CLINTON – The Seattle Mariners announced that former Pulaski Mariners hitting coach Brent Johnson would assume the same position at Class-A Clinton for the 2014 season.
A handful of minor league coaching changes were made in the past week, caused by the resignation of Seattle third-base coach John Stearns. Triple-A Tacoma manager Rich Donnelly was named as Seattle’s third-base coach and just a few days later, Double-A Jackson’s hitting coach, Roy Howell, was named as Donnelly’s replacement. Clinton’s hitting coach from last season, Mike Kinkade, was then promoted to take Howell’s hitting coach position at Jackson.
With the dust finally settled, Johnson hopes to build on an impressive offensive output at short-season Pulaski. His team led the Appalachian League in batting average (.265), slugging percentage (.412), total hits (606) and runs a game (5.3). They also pounded out league highs in doubles (125) and home runs (53) and were equally as impressive on the base paths, swiping a league-leading 101 bases en route to Pulaski’s first Appalachian League Championship since 1991.
Johnson, 31, played in the Mariners’ farm system for six seasons after being selected in the 14th round of the 2004 draft out of UNLV. The Las Vegas native holds the all-time hits record for the Runnin’ Rebels and hit .359 his senior season.
Johnson rounds out an entirely new Clinton coaching staff. He joins pitching coach Cibney Bello and manager Chris Prieto, the latter whom spent the 2013 season as Pulaski’s manager.
Clinton opens the 2014 season on the road Thursday, April 3, against Cedar Rapids. The home opener is set for Tuesday, April 8, as Clinton hosts the Lake County Captains at Ashford University Field at 6:30 p.m.