Grudzielanek Coming Back in 2018…

Mark Grudzielanek returns for a second consecutive season in 2018. (Photo credit: Laura Wolff)

On Tuesday, January 16th, the Charlotte Knights announced that 2017 manager, Mark Grudzielanek, would be back in the dugout for the 2018 season. Along with Grudzielanek, the team’s entire coaching staff (minus trainer Scott Johnson), would also be returning.

Here’s more from my official press release:

Mark Grudzielanek, who made his Triple-A managerial debut last season with the Charlotte Knights, will return to Uptown Charlotte to manage the club for a second consecutive season in 2018. Grudzielanek, a 15-year major league veteran, will be joined by returnees Steve McCatty (pitching coach), Andy Tomberlin (hitting coach), Garey Ingram (assistant coach), and Shawn Powell (strength and conditioning coach). Newcomer James Kruk (head athletic trainer) will join the Knights and replace long-time head athletic trainer Scott Johnson, who is headed to Chicago’s Arizona Rookie League club for his 30th season in the organization.”

Mark Grudzielanek will enter his third season as a Minor League Baseball manager in 2018. (Photo: Laura Wolff)

Grudzielanek’s squad posted a 61–81 mark in 2017. Still, the Knights welcomed a number of the organization’s top prospects, including Yoan Moncada — the top prospect in all of Major League Baseball last season. The team’s Opening Day roster featured five of the organization’s top seven prospects. Additionally, the team had a total of 185 total roster transactions, and 22 players were promoted to the Chicago White Sox.

Grudzielanek returns to the Knights with a year of Triple-A managerial experience now under his belt. Of course, he also brings a vast knowledge of the game, in which he shined for 15 seasons as a major league infielder.

In 1994, he was the Eastern League’s Most Valuable Player.

Originally drafted by the Montreal Expos in the 11th round of the 1991 draft, Grudzielanek played for six teams, including the Expos (1995–98), Los Angeles Dodgers (1998–2002), Chicago Cubs (2003–2004), St. Louis Cardinals (2005), Kansas City Royals (2006–2008), and Cleveland Indians (2010).

In 1,802 major league games, he compiled a .289 batting average with 2,040 hits, 391 doubles, 90 home runs, 640 RBIs, and 133 stolen bases. He was a National League All-Star in 1996 and a Rawlings Gold Glove award-winner at second base with the Royals in 2006.

Among some of his other accomplishments, he hit-for-the-cycle on April 27, 2005 while playing with the Cardinals, and he holds the MLB record for the longest streak of home games played with a hit, 35 (1999 with the Dodgers).

Grudzielanek talked about his 2017 season, his eagerness to get back to Charlotte for 2018, and more with Jim Morrison and Lee Kuveikis on Drive Time on WGNC Radio on Tuesday.

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