Skip named bench coach; STL finalizes staff

Ward joins Cardinals as assistant hitting coach to serve behind Marmol

November 15th, 2021

The Cardinals have welcomed a familiar face back to the fold.

The team announced the return of Skip Schumaker to the organization as its big league bench coach on Monday, injecting another source of leadership behind newly minted manager Oliver Marmol -- and one who has spent time playing in the big leagues.

The club also finalized its coaching staff for 2022. In a mostly unchanged group behind Marmol, Turner Ward was the lone addition alongside Schumaker, joining the Cardinals as their assistant hitting coach following the departure of Jobel Jiménez, who has reportedly accepted a role in the Angels' organization.

The rest remains unchanged: Mike Maddux (pitching coach), Jeff Albert (hitting coach), Stubby Clapp (first-base coach), Ron "Pop" Warner (third-base coach), Bryan Eversgerd (bullpen coach) and Willie McGee (outfield coordinator) will all return for 2022, as will pitching strategist Dusty Blake, run production coach Patrick Elkins, bullpen catcher/catching instructor Jamie Pogue and bullpen catcher Kleininger Teran.

The headliner of the group, though, is Schumaker, who had been rumored to be in the running for the managerial vacancy opened by the dismissal of Mike Shildt on Oct. 14 and is seen as a future manager by his peers. He was last the associate manager of the Padres, a large part of their return to contention over the past several seasons.

In returning Schumaker, the Cards add an important voice to serve alongside Marmol. Whereas the latter never played in the big leagues, the former won the World Series with St. Louis in 2011 -- when he was a teammate of Adam Wainwright and Yadier Molina -- and was a fan favorite during his tenure in St. Louis. Schumaker, drafted by the Cardinals in 2001, spent eight years in St. Louis before one with the Dodgers and two with the Reds.

"We think he brings a wealth of experience not necessarily 'as a manager,' but he understands the game, understands the Cardinals, and I think he'll be an outstanding partner for Oli," president of baseball John Mozelaik said recently. "I think they both have appreciation for each other’s skills."

It's been a focus of the Cardinals to add some past big league playing experience to a coaching staff that doesn't feature much. They also accomplished that task in tabbing Ward. The 56-year-old was last a hitting coach for the Reds in 2019 after working the same role for the Dodgers and D-backs -- the latter of which he served on a staff over current Cardinal Paul Goldschmidt -- for six total collective seasons as a big league hitting coach. The 12-year Major League veteran saw his most successful playing days come with the Pirates before making the jump to coaching, getting his start in the D-backs' Minor League system.

Now, with a coaching staff intact, the Cards turn their priorities to a roster they'll look to lead.