Blue Jays finalize staff with Johnson, Owens
TORONTO -- The Blue Jays put the finishing touches on their coaching staff Friday morning by officially coming to terms with Dane Johnson and Eric Owens.
Johnson was named the bullpen coach after spending the past 14 years in Toronto's Minor League system. He spent the past 11 seasons as the Minor League pitching coordinator and has been instrumental in helping to develop some of the club's top prospects and reclamation projects.
The 51-year-old Johnson takes over for Bob Stanley, whose contract was not renewed at the end of the 2014 season. Stanley has since been re-assigned in Toronto's organization. Johnson played professionally for 13 years and spent three of those in the Major Leagues.
Toronto hired Owens to serve as an assistant hitting coach. It's a position that did not previously exist, but adding a second coach is becoming more common throughout the league. The Blue Jays did have a pair of hitting coaches in 2013 with Chad Mottola and Dwayne Murphy, but Murphy served as the first-base coach as well.
Owens will work alongside recently appointed hitting coach Brook Jacoby. Owens spent the past four years as the Minor League hitting coordinator with the Dodgers. He's a veteran of nine Major League seasons with the Reds, Brewers, Padres, Marlins and Angels from 1995-2003.
Toronto also announced on Friday that Sal Fasano will take over as the Minor League pitching coordinator, Darold Knowles has been hired as a rehabilitation pitching coach and Rick Langford will serve as a senior pitching advisor.