The Colorado Rockies have named Frank Gonzales the field manager of rookie level Grand Junction ahead of the 2016 season, according to Tyler Maun of MiLB.com and the Purple Dinosaur Podcast. Gonzales, entering his fourth season as a coach in the organization, is a Colorado native and the father of current St. Louis Cardinals pitcher Marco Gonzales.
Last summer, the elder Gonzales was the field manager for Short-Season Boise Hawks, and prior to that spent time as the pitching coach for the Hawks' predecessor, the Tri-City Dust Devils. Now, after three years in the Northwest League, he'll get his first experience in the Pioneer League with Grand Junction.
Gonzales replaces Anthony Sanders as Grand Junction's field manager, a position Sanders had held for the past three seasons. This winter, Sanders spent time as a member of the coaching staff for Team USA at the Premier 12 Tournament, held in Taiwan and Japan. Sanders will be reassigned elsewhere within the organization in 2016, according to Grand Junction's Daily Sentinel.
It is also unclear who will make up Gonzales' coaching staff for the 2016 season. Grand Junction will open their schedule on June 17 when they host the Orem Owlz at Suplizio Field.
In addition to announcing Gonzales' hire, Grand Junction also announced Joe Kubly as the new team president. Prior to Grand Junction, Kubly worked for the NBA's Atlanta Hawks in addition to multiple stops around Minor League Baseball with the Oklahoma City Redhawks (now Dodgers). He was last with the Low-A Midwest League's Quad City River Bandits, a Houston Astros' affiliate.
The third and final personnel move the rookie Rockies made was announcing the promotion of Grand Junction native Mick Ritter to assistant general manager. Ritter was the manager of the team's food and beverage departments for the last year and a half, and will retain all previous responsibilities in addition to his new position.
★ ★ ★
In addition to the moves in Grand Junction, several people with ties to the Rockies' organization caught on elsewhere around baseball on Tuesday.
Former Rockies catcher J.D. Closser has been named the bullpen coach for the Double-A Trenton Thunder, the Eastern League affiliate of the New York Yankees, according to MiLB.com. With the Rockies between 2004 and 2006, the once-promising catching prospect slashed .239/.320/.367 over 508 plate appearances in 160 games.
Greg Colbrunn, who played 62 games for the Rockies in 1998 and in many more against the club over his 13-year Major League career, has accepted the job as hitting coach of the Low-A Charleston RiverDogs, also an affiliate of the Yankees, according to PinstripedProspects.com. With Colorado in '98, Colbrunn slashed .311/.359/.459 in 122 at-bats before he was traded on July 30 of that year to the Atlanta Braves for David Cortes and Mike Porzio.
Finally, Lee VanHorn, who had been the Triple-A Albuquerque Isotopes' baseball information manager and public relations lead in 2015, accepted a job as coordinator of baseball operations for Mississippi State University, according to the Clarion Ledger.