CLINTON — The Clinton LumberKings, in conjunction with the Seattle Mariners, are excited to announce the 2018 coaching staff. Denny Hocking will serve as the team’s 50th manager since Clinton joined the Midwest League. Doug Mathis will return as the team’s pitching coach and Jose Umbria will serve as the LumberKings hitting coach.
Denny Hocking enters his first season as manager of the Clinton LumberKings and his second season in the Seattle Mariners organization. Hocking served as a Hitting Coach for the Arizona League Mariners during his first year in the Mariners system in 2017.
Hocking enjoyed a 13-year playing career at the Major League level, primarily serving as a utility player with the Minnesota Twins. The Terrance California native spent parts of 11 seasons with the Twins before splitting his final two seasons of his playing career with the Colorado Rockies and Kansas City Royals. He spent one season in the Midwest League with the now defunct Kenosha Twins in 1991 before making his Major League debut in 1993.
Hocking returned to uniform in 2010 to begin his coaching career, becoming the Baltimore Orioles Single-A affiliate, Frederick Keys, hitting coach. The following season he was promoted to the Orioles Double-A affiliate, Bowie Baysox, where he spent the 2011 and 2012 seasons.
In December 2013, he left the Orioles organization to join the Los Angeles Angels system to become their Arizona League (AZL) team’s manager. The AZL Angles went 30-26 during his inaugural managerial season, making the playoffs but losing in the first round.
For the next two seasons, Hocking served as the manager of the Inland Empire 66ers, taking the team to the playoffs in his first season. Despite a 62-78 record, Hocking’s team reached the second round of the California League playoffs before being eliminated. In 2015, Hocking returned to Inland Empire posting a 61-79 mark and failing to make the playoffs.
Doug Mathis enters his second season with the Clinton LumberKings and second as a coach in the Seattle Mariners organization. A well-traveled player, Mathis pitched in the United States, South Korea, Japan, Dominican Republic, and Venezuela. Mathis’ professional career began in 2005 following his selection by the Texas Rangers in the 13th round of the 2005 MLB Draft out of the University of Missouri Columbia. Mathis rose quickly through the Rangers system, making his big-league debut with Texas on May 12, 2008 against the Seattle Mariners in the 10th inning and was the winning pitcher in the Rangers’ 13-12 victory. Mathis continued to bounce back and forth between the Majors and Minor Leagues from 2008 through 2010. After splitting a season at the Triple-A level with the San Francisco Giants and Oakland Athletics, Mathis made his first foray into international baseball with the Samsung Lions of the Korean Baseball Organization. 2012 was spent in the states pitching in Pawtucket for the Triple-A affiliate of the Boston Red Sox. In 2013, Mathis returned to international baseball this time, pitching in Japan with the Chiba Lotte Mariners of the Japan Pacific League. Mathis’ pitching career ended in 2014 with the Tigres de Aragua of the Venezuelan Winter League.
Jose Umbria enters his eighth season in the Mariners organization, and his first with the Clinton LumberKings. He began his tenure with the Mariners as a Venezuelan Summer League (VZL) coach spending three seasons in the VZL. The following season, Umbira made his first of two stints with the AZL Mariners, serving as an auxiliary coach for the 2014 team. From 2015 through 2016, Umbria served as the manager of the Dominican Summer League (DSL) Mariners where he led the team to a 2016 Southern Division title. He spent the 2017 season back with the AZL Mariners as a coach. Umbria’s playing career began in 1995 when the Toronto Blue Jays signed him as an undrafted free agent out of Barquismeto, Venezuela. He then spent the next 10 seasons playing in the Blue Jays farm system, reaching as high as Triple-A, and winning an Eastern League Championship in 2004 while playing in Double-A.