Last year’s Midwest League Manager of the Year, Josh Bonifay, won’t return to the Quad Cities River Bandits in 2016. Nor will Dave Borkowski, who was the team’s pitching coach the past three seasons.
The Houston Astros previously said those two coaches would remain on the Quad Cities staff for the 2016 season, but both men were reassigned in a series of minor-league coaching changes announced Tuesday. Borkowski is moving up to the Double-A Corpus Christi Hooks, while Bonifay returns to rookie-level Greeneville, where he managed in 2013 and 2014.
Additionally, Wladimir Sutil will serve as a coach and Latin infield instructor for the rookie-level Gulf Coast League Astros instead of doing so for the River Bandits as previously announced. Tommy Kawamura has been added as a player development coach for Quad Cities and Corpus Christi.
Replacing Bonifay at the Quad Cities helm is a familiar face: Omar Lopez, who managed the River Bandits in 2013 and 2014. Quad Cities won the Midwest League championship in 2013.
Lopez briefly played in the Midwest League, batting .143 (5-for-35) in 11 games with the 1998 South Bend Silver Hawks. Coincidentally, the River Bandits beat the Silver Hawks in the 2013 Midwest League Championship Series.
Chris Holt replaces Borkowski as pitching coach. He pitched for Quad Cities in 1993, going 11-10 with a 2.27 ERA, 176 strikeouts and 54 walks in 186.1 innings (26 starts). He pitched 10 complete games, including three shutouts, that season. He went on to pitch in part or all of four seasons at the major-league level for the Astros, and one season for the Detroit Tigers.
Joel Chimelis is still slated to serve as QC’s hitting coach, as previously announced.