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 for the Peoria Chiefs in 2006 and 2007. After batting only .191 in 22 games with the 2006 team, he had a breakthrough season in 2007, when he batted .295 with 4 HR and 33 RBI in 77 games with the Chiefs.
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.