Little change atop Cardinals' top Minors staffs

Little change atop Cardinals' top Minors staffs

ST. LOUIS -- All eight Cardinals incumbent Minor League managers will return to their affiliates in 2016, the team announced on Tuesday. There will also be no changes with the pitching coach assignments at the four full-season affiliates -- Triple-A Memphis, Double-A Springfield, Class A Advanced Palm Beach and low Class A Peoria.

The Cardinals will be employing what they term a "4th Coach" at five of their affiliates this season. Those roles will be filled by Robby Hisert (Memphis), T.C. Calhoun (Springfield), Jim Foster (Palm Beach), Nathan Sopena (Peoria) and C.J. Beatty (short-season State College). Beatty was drafted by the Cardinals in 2009 and played two seasons in the Minors before moving on to the Independent League.

Memphis manager Mike Shildt will retain both his pitching coach (Bryan Eversgerd) and hitting coach (Mark Budaska). The club still has not yet named a trainer.

In Springfield, manager Dann Bilardello and pitching coach Jason Simontacchi return. Ramon Ortiz, who was the Palm Beach hitting coach in 2015, will now assume that role with the Double-A club.

In fact, several other affiliates will also be featuring new hitting coaches. Roberto Espinoza moves from the Gulf Coast League Cardinals to Johnson City, one of the Cardinals' Rookie-level affiliates. Donnie Ecker (Palm Beach), Jobel Jimenez (Peoria) and Robert LaFrancois (State College) each take new assignments as hitting coaches, as well.

Cale Johnson (Johnson City) and Giovanni Carrara (GCL Cardinals) have moved up an affiliate level as pitching coaches. The Cardinals have also hired Cody Gabella, son of former Minor League manager Jim Gabella, to serve as a coach on the GCL club.

Tony Ferreira, who was the Cards' player development baseball operations coordinator last season, now holds the title of administrator for Minor League operations. The Cardinals added one member to the player development team -- Frank Daversa, now the assistant Minor League rehab coordinator -- but otherwise kept the department intact.

The following personnel will return to their positions for another season: Mark DeJohn (field coordinator), Tim Leveque (pitching coordinator), Derrick May (hitting coordinator), Ron "Pop" Warner (infield coordinator), Luis Aguayo (Latin America field coordinator), Paul Davis (coordinator of pitching analytics/rehab), George Greet (Minor League offensive strategist), Dave Meyer (Minor League rehab coordinator), Barry Weinberg (senior medical advisor), Gaylen Pitts (special assistant) and Willie McGee (special assistant).

The Cardinals have one trainer vacancy left to fill in Memphis. The other six affiliates will employ a trainer who has previously worked at some level within the organization.

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