From one Peoria to another.
When the Arizona Fall League announced its team structure and staffs for the 2014 season on Tuesday, a very familiar name was listed as one of the two pitching coaches of the Peoria Javelinas – Peoria Chiefs pitching coach Jason Simontacchi.
Nominated by the St. Louis Cardinals organization, Simontacchi is in his second year with the Class-A Chiefs. His pitching staff is fourth in the 16-team Midwest League in ERA and fifth in strikeouts after finishing second in both categories in 2013. The club is currently just one game out of first place and if the season ended today, would be in the post-season.
The 40-year-old Simontacchi, a St. Louis resident, is most known for his four seasons as a major league pitcher, including the first three with the Cardinals, from 2002-2004.
Along with St. Louis Cardinals pitching prospects in the 2014 AFL, Simontacchi will guide young arms from four other organizations - the Kansas City Royals, Cleveland Indians, Tampa Bay Rays and Atlanta Braves. The Javelinas other pitching coach will be R.C. Lichtenstein of Montgomery (Double-A, Rays).
Peoria’s hitting coach will be Garey Ingram of Gwinnett (Triple-A, Braves), with Vance Wilson serving as manager. The former major league catcher is familiar to Springfield fans as the current manager of the Northwest Arkansas Naturals (Royals) of the Double-A Texas League.
The Cardinals organization will also be represented on the Javelinas staff by Memphis Redbirds athletic trainer Jeremy Clipperton.
The annual prospect showcase is scheduled to get underway on Tuesday, October 7 with six teams competing at five MLB spring training sites in the Phoenix metropolitan area. Both the Javelinas and Surprise Saguaros will play their home games at the Royals’ and Texas Rangers’ spring base, Surprise Stadium.
The league's schedule should be released in early August, followed by rosters later in the month. In the interim, the organizations that make up each AFL team will conference to select players while ensuring full and complete rosters result.
If past years traditions are followed, the annual Fall Stars Game will be played Saturday, November 1 with the league championship contest held Saturday, November 15.
As always, The Cardinal Nation and Scout.com will provide full coverage of the Arizona Fall League to subscribers in 2014, including eyewitness reports, interviews, photo and video.
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