2008 and 2011-2013 - will rejoin the club in a joint position alongside current pitching coach, Matt Yourkin (5th season). In addition, hitting coach Ricky Ward (11th season) and assistant coach Thomas Neal (2nd season) will return to round out the 2017 field staff.
A native of Colombia, Cabrera comes to Salem-Keizer marking his first season at the managerial position within professional baseball. He has over three years of previous coaching experience under his belt, starting in 2014 as the hitting coach for the Arizona League Reds (Cincinnati Reds Rookie Affiliate). In 2015, Cabrera held the same position with the Billings Mustangs (Cincinnati Reds Rookie Affiliate) and helped them to a second place finish in the Pioneer League North Division, along with a playoff berth.
From there, Cabrera, 44, coached for the Colombian International team when they won a trip to the 2017 World Baseball Classic for the first time in the country's history. In 2016 he moved into the San Francisco system where he served as one of the hitting coaches for the Arizona League Giants.
Signed by the Montreal Expos as an amateur free agent in 1990, Cabrera played a total of 22 seasons in professional baseball. He spent eight seasons in the Major Leagues, making his debut in 1998 for the Cleveland Indians. He also spent two seasons with Los Angeles Dodgers and one with both the Cincinnati Reds and the Seattle Mariners. In addition, Cabrera competed overseas for seven seasons in Japan, the Dominican Republic, Venezuela, and Mexico. He is the older brother of former Major Leaguer and World Series champion, Orlando Cabrera.
Cram, 69, returns to the Volcanoes in the same position as a pitching coach that he held from 2004-2008 and 2011-2013. The 2017 campaign will mark his 50th season in pro ball. This familiar face in Salem-Keizer guided the pitching staff during his first five seasons to a 3.75 earned run average, twice leading the Northwest League. During his tenure, he helped mold the likes of future contributors to San Francisco World Series winners - Jonathan Sanchez ('04), Sergio Romo ('05) and Tim Lincecum ('06).
A former big leaguer himself, Cram was signed as a free agent in 1967 from Riverside Community College by the Minnesota Twins. He made his debut at the young age of 21 that same season in 1967 for the Kansas City Royals. Over his four seasons in the MLB, Cram also competed with New York Mets, making a total of 23 appearances over his career.
Very familiar with the San Francisco system, Cram has been with four different Giants affiliates (Salem-Keizer included) since he started in 2001. He has spent the last two seasons ('15 & '16) with the Augusta GreenJackets as the pitching coach and the year before ('14) as an assistant pitching coach with the Richmond Flying Squirrels. This veteran began his coaching career as a pitching coach with the Kansas City Royals from 1984-1997 and the Colorado Rockies from 1999-2000.
Cram will be linking with Matt Yourkin, who has been the pitching coach for the Volcanoes for the past four seasons. Yourkin, 35, joined Salem-Keizer after serving as a left-handed batting practice pitcher for the Giants during the first half of the 2013 season. The former minor league pitcher played nine seasons in the San Francisco and Florida Marlins systems.
Ward, 46, is the longest tenured member of the Salem-Keizer staff with 2017 marking his 11th season with the Volcanoes. Ward has overseen some of the teams most successful offensive groups, including three NWL Championship victors. His 2007 offense finished with a franchise-best .289 average and 497 runs scored (6.5 per game), as the Volcanoes cemented a league-best 57-19 record and their second straight NWL title.
Neal, 29, begins his second season as a member of the coaching staff and is very familiar with Salem-Keizer, as he competed for the Volcanoes in 2006. A 36th round selection by the Giants in 2005, Neal made his MLB debut in 2012 with the Indians and went on to play with the New York Yankees and Chicago Cubs during his two-year stint in the big leagues.
Aquiles Torrealba returns for his second season as the head athletic trainer with the Volcanoes. In 2016, Aquiles served as the assistant athletic trainer in Salem. Prior to the joining the Giants organization, Aquiles worked with numerous professional players and was the athletic trainer for a Venezuelan Winter Ball team in 2015. Aquiles, who grew up in Venezuela, played professionally in the Anaheim Angels organization from 1997-1999. He then received his degree at Barry University. Aquiles is certified by the NATA and currently resides in Sarasota, Florida.
Vito Maffei is beginning his first season in professional baseball and will serve as the assistant athletic trainer for the Volcanoes. Vito completed his Bachelor's Degree at Northwestern College, majoring in athletic training. Vito received his Master's Degree in Rehabilitation Science from California University of Pennsylvania, graduating in December 2016. Vito is certified by the NATA and currently resides in Sylmar, California.
The Volcanoes Stadium Box Office and Team Store are both open year-round on all business days from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. For information regarding 2017 ticketing packages, copies of the 2017 schedule, and additional requests, call the Volcanoes Stadium Box Office at 503-390-2225 or visit volcanoesbaseball.com.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.