The Colorado Springs Sky Sox announced their coaching staff for the 2014 campaign and the faces will be very familiar to Sky Sox fans as the entire 2013 staff returns to Security Service Field. Manager Glenallen Hill returns for his second season after taking over for Stu Cole in 2013. He’ll be joined by returning hitting coach Dave Hajek, pitching coach Dave Schuler, medical trainer Heath Townsend and physical performance coach Mike Jasperson.
Hill enters his second season as manager after guiding the Sky Sox to a 67-76 record in his first season at the helm. Before skippering the Sky Sox, Hill served the previous six seasons as a big league coach with the Rockies. This will be his tenth season overall as a member of the Rockies organization as he also previously served as a hitting coach for the Rockies High-A affiliate Modesto Nuts from 2004-06.Hill also served as the Modesto manager for the last three months of the 2006 season when former skipper Chad Krueter was named head coach at USC. Hill took over as manager of the Nuts on June 9, 2006, guiding the club to a 36-45 mark the rest of the way.
On the field, Hill’s playing career concluded in 2001 after nearly 19 seasons, including 13 in the majors. Originally drafted by the Blue Jays in the ninth round of the 1983 June draft, Hill went on to see Major League time with the Blue Jays (1989-91), Indians (1991-93), Cubs (1993-94), Giants (1995-97), Mariners (1998), Yankees (2000), and Angels (2001). He complied a .271 lifetime average with 186 home runs and 586 RBI in 1,162 games and won a World Series title with the Yankees in 2000. Hill was also considered one of the game’s top pinch hitters, as he possessed a .287 lifetime average in the pinch with 13 home runs.
Shuler, who has spent 39 years in baseball including 26 as a coach, will begin his second season as the Sky Sox pitching coach after spending the previous two seasons as the pitching coach at Double-A Tulsa. Prior to that, Schuler spent the 2010 season as Single-A Asheville’s pitching coach following 2009 with Tri-City in the same role. His previous coaching duties came with Baltimore from 2000-04, where he was the pitching coach for the Delmarva Shorebirds and Bowie Baysox. He also coached in the Giants organization in 1996 at Single-A San Jose and in the Yankees organization from 1989 to 1995 making stops in Single-A Prince William, Double-A Albany and Triple-A Columbus. Schuler’s coaching career began in 1984 as pitching coach at the University of Nebraska at Omaha. A former Major League pitcher, Schuler pitched parts of three seasons with California (1979-80) and Atlanta (1985) going 0-1 with a 5.40 ERA in 18 games.
Hajek begins his 11th year in the Rockies organization and his second as hitting coach for the Sky Sox. He was promoted to his current role after spending the past four seasons as a roving infield coordinator (2012) and the hitting coach for Double-A Tulsa (2008-11). Prior to Tulsa, Hajek served as hitting coach for Modesto (2006-07) and Asheville (2004-05). A former second baseman, Hajek retired after the 1999 season following a 10-year professional career in which he compiled a .301 Minor League average with 43 homers and 526 RBI. In that 1999 season, Hajek played for the Sky Sox and hit .295 with eight home runs and 58 RBI. He had a brief stint in the Major Leagues with the Astros, playing in five games in 1995 and eight games in 1996. Hajek hit .250 in those 13 big league contests. Hajek is a resident of Colorado Springs.
Townsend, a resident of McCalla, AL, returns for his ninth season as the Sky Sox medical trainer. A graduate of the University of West Alabama, this will be Heath’s 13th season in the Rockies organization. In 2010, he was named the Pacific Coast League Trainer of the Year marking the second time in his career he has won the designation. He was also named the South Atlantic League Trainer of the Year in 2001 while with the Asheville Tourists. With nine seasons as a member of the Sky Sox staff, Townsend is the longest tenured staff member in franchise history (2006-14).
Jasperson returns for his second season as the Sky Sox physical performance coach. The Salt Lake City native has been with the Rockies organization for five seasons and has been steadily moving up the ranks throughout his career. He started his Rockies career with the Rookie Level Casper Ghosts in the Pioneer League and then moved up a level each year after with stops in Asheville and Tulsa. Jasperson also has personal ties to Colorado as he graduated from Colorado State University-Pueblo with a degree in Exercise Science.
Below is a complete list of the Rockies organizational staff with the changes for 2014 in bold. For those who have changed positions, the title he held last year is beside his name in parentheses.
Director of Pitching Operations – Mark Wiley
Head Pitching Coordinator – Doug Linton
Assistant Pitching Coordinator – Bob Apodaca
Catching Coordinator – Mark Strittmatter
Offensive Coordinator – Jerry Weinstein (Major League Coach)
Latin America Field Coordinator – Edison Lora
Head Rehabilitation Coordinator – Scott Murayama
Assistant Rehabilitation Coordinator – Andy Stover
Physical Performance Coordinator – Gabe Bauer
Cultural Education Coordinator – Josh Rosenthal
Cultural Education Teacher, Dominican Republic – Angel Amparo
Peak Performance Coordinator – Andy McKay
Video Coordinator – Scott Alves
Equipment Coordinator – Jerry Bass
COLORADO SPRINGS SKY SOX (AAA) TULSA DRILLERS (AA)
TBD – Supervisor Ron Gideon – Supervisor (Tri-City Supervisor)
Glenallen Hill – Manager Kevin Riggs – Manager
Dave Schuler – Pitching Coach Darryl Scott – Pitching Coach
Dave Hajek – Hitting Coach Darin Everson – Hitting Coach
Heath Townsend – Medical Trainer Chris Dovey – Medical Trainer
Mike Jasperson – Physical Performance Coach Brian Buck – Physical Performance Coach
MODESTO NUTS (A+) ASHEVILLE TOURISTS (A)
Fred Nelson – Supervisor Marv Foley – Supervisor
Don Sneddon – Manager Fred Ocasio – Manager
Dave Burba – Pitching Coach Mark Brewer – Pitching Coach
Jon Stone – Hitting Coach Mike Devereaux – Hitting Coach
Josh Guterman – Medical Trainer Billy Whitehead – Medical Trainer
TRI-CITY DUST DEVILS (SS-A) GRAND JUNCTION ROCKIES (R)
Duane Espy – Supervisor (Tulsa Supervisor) Tony Diaz – Supervisor
Drew Saylor – Manager Anthony Sanders – Manager
Frank Gonzales – Pitching Coach Ryan Kibler – Pitching Coach
Warren Schaeffer – Hitting Coach Lee Stevens – Hitting Coach
Casey Papas – Medical Trainer John Duff – Medical Trainer
DOMINICAN SUMMER LEAGUE ROCKIES (R)
Mauricio Gonzalez – Manager
Edison Lora – Pitching Coach
Eugenio Jose – Hitting Coach
Florentino Nunez – Coach
Andri Guevara – Medical Trainer