FRESNO — The Fresno Grizzlies and Washington Nationals, entering the first season of a Triple-A affiliation, have announced the Fresno field staff for 2019. Former Major League catcher Randy Knorr becomes the inaugural Grizzlies manager in the Washington era, and is the 11th manager in franchise history. It will be the third season Knorr has managed the Nationals’ Triple-A club, having skippered Syracuse of the International League in 2011 and 2018. Knorr, 50, has minor league managerial and coaching experience in the Washington organization dating to the 2005 season, and served as Senior Advisor for player development to Nationals General Manager Mike Rizzo in 2016 and 2017.
Joined by hitting coach Brian Daubach, pitching coach Brad Holman, athletic trainer Eric Montague and strength and conditioning coach Mike Warren, Knorr will lead a coaching staff unchanged from Washington’s most-recent Triple-A club in Syracuse last season.
Randy Knorr, Manager: A veteran of 11 MLB seasons as a player, Randy Knorr turned pro after being selected in the 10th round of the 1986 First Year Player Draft out of high school in Baldwin Park, California, by the Toronto Blue Jays. After making his Major League debut in 1991 for Toronto, Knorr caught 47 games for a pair of World Series-winning clubs between 1992 and 1993, remaining with the Toronto organization through the 1995 season. He would also appear in the Majors for the Houston Astros (1996-1997, 1999), Florida Marlins (1998), Texas Rangers (2000) and Montreal Expos (2001), prior to his retirement as a player following the 2004 season. Knorr played his final three seasons in Triple-A with Montreal for Ottawa of the International League (2002) and Edmonton (2003-2004) of the Pacific Coast League, before remaining with the organization as a minor league manager as MLB operations shifted from Montreal to Washington, D.C. Knorr appeared in 1,423 games as a 19-year-professional, including 253 games in the big leagues.
Guiding Class A Savannah of the South Atlantic League in 2005, Knorr was just 36 during his first season as a manager, before a promotion to A-Advanced Potomac. In 2008, Knorr led the Potomac Nationals to the Carolina League Championship, the franchise’s first domestic minor league ring after relocating to Washington, D.C. In 2009 he served as Washington’s Major League bullpen coach, before taking the reins of the Double-A Harrisburg Senators of the Eastern League in 2010, a pivotal club in developing the Nationals’ Major League squads that would win four of six National League East division titles between 2012 and 2017. Pitchers Stephen Strasburg, Tanner Roark and Drew Storen were all under Knorr’s tutelage at Harrisburg in 2010, as was infielder Danny Espinosa. Knorr also managed franchise staples Ian Desmond and Ryan Zimmerman at the lower levels.
Before moving into a front office role as Senior Advisor for player development in 2016 and 2017, Knorr was the Nationals’ Major League bench coach for four seasons (2012-2015), and was also manager at Triple-A Syracuse in 2011, before re-assuming that post in 2018 during the final year of the clubs’ affiliation. 2019 in Fresno will be Knorr’s first experience in the PCL since playing for Edmonton (current Round Rock Express franchise) in 2004.
Brian Daubach, Hitting Coach: Entering his ninth season as a coach with the Washington Nationals organization, former Major League first baseman Brian Daubach, 46, will instruct the organization’s Triple-A hitters for a fourth-consecutive season. Daubach played in 661 MLB games over eight seasons for the Florida Marlins (1998), Boston Red Sox (1999-2002, 2004), Chicago White Sox (2003) and New York Mets (2005), and suited up for 1,235 additional minor league games during a 17-year playing career (1990-2006). Daubach was selected in the 17th round of the 1990 First Year Player Draft out of high school in Belleville, Illinois, and makes for a total of three World Series rings on the 2019 Fresno Grizzlies coaching staff. Daubach was a member of the 2004 Red Sox, while manager Randy Knorr secured hardware with the 1992 and 1993 Toronto Blue Jays.
Daubach joined the Nationals as a minor league manager at just 39, leading Class A Hagerstown of the South Atlantic League, A-Advanced Potomac of the Carolina League and Double-A Harrisburg of the Eastern League between 2011 and 2015, guiding three of his five clubs to a first place finish. As Triple-A Syracuse (International League) hitting coach the last three seasons (2016-2018), Daubach has guided top prospects such as Trea Turner, Spencer Kieboom and Andrew Stevenson to the big leagues. His only other PCL experience came during his final season as a player, in 67 games with the Memphis Redbirds (St. Louis Cardinals) in 2006.
Brad Holman, Pitching Coach: A veteran of seven professional seasons as a player, Brad Holman, 50, enters his second season as Washington’s Triple-A pitching coach, after serving as the Texas Rangers’ Major League bullpen coach in 2016 and 2017 and at Triple-A Syracuse (International League) in 2018. After turning pro in 1990, selected in the 35th round of the First Year Player Draft by the Kansas City Royals, Holman made his Major League debut in 1993 for the Seattle Mariners with 19 relief appearances. Holman also pitched in the PCL for Seattle affiliates in Calgary (1993-1994, current Albuquerque Isotopes franchise) and Tacoma (1995).
Beginning his coaching career with the Mariners, Holman was a pitching coach in that organization for six seasons at Class A Wisconsin of the Midwest League (2002-2005), and at Double-A San Antonio (Texas League) and West Tennessee (Southern League) in 2006 and 2007, respectively. Holman then joined the Rangers as a pitching coach, at Class A Hickory of the South Atlantic League for two seasons (2009-2010), two more with A-Advanced Myrtle Beach of the Carolina League (2011-2012), before three campaigns as Triple-A pitching coach with the Round Rock Express in the PCL (2013-2015), prior to joining the big league coaching staff in Texas.
Eric Montague, Athletic Trainer: Eric Montague enters his second season as head athletic trainer for the Triple-A Nationals, first assuming that post for the 2018 Syracuse club (International League). Montague is in his 21st season in professional baseball, and his seventh with the Washington Nationals, spending the previous four seasons (2014-2017) as head trainer at Double-A Harrisburg (Eastern League). Prior to first joining Washington for the 2013 season at A-Advanced Potomac (Carolina League), Montague spent 10 seasons as a minor league athletic trainer with the Houston Astros, including two seasons with Double-A Corpus Christi (Texas League) in 2011 and 2012. He first worked in baseball for the New York Mets from 1998 through 2001. A graduate of Mississippi State University, Montague served as a student trainer for the MSU athletic department while earning a B.S. in fitness.