Jimmy Gonzalez will manage the South Bend Cubs in 2015, the Chicago Cubs announced today.
Gonzalez played 14 seasons in the minor leagues after being drafted by the Houston Astros in June 1991. Mainly a catcher, he played in the Midwest League in 1992, 1993 and 1995.
In 1992, Gonzalez batted .176 with 4 HR and 21 RBI in 91 games with the Burlington Astros. In 1993, he batted .227 with 15 RBI in 47 games with the Quad City River Bandits. In 1995, he batted .244 with 1 HR and 14 RBI in 35 games with the River Bandits. (The River Bandits were affiliated with the Astros at that time, as they are again now.)
The South Bend Cubs will be the first full-season team managed by Gonzalez. (He managed Chicago’s short-season Arizona League team this year.) He replaces Mark Haley, who managed the South Bend Silver Hawks from 2005 to 2014, earning Midwest League Manager of the Year honors in 2005, 2008 and 2013. The Silver Hawks were affiliated with the Arizona Diamondbacks during Haley’s managerial tenure.
After the team changed its MLB affiliation from the Diamondbacks to the Cubs, Haley decided to stay in the city he calls home, leaving the D-backs organization to run the player development academy being built adjacent to Four Winds Field by South Bend team owner Andrew Berlin.
Gonzalez will be joined on the South Bend Cubs staff by pitching coach Brian Lawrence and hitting coach Jesus Feliciano.
Lawrence pitched for the San Diego Padres from 2001 to 2005, and for the New York Mets for part of the 2007 season. He pitched for the Clinton LumberKings in 1998, going 5-3 with a 2.80 ERA and 79 strikeouts in 80.1 IP (12 starts). The 2015 season will be his fourth as a pitching coach (second year in the Cubs organization).
Feliciano played 54 games with the 2010 Mets and 16 seasons in the minor leagues. He joins South Bend after serving as hitting coach of the short-season Northwest League’s Boise Hawks in 2014.
The Chicago Cubs also announced that Mark Johnson, the 2014 Midwest League Manager of the Year, will be skipper of the High-A Myrtle Beach Pelicans in 2015. He led the Kane County Cougars — affiliated with the Cubs the past two seasons — to a 91-49 regular-season record (best in Minor League Baseball) and the Midwest League championship title in 2014.