The Kane County Cougars, in conjunction with the Chicago Cubs, have announced the field staff for the 2014 season.
Dating back to the franchise’s first season in 1991, this will be the 24th season of Cougars baseball and the second year of the Cougars’ affiliation with the Cubs. Opening Night at Fifth Third Bank Ballpark is set for Tuesday, April 8 when the Cougars host Fort Wayne at 6:30 p.m.
Mark Johnson will return as Cougars manager in 2014 after making his Kane County debut last season. This is Johnson’s fourth season as a manager in the Cubs organization after spending 2011 and 2012 with Short-A Boise. Johnson’s big league playing career included portions of eight seasons as a catcher, beginning with his major league debut in 1998 with the White Sox. Following his time with the White Sox (’98-’02), Johnson played with Oakland in 2003, Milwaukee in 2004, and closed out his major league tenure with St. Louis in 2008. Johnson hit 16 home runs and drove in 83 runs in 332 major league games.
David Rosario has been named Cougars pitching coach after serving in the same role with Boise for the past three seasons. This is Rosario’s 10th season as a minor league coach in the Cubs system. Rosario played professionally in the minor leagues with the Cubs, Yankees and Expos.
Tom Beyers will return as Cougars hitting coach. Beyers has been a coach or coordinator in the Cubs system since 2000. A 15th-round draft pick by the Los Angeles Dodgers in 1979, Beyers advanced as high as Triple-A as a player and spent time in the Midwest League with Clinton in 1979 before concluding his playing career in 1983. Beyers managed the 2004 Boise squad which won the NWL championship.
Jonathan Fiero has been named Cougars athletic trainer. Fiero served in the same role last season at Boise.
Members of last season’s Cougars field staff who will not be returning to Kane County are pitching coach Ron Villone, who has been assigned to Class-A Advanced Daytona as pitching coach. Athletic trainer Shane Nelson has been promoted to Double-A Tennessee.
Season tickets, ticket packages and catered event group outings are on sale for the 2014 season. Fans can inquire about these options by calling the Cougars at (630) 232-8811.
–News Bulletin news sources