According to a team release this morning, the Blue Jays have officially hired their first assistant hitting coach in franchise history. Eric Owens, who had been the Dodgers' minor league hitting coordinator since 2011, will be working with the newly-hired Brook Jacoby in trying to convince major league hitters on how they can improve their game at the plate.
Dane Johnson was also officially named bullpen coach, about a month after Shi Davidi's initial report about the hiring.
Down on the farm, Sal Fasano slides from catching instructor to pitching coordinator to replace the promoted Johnson. No replacement for the catching instructor position was named.
Rick Langford, last year's rehab pitching coach, is now a senior pitching advisor, while the 73-year-old Darold Knowles, who had been Dunedin's pitching coach, was named as Langford's successor.
Hot Stove Luncheons
The Buffalo Bisons have announced that they will be holding their annual Hot Stove Luncheon on Thursday, January 15 at noon in downtown Buffalo's Adam's Mark Hotel. Guests will include Alex Anthopoulos, long reliever Chad Jenkins, and infielder / relief pitcher Steve Tolleson. Tickets are $25 and includes a buffet meal--which was decent enough in past years--so it's a pretty good deal for a pretty cool event.
If you're on the other side of the continent, the Vancouver Canadians will be holding their Hot Stove Luncheon on Friday, January 23 at the Fairmont Hotel. They have a slightly more high-profile guest list with players Russell Martin, Drew Hutchison, Marcus Stroman, Aaron Sanchez making appearances in addition to Roberto Alomar, Paul Beeston, and Alex Anthopoulos. Wowza.
Nick Ashbourne wrote about four "buy-low" right-handed relief candidates over at Sportsnet.ca. J.J. Hoover is the most intriguing name on that list for me, as he should still have one option year remaining (he was optioned for less than 20 days in 2014). Fun fact: he was once traded for Juan Francisco!