SAN DIEGO - The San Diego Padres today announced the coaching staffs for their Single-A affiliates in Lake Elsinore and Fort Wayne for the 2015 season.
In Lake Elsinore, Michael Collins will take over as manager of the Storm in what will be his fourth season in the Padres organization, having last served as the manager for Single-A Fort Wayne in 2014. Prior to his one-year stint with the TinCaps, the Canberra, Australia, native served as the manager for the Arizona League Padres in 2013 and the club's Dominican Summer League affiliate in 2012. For the last three offseasons, Collins has skippered the Canberra Calvary of the Australian Baseball League, leading the squad to an ABL title in 2012-13.
Joining Collins' staff in Lake Elsinore will be Glendon Rusch as pitching coach and Rod Barajas as hitting coach. Rusch, who will be making his professional coaching debut, pitched for 12 seasons in the Major Leagues with the Kansas City Royals (1997-99), New York Mets (1999-2001), Milwaukee Brewers (2002-03) Chicago Cubs (2004-06), San Diego Padres (2008) and Colorado Rockies (2008-09). Following his playing career, the left-hander started the Full Count Baseball Academy where he worked with young athletes in Southern California. Barajas enters his second season in the Padres organization and his first full season as Lake Elsinore's hitting coach as he joined the Storm in June of last season after previously serving as the manager of the AZL Padres. The former catcher joined the Padres organization after spending 14 seasons in the Major Leagues with the Arizona Diamondbacks (1999-2003), Texas Rangers (2004-06), Philadelphia Phillies (2007), Toronto Blue Jays (2008-09), New York Mets (2010), Los Angeles Dodgers (2010-11) and Pittsburgh Pirates (2012). Also returning to the Storm's staff will be Will Sinon who returns for his ninth season with Lake Elsinore and 18th with San Diego. Sinon will be joined by Dan Byrne who returns for his third season with the Padres organization and first with Lake Elisnore.
In Fort Wayne, Francisco Morales will take over as manager of the TinCaps in what will be his second season in the Padres organization. His new role will be his first professional managerial position, having previously served as the hitting coach for Double-A San Antonio in 2014, the bullpen catcher and staff assistant with the Cleveland Indians for three seasons (2011-13) and a hitting coach in the Diamondbacks' organization for five seasons, including with Single-A South Bend (2008-10), Rookie-Level Yakima (2007) and the DSL D-Backs (2006).
Joining Morales' staff in Fort Wayne will be Burt Hooton as pitching coach and Lance Burkhart as hitting coach. For Hooton, 2015 will mark his third season with the TinCaps after joining the Padres organization in 2013. A veteran of 15 Major League seasons with the Chicago Cubs (1971-75), Los Angeles Dodgers (1975-84) and Texas Rangers (1985), Hooton previously served as the pitching coach for the Houston Astros' Triple-A affiliate in both Oklahoma City (2011-12) and Round Rock (2005-10) as well as spending parts of five seasons as the Major League pitching coach for the Astros (2000-04). Lance Burkhart, the younger brother of Double-A San Antonio hitting coach Morgan Burkhart, joins the Padres for his first coaching position in affiliated baseball, having served last season as the manager of the Southern Maryland Blue Crabs of the independent Atlantic League. Prior to 2014, Burkhart spent the previous four seasons (2010-13) as the hitting coach for the Lancaster Barnstormers, also of the Atlantic League, following a 13-year playing career as a catcher in the Montreal Expos (1997-99), Milwaukee Brewers (2000-02), Texas Rangers (2003) and Baltimore Orioles (2004) organizations as well as stints with Lancaster (2005-08) and Southern Maryland (2009). Also returning to the TinCaps' staff will be Ricky Huerta for his third-straight season with Fort Wayne and sixth season with the Padres organization. Huerta will be joined by Gabe Lazzaro who returns for his third season with the Padres and first with Fort Wayne.