The Cleveland Indians today announced the organizational staff alignment within the Player Development System for the upcoming season.
CHRIS TREMIE (AAA Columbus), DAVID WALLACE (AA Akron) and MARK BUDZINSKI (Single-A Lynchburg) all return at the top three organizational levels while TONY MANSOLINO takes over the helm of the Single-A Lake County Captains after coaching the last five seasons at various levels of the Indians Player Development system. All four full season clubs posted winning records last season as Tremie led the Triple-A Columbus Clippers to their third International League title since 2010.
With TRAVIS FRYMAN moving back into an advisor role, EDWIN RODRIGUEZ will manage the Short-Season A Mahoning Valley Scrappers. Rodriguez, 55, has been in professional baseball since 1980, managed the Florida Marlins in 2010-11 and has been a member of the Indians family since 2012, managing Class-A Carolina in 2012 and AA Akron in 2013.
JOHN McDONALD moves into the role of Infield Coordinator after rejoining the Indians organization last season as a Special Assistant to Player Development. In this position, "Mac" will serve as the primary resource to Minor League coaches in the implementation and monitoring of individual infielder player plans. The slick-fielding shortstop enjoyed a 16-year Major League career from 1999-2014, including 293 games with the Indians from 1999-2004 and again in 2013.
ALEX ECKELMAN moves back into the front office as Assistant Director, Player Development after serving as the club's Advanced Scouting Coordinator the last four seasons since 2012. Eckelman joined the club in 2010 after wrapping up a nine-year professional career in 2005 and enjoying a Hall of Fame career at Ohio State from 1994-1997. As Assistant Director, Player Development, Alex joins Eric Binder in assisting with the leadership of the Player Development staff and the design and creation of its programs, policies, and curriculums. Eckelman will oversee the player-plan process for all of the organization's non-pitchers.
JULIO RANGEL has been a member of the Indians organization since 2007, working in mental skills and cultural development early on in his tenure with the Indians before spending the last several seasons as Lower Level Pitching Coordinator. As Assistant Field Coordinator, he will assist Tom Wiedenbauer in all phases of coordinating and overseeing the Indians Player Development operation. Julio will also oversee the Player Development implementation at the club's new Dominican Academy.
BRUCE CHEN concluded his 17-year Major League playing career in 2015,
making two starts with the Indians last May after signing with the club in February. The native of Panama City, Panama will assist all organizational players in the transition to professional baseball with a particular focus on Latin-born players. Chen pitched for 11 teams in his career and posted a career record of 82-81 with a 4.62 ERA in 400 Major League games from 1998-2015.
TIM LAKER returns to the organization after spending the last five seasons as a hitting instructor in the Chicago White Sox organization. He spent three seasons coaching with the Indians, 2007-2009, as Minor League Manager and Catching Coordinator after retiring as a player in 2006 before moving on to manage in the Seattle organization in 2010. He played professionally for 19 seasons from 1988-2006 and appeared in 282 Major League games over 11 years, 1992-2006.
STEVE McCATTY spent the last seven seasons as the Major League Pitching Coach of the Washington Nationals. He was also the Pitching Coach of the Detroit Tigers for three seasons, 2003-05, before joining the Nationals organization in the same position at the Triple-A level in 2006. He is entering his 36th season in professional baseball, posting a Major League record of 63-63 with a 3.99 ERA in 221 games/161 starts with Oakland from 1977-85.
MATT BLAKE will assist Pitching Coordinator Ruben Niebla as a leader of the organization's pitching coaches as it pertains to understanding and implementing organizational philosophies, systems and processes. Blake was the Pitching Coordinator at Cressey Sports Performance, an elite training center in Hudson, MA for pro and college players, and held a similar position for Yarmouth-Dennis in the Cape Cod League. He also founded his own company, Elite Pitching Development, in 2009.