Cardinals announce coaching staff for Spikes’ 2019 season

From staff reports

STATE COLLEGE — New manager Jose Leon will lead the State College Spikes’ 2019 coaching staff, the St. Louis Cardinals announced Friday. Leon becomes the 10th manager in Spikes history after serving as hitting coach for the Cardinals’ number-one Dominican Summer League affiliate in 2018. Pitching coach Adrian Martin will return to the same role for his second season in 2019, while hitting coach Cody Gabella will make his Spikes debut this year.

Rounding out the Spikes’ 2019 coaching staff will be two more returnees, athletic trainer Joey Olsiewicz and strength and conditioning coach Don Trapp.

Joe Kruzel, who managed the Spikes for the past two seasons, will take over as the manager of the Double-A Springfield Cardinals in 2019.

“We are happy to give a big welcome to Jose Leon and Cody Gabella as they join our Spikes family and can’t wait to see Adrian, Joey and Don back in Happy Valley for what will be a great 2019 season,” Spikes General Manager Scott Walker said.

Leon will be entering his second season in the Cardinals organization and his first as a manager. The Cayey, Puerto Rico native played 88 games in the major leagues with the Baltimore Orioles from 2002 to 2004. A former 22nd-round draft choice of the Cardinals in 1994, Leon played in the St. Louis system until 2000 before joining the Orioles organization. Following his time in Baltimore, Leon played in the Pirates and Reds minor league systems, then traveled the world playing in the Mexican League, the Atlantic League and the Chinese Professional Baseball League.

Martin will begin his second season as a professional pitching coach in 2019. The former right-handed hurler began his minor league coaching career with the Triple-A Memphis Redbirds in 2017, winning a Pacific Coast League championship in the process. Martin logged a 56-31 career record with a 3.46 ERA over 12 professional seasons on the mound, primarily with the Toronto Blue Jays and San Francisco Giants organizations.

The Tampa, Fla. resident is also familiar with the New York-Penn Leage, having gone 1-1 with a 3.05 ERA over 22 appearances for the Auburn Doubledays in 2005. Martin and his wife Emmie also celebrated the birth of their first son, Maddux, in August of 2018.

Gabella has spent the past three seasons as a coach in the Cardinals organization, including a season as the hitting coach for the Rookie-level Johnson City Cardinals in 2018. Prior to his time in Johnson City, Gabella spent two seasons as a coach for the Gulf Coast League Cardinals, where he led the 2017 edition to a club record 29 home runs in 67 games. A 2011 draft choice of the San Diego Padres, Gabella played two seasons in the Padres organization before entering the coaching ranks for the independent Watertown (N.Y.) Bucks. He is a resident of Orlando, Fla.

Olsiewicz and Trapp both enter the second season of their professional baseball careers. A native of Gobles, Mich., Olsiewicz received his bachelor’s degree in Athletic Training from Central Michigan University, where he also played on the club baseball team for three years.

A native of Mars, Pa., Trapp once again returns to the Keystone State after previously working with Eastern Michigan University athletic teams through an National Strength and Conditioning Association Assistantship Award. Don also served as a Volunteer Assistant Strength & Conditioning Coach at Shippensburg University after receiving his bachelor’s degree in Sports & Exercise Science at Gannon University in Erie, Pa. in 2013. He earned his master’s degree in the same field through California University of Pennsylvania’s online program and also played two years of varsity baseball while at Gannon.