Jirschele Returns to Omaha for 13th Season
Gregg, Henry, Iannicca also back to defend Pacific Coast League crown
OMAHA, Neb. — Mike Jirschele, recently presented with Minor League Baseball’s 2011 Mike Coolbaugh award, will return for his 13th season at the helm of the Triple-A affiliate of the Kansas City Royals. The Clintonville, Wisc., native will lead the Storm Chasers in their quest to defend their Pacific Coast League Championship, the team’s first league title since 1990.
Jirschele, 52, has a career managerial record of 1055-999 dating back to 1992, all with the Kansas City organization. That includes a mark of 842-883 in Omaha, with stints from 1995-97 and 2003 through this past season. He is a four-time winner of the Royals’ Dick Howser Award, given for his excellence in 1992, 1994, 2005 and 2011.
Joining the veteran skipper will be hitting coach Tommy Gregg (fourth season in Omaha) and pitching coach Doug Henry (third season in Omaha).
Gregg, a veteran of nine major league seasons, helped blossoming young stars Eric Hosmer, Mike Moustakas, Johnny Giavotella, Manny Pina and Salvador Perez make their big league debuts during the 2011 campaign. His leadership was evident when Jirschele was on personal leave during the middle of the year, as Gregg served as the de facto manager and helped maintain the team’s lead in the American Conference Northern Division standings.
Henry, who pitched 11 seasons in the majors – including one with the Royals – led a pitching staff that survived several big-league call-ups and featured PCL Pitcher of the Year Luis Mendoza, who recorded a sensational 2.18 ERA in 144.1 innings. Henry put together a rotation that led the league in earned run average in the months of April, July and August, with August’s 3.21 ERA pacing the circuit by nearly a full run over Nashville’s 4.10 mark.
Assisting the on-field staff will be returning athletic trainer Dave Iannicca and newcomer Joey Greany, who will serve as the Chasers’ strength and conditioning coach.