Wrapping up his first year of checking in on Charlotte for us, Jonathan Lee talked with Knights manager Mark Grudzielanek about his first year at the helm of a Triple-A club.
Q: Your thoughts on the season as a whole?
A: We came into the season thinking we had a lot of talent, which we did. We had a lot of arms but they left us quite quickly early on in the season. That's what (the minors) is all about, guys going up, guys getting experience. We had 20 guys called up to The Show (update: 22 after Chris Volstad and Al Alburquerque). That's cool, and that's what it's all about. You're going to have some disruption down here, you're going to have guys come in from other teams, trades, signings, etc. I thought we kept it together pretty well in the clubhouse, I thought the guys understood what we were doing each and every day out here. They competed, it was a lot of fun, it was a great experience for me.
Q: What did you learn as a manager on this level?
A: It's a tough level to manage because of all the changes there are throughout the year. When you get a spot start here or there, you have to set up pretty quickly for that. So that was a surprise, but just like every manager around the league the most important thing you need to do is control your bullpen and handle it correctly. I think (pitching coach Steve McCatty) and I did a good with the personnel we had.
Q: You spoke about McCatty, can you speak on the rest of your coaching staff?
A: Andy Tomberlin was our hitting coach and did a great job with the guys. I think that's one of the harder jobs because so much of your time is involved. You're in the cages for hours and hours and he's talking to all our hitters and everyone's a little different, so he did a wonderful job. Garry Ingram did everything we needed. He was that fourth coach, hitting ground balls, working with infielders and outfielders. He was well used here.
Q: Your thoughts how the Knights fans support the team so well?
A: How do you not enjoy playing here in Charlotte? The city is awesome, the fans come out and support the team, the way the team is run, they do a great job on the baseball side. I thought the community service went real well this season as well. I'm sure the guys enjoyed it as well. This is a wonderful place to play.
- Craig Dedelow went 0-for-4.
- So did Justin Yurchak.
- Chris Comito: 5.1 IP, 8 H, 4 R, 4 ER, 1 BB, 2 K, 1 HR, 1 HBP