Former first baseman/catcher Blake Lalli, who briefly played in the major leagues for three teams, will manage the Kane County Cougars in 2018.
It is the first managerial assignment for Lalli, whose playing career ended this year after 12 seasons in the minor leagues and brief stints in the majors with the Chicago Cubs (six games in 2012), the Milwaukee Brewers (16 games in 2013) and the Atlanta Braves (10 games in 2016).
Lalli played 111 games for the 2006-08 Peoria Chiefs, cumulatively batting .275 with 5 HR and 44 RBI. He also made six scoreless pitching appearances for the Chiefs in 2007 — his only full season in the Midwest League — giving up only one hit while striking out three batters in four innings.
Lalli replaces former Boston Red Sox player and skipper Butch Hobson, who managed the Cougars in 2017. Hobson, who previously managed in independent leagues for 17 years, recently was named the inaugural skipper for the Chicago Dogs, a new American Association team based in Rosemont, Illinois.
The 2018 Cougars coaching staff will be rounded out by pitching coach Rich Sauveur, who is entering his third season with the team; and newcomers Rick Short and Jorge Cortes, who will serve as hitting coach and bench coach, respectively.