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Tuesday, October 30, 2012
Cubs name Johnson pitching coordinator

By Doug Padilla

The Chicago Cubs moved closer to finalizing all of their vacancies in player development as Derek Johnson was officially named the organization’s minor-league pitching coordinator.

Johnson, who served as the pitching coach at Vanderbilt University the past 11 seasons, replaces Dennis Lewallyn, who is headed to a new organization in a move that has yet to be announced.

James Rowson started last season as the hitting coordinator, but was moved to interim hitting coach with the Cubs in June when Rudy Jaramillo was fired. Tom Beyers assumed Rowson’s spot, but he will serve as a hitting coach with a minor league affiliate in 2013. Rowson had his interim tag removed last week and is now the Cubs’ full-time major league hitting coach.

Roles in player development that still need to be filled include minor league hitting coordinator, Latin America field coordinator, a minor league coach and up to two spots on the athletic trainer staff.

In addition to pitching coach duties, Johnson, 41, also served as Vanderbilt’s associate head coach for the past three seasons.

In 2011, Vanderbilt made it to the school’s first-ever appearance at the College World Series, with eight Commodores pitchers selected in the major league draft from that squad.

The most notable pitcher developed at Vanderbilt by Johnson was David Price, the first overall selection by the Tampa Bay Rays in the 2007 draft.

Johnson attended Eastern Illinois, where he was a player and eventual coach. He also coached at Southern Illinois and Stetson University before moving to Vanderbilt in 2002.