Former big-leaguers join Pelicans’ managerial staff

pelJohnson,MarkIn conjunction with the Chicago Cubs, the Myrtle Beach Pelicans, the Class A-Advanced affiliate of the Chicago Cubs, are pleased to announce the field staff for the Pelicans for the upcoming 2015 season.

Mark Johnson leads the coaching staff as the manager in the team’s first year as a Cubs affiliate. Most recently, Johnson was named the Manager of the Year in the Midwest League for his work the Cubs’ Class-A Kane County Cougars in 2014. He is joined by David Rosario (pitching coach), Mariano Duncan (hitting coach), Chris Gutierrez (assistant coach), and Peter Fagan (athletic trainer). Rosario and Gutierrez both served with Johnson in Kane County in 2014.

Johnson, 39, enters his fifth season with the Cubs and will be the sixth Pelicans manager in team history. The former big league catcher spent the last two seasons as the manager at Class-A Kane County, where he led the Cougars last season to a minor league best 91-49 record and a Midwest League championship after sweeping through the playoffs with a 7-0 record. He was named Baseball America’s Minor League Manager of the Year and Midwest League Manager of the Year for his efforts. Johnson began his managerial career in 2011 with Class A-Short Season Boise where he took the Hawks to back-to-back postseason appearances, their first playoff berths since 2006. In his four seasons as a manger, Johnson has taken his team the playoffs three times.

The new Pelicans skipper immediately joined the coaching ranks after retiring as a player in 2010, the conclusion of a 17-year professional playing career. He played in parts of eight major league seasons with four clubs: the Chicago White Sox, Oakland Athletics, Milwaukee Brewers, and St. Louis Cardinals. In 332 big league games, Johnson hit .218, 16 home runs, and knocked in 83 runs. The White Sox first round pick from 1994 has Carolina League experience, having played for Prince William in 1996 and Winston-Salem in 1997 while a member of the White Sox organization. He also played in the Cubs system for Triple-A Iowa (2005, 2009-2010). Originally from Wheat Ridge, Colorado, Johnson makes his offseason home in Perry, Georgia and graduated from Warner Robins High School in Warner Robins, Georgia.

Handling pitching coach duties will be David Rosario, who begins his eleventh year in the Cubs system and served with Johnson last season at Kane County. As a player, the southpaw pitched nine years in the minors, including six with the Cubs, and two additional seasons in the independent Atlantic League. His pitching staff in Kane County compiled a 2.85 ERA last season, best in the Midwest League. Rosario has served as the pitching coach at three different levels, having been in Boise (Class A-Short Season, 2009, 2011-2013), Peoria (Class-A, 2007, 2010), Kane County (Class-A, 2014), and Daytona (Class A-Advanced, 2008).

Mariano Duncan returns for his third season as the Cubs’ Class A-Advanced hitting coach after serving the previous two campaigns as Double-A Tennessee’s hitting coach (2011-12). The 12-year major league veteran (1985-87, 1989-97) joined the Cubs in 2011 after spending the previous five seasons (2006-10) as the Dodgers major league first base coach.

As a player, Duncan finished third in the National League Rookie of the Year voting with the Dodgers in 1985 and won two World Series Championships, the first with Cincinnati (1990) and the second with New York (AL) (1996). He was also inducted into the the Dominican Republic Baseball Hall of Fame in 2008.

Rounding out the coaching staff is assistant coach Chris Gutierrez who began his coaching career last season as an assistant coach, also under Johnson in Kane County. Prior to that, Gutierrez played nine seasons in the minor leagues with the Blue Jays (2005-09), Angels (2009), Dodgers (2010) and Marlins (2011-13) organizations, reaching as high as Triple-A.

Peter Fagan returns as the Class A-Advanced athletic trainer. This will be Fagan’s fifth year in the Cubs organization and brings 31 years of experience to the position. He previously worked for the St. Louis Cardinals (1982-2000) and Houston Astros (2001-2010).

The Pelicans return to TicketReturn.Com Field at Pelicans Ballpark in 2015, as they look to defend their Southern Division Championship Title. The 2015 season marks the 17th season for the franchise and first as the Class A-Advanced affiliate of the Chicago Cubs.

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