Aces add coaches for 2017 season
The Reno Aces, in conjunction with the Arizona Diamondbacks, have announced the returns of hitting coach Greg Gross and athletic trainer Masa Abe, along with the additions of third base coach Mike Lansing and strength coach Steven Candelaria to the 2017 staff.
Reno’s pitching coach will be released at a later date.
Jerry Narron was announced as the third manager in franchise history on Dec. 30. He was formally introduced to the media at a press conference yesterday at Greater Nevada Field.
“The Diamondbacks continue to demonstrate their commitment to winning in Reno with the quality of our coaching staff,” said Eric Edelstein, president of the Aces and Reno 1868 FC. “Reno has proven to be a breeding ground for great coaches as well as players and we’re fortunate to have this group join Jerry (Narron) in 2017.”
Gross, 64, returns for his fifth season as the Aces’ hitting coach after spending 2010-12 as the hitting coach of the Philadelphia Phillies. Under Gross, the Aces have consistently been among the Pacific Coast League’s best in numerous offensive categories. In 2014, the Aces were among offensive team leaders in: hits (1st, 1,480), average (2nd, .293), doubles (2nd, 296), triples (2nd, 51), OBP (2nd, .359), runs (2nd, 790), total bases (3rd, 2,259) and OPS (3rd, .806). Gross brought more of the same in 2015, as the Aces finished among offensive league leaders in: average (1st, .286), doubles (1st, 339), slugging percentage (1st, .453), OPS (1st, .801), total bases (1st, 2,250), hits (2nd, 1,421), RBI (2nd, 722), runs (T-3rd, 758) and OBP (T-3rd, .347).
Last season, the Aces finished second in the Pacific Coast League in triples (53) and third in average (.280), runs (726), hits (1,393), doubles (287), RBI (686), total bases (2,206), slugging percentage (.444) and OPS (.782).
Gross served as bench coach for the Phillies in 2001 and was their hitting coach from 2002-04. He was drafted by the Houston Astros in the fourth round of the 1970 amateur draft. Gross spent 17 seasons in Major League Baseball, playing with the Astros, Cubs and Phillies. He hit .314 in his rookie campaign with the Astros, garnering The Sporting News Rookie of the Year honors while finishing second in the BBWAA NL Rookie of the Year race. He was a member of the 1980 World Series Champion Philadelphia Phillies.
Lansing, 48, begins his first season with the Aces as the third base coach and second in the D-backs system after serving in the same role for Double-A Mobile in 2016. Prior to joining the Diamondbacks in a coaching capacity, he served as Columbine (Colo.) High School’s hitting and infield coach. Lansing played in the Majors for nine seasons, including stints with the Montreal Expos (1993-97), Colorado Rockies (1998-2000) and Boston Red Sox (2000-01). In 1,110 career games, he hit .271 with 254 doubles, 84 home runs and 440 RBI.
Abe, 38, returns for his second season as athletic trainer with Reno. He is in his seventh season with the Diamondbacks medical staff, beginning his professional career in 2011 with the Rookie-level AZL D-backs. He then moved up to Rookie-level Missoula in 2012 before catapulting to Single-A Advanced Visalia in 2013. Abe’s ascension up the D-backs’ minor league ladder continued when he jumped to Mobile for the 2014-15 campaigns. Abe earned a bachelor’s degree in athletic training from the University of Northern Colorado in 2007, and received his master’s degree in biomechanics from Louisiana State University
Candelaria, 27, begins his first season with the Aces as the strength and conditioning coach and fourth in the Diamondbacks organization. He spent the 2016 season at Visalia in the same capacity and has also worked as the strength coach for Missoula (2015) and the AZL D-backs (2014). He played baseball for two seasons and earned his bachelor’s degree in exercise science from Corban University in 2012 after playing two seasons at Shasta Junior College. During the offseason, the Phoenix native works as a performance coach under the tutelage of Keith Wilson at Pro Advantage Training Systems in Tempe, Ariz.
The Aces open their 2017 season on April 6 at 7:05 p.m. against the Fresno Grizzlies at Chukchansi Park. The home opener is set for April 11 at 6:35 p.m. against the Albuquerque Isotopes at Greater Nevada Field. Season memberships are on-sale now at http://www.renoaces.com or by calling 775-334-4700. For up-to-date news and notes throughout the offseason, follow the club on Twitter (@aces) or like the team on Facebook.