December 3, 2008 10:37 AM
Rockies hire new pitching coach at Casper
The Rockies have hired Craig Bjornson to be their pitching coach at Rookie Casper.
For the past three seasons, Bjornson, 38, was the pitching coach at Rookie Ogden, a Los Angeles Dodgers affiliate in the Pioneer League where Casper plays. Bjornson was highly recommended by P.J. Carey, who spent 14 years in the Rockies organization, most managing at the Rookie level, before leaving after 2006 to become the Dodgers field coordinator.
Bjornson, who is bi-lingual, is making what amounts to a lateral move but one with some apparent advantages. He lives in Tucson where the Rockies hold spring training, so he can be home during their extended spring program that precedes the mid-June
start of the short-season Pioneer League.
Also, the Dodgers organization underwent change last season that affected Bjornson. They took the unusual step of firing minor league pitching coordinator Marty Reed, who was Bjornson's boss, in mid-August. Reed was in his ninth season as a pitching coach in the Dodgers organization and his third as their minor league pitching coordinator.
Prior to joining the Dodgers, Bjornson spent six seasons as a pitching coach in the Nationals/Expos system. At Casper, Bjornson replaces Eduardo Villacis, who was fired after two seasons as the pitching coach there.