McPherson to head 2019 Lugnuts staff
Former Major Leaguer Dallas McPherson will become the 15th manager in Lansing Lugnuts franchise history, the Lugnuts announced Thursday in conjunction with the Toronto Blue Jays.
McPherson’s 2019 staff is filled out by two newcomers, hitting coach Logan Bone and athletic trainer Hiroki Yoshimoto, and returning pitching coach Antonio Caceres, position coach Dave Pano, dietitian Allison Tropf and strength and conditioning coach Aaron Spano.
The Lugnuts’ 24th season opens on Saturday, April 6th, vs. the Fort Wayne TinCaps, with an Opening Day Block Party leading into a 6:05 p.m. first pitch.
Meet the Lugnuts’ Staff
Manager Dallas McPherson joins the Lugnuts after skippering the Vancouver Canadians to a 40-36 record last season, his first year in the Blue Jays’ organization. A native of Greensboro, N.C., McPherson was drafted out of The Citadel by the Anaheim Angels in the 2nd round in 2001. Three years later, the Sporting News named McPherson its Minor League Player of the Year. His Major League career spanned five seasons and 139 games with the Angels, Marlins and White Sox, posting a .241 career average with 18 home runs.
Pitching coach Antonio Caceres ("CAH-ser-us") returns for a second consecutive season and a fourth overall with the Lugnuts. A native of Cotuí, Dominican Republic, Caceres was originally signed by Toronto as a 17-year-old pitcher from the Dominican Republic. He spent four seasons in the Minor Leagues, topping out in 1998 with Medicine Hat, and is now in his 20th season as a coach in the Jays’ organization, including two tours – 2009-2010, and now 2018-2019 – in Lansing.
Hitting coach Logan Bone enters his first year in the Blue Jays’ organization. Originally from Festus, Mo., Bone was a catcher on the Jefferson College and the University of Missouri baseball teams. He comes to Lansing from Lindenwood University, where he had served since 2016 as Head Assistant Baseball Coach and Facilities Manager supervisor, working as the recruiting coordinator and instructing the hitters and catchers.
Position coach Dave Pano enters his second year in Lansing. A native of Worcester, Mass., Pano attended Eckerd College before moving on to scout for the New York Yankees and Pittsburgh Pirates. St. Petersburg College hired Pano to serve as head baseball coach from 1998-2010, which he balanced while coaching the Auburn Doubledays, Pulaski Blue Jays and Gulf Coast Blue Jays from 2002-2010. Pano won four Northwest League Championships (2011-2013, 2017) with the Vancouver Canadians.
Athletic trainer Hiroki Yoshimoto moves up to the Midwest League from after two seasons with the Dominican Summer League Blue Jays. Yoshimoto earned his bachelor’s degree in both Athletic Training and Exercise Science from Wichita State University. He interned with the Cleveland Indians at their Goodyear, Ariz., complex in 2012, and then worked as an Assistant Athletic Trainer at Arkansas State University from 2013-2017.
Dietitian Allison Tropf, the most local member of the staff, rejoins the Lugnuts for a second season. Tropf is a graduate of Grand Ledge High School and Michigan State University, where she completed her Bachelor’s of Science in Dietetics and was also a member of the gymnastics and swimming and diving teams. She then earned her Master’s degree in Exercise Physiology at Eastern Michigan University. Tropf is the owner of ALT Performance Nutrition in Lansing, working with teams and individual athletes in Mid Michigan.
Strength and conditioning coach Aaron Spano enters his second season with the Lugnuts, his third season with Toronto. A native of Charlotte, North Carolina, Spano was a pitcher at UNC Pembroke, where he graduated in 2014 with a B.S. in Exercise Physiology. He earned an M.S. in Kinesiology from UNC Charlotte in 2017, where he served as intern strength coach, working primarily with men's tennis, women's basketball and softball. In his pro debut, Spano served as the 2017 Bluefield Blue Jays’ strength and conditioning coach.