Cardinals shuffle Minor League coaching staffs

SAN DIEGO -- Five of the Cardinals' eight affiliates will feature a new manager in 2015, the organization revealed while announcing its Minor League coaching staff assignments on Wednesday. The faces, however, won't be as unfamiliar as the settings.

Four of the changes include individuals with previous managerial experience at lower levels within the Cardinals system who became involved in a shuffle prompted by Ron "Pop" Warner's exit as Triple-A manager. After 10 years of managing in the Cardinals' farm system, Warner moves into a roving infield coordinator role.

"When you think about how long he's been in that managerial seat, having a change and taking a fresh step back to trying something a little bit different, I think, will be helpful for him," general manager John Mozeliak said. "That's not to say he won't manage again. That's not to say he won't be with a club again. But this gives him a break from that routine."

Those bumped up to higher managerial posts include Mike Shildt (Triple-A Memphis), Dann Bilardello (Double-A Springfield), Oliver Marmol (High A Palm Beach) and Johnny Rodriguez (short-season State College). Three other managers -- Joe Kruzel (Low A Peoria), Steve Turco (Rookie Gulf Coast League) and Fray Peniche (Dominican Summer League) -- will return to the club each managed a year ago.

The only entirely new addition is Chris Swauger, who wrapped up a seven-year playing career in the Minors this past season. The former outfielder also spent part of the year getting some experience as an assistant hitting coach.

"He was somebody we identified when he was playing who at some point when his career ended we were going to give him a coaching opportunity," Mozeliak said. "He really liked it and did a great job. He's a very bright guy. We're excited to have him, and I think he's excited for this next challenge."

Roberto Espinoza, who joined the Cardinals midseason as a bullpen catcher, will return to a coaching role as the GCL hitting coach. The Cardinals will hire another bullpen catcher so as to have two again in 2015.

The team's roster of minor league coordinators was unchanged outside of the move to include Warner in the list. Mark DeJohn (field coordinator), Tim Leveque (pitching coordinator), Derrick May (hitting coordinator), Luis Aguayo (Latin American coordinator), Paul Davis (pitching coordinator/coordinator of pitching analytics/rehab) and Rachel Balkovec (strength and conditioning coordinator) are all returning.

Jenifer Langosch is a reporter for Read her blog, By Gosh, It's Langosch, and follow her on Twitter @LangoschMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.