North Carolina

Jirschele named field manager for 2023 season, full coaching staff announced

Charlotte Knights press release

(UPTOWN CHARLOTTE, NC) – Justin Jirschele, who played parts of two seasons (2014-15) for the Charlotte Knights, has been named the team’s new manager for the upcoming 2023 season. Jirschele, 32, will be introduced to the media during an introductory press conference Wednesday, February 1 at 2:30 p.m. at Truist Field.

With today’s announcement, Jirschele becomes the 24th manager in franchise history and the third former Knights player, alongside Joel Skinner and Nick Capra, to lead the team. Skinner, the most successful manager of all time in franchise history, played for the Knights in 1994 and managed the club for four seasons from 2012 to 2015. Capra played for the Knights in 1995 and managed the team for three seasons from 2002 to 2004.

Joining Jirschele in Charlotte for the 2023 season is returning Matt Zaleski (Knights Pitching Coach & White Sox Assistant Pitching Coordinator) along with newcomers Cam Seitzer (batting coach), Hyeon Kim (trainer) and George Timke (performance coach). Both Zaleski and Jirschele were teammates as players with the Knights during the club’s first season at Truist Field in Uptown Charlotte in 2014. The two also served together as manager (Jirschele) and hitting coach (Zaleski) with Single-A Kannapolis in the in 2017 and High -A Winston-Salem in 2019. In addition, former Knights hurler Donnie Veal will also serve as an assistant pitching coordinator in the White Sox system.

A native of Clintonville, WI, Jirschele is entering his seventh season with the Chicago White Sox organization, initially as the manager of the Knights. He made his Double-A debut as manager with the Birmingham Barons in 2021 and led the club to a 62-56 record, just half a game away from a post-season berth. In two seasons with the Barons, Jirschele notched up 123 wins. Before joining Birmingham, Jirschele managed Winston-Salem (2019) and Kannapolis (2017-18). He led Kannapolis to playoff appearances in each of his two seasons as manager. He made his coaching debut as a batting coach at Kannapolis in 2016.

As a player, Jirschele appeared in 184 minor league games in the White Sox system from 2012–15, hitting .277 (172 to 622). As an infielder, he appeared in 16 games with the Knights in splits over two seasons (14 in 2014 and two in 2015). Jirschele, a product of the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point, is a two-time Midwest Region Gold Glove winner and a two-time First-Team All-WIAC selection. His father, Mike, is currently the manager of the Triple-A Omaha Storm Chasers. The 2023 season will be Mike’s 32nd in the Kansas City Royals organization. He served as Kansas City’s third base coach during the season in which the team won the 2015 World Series Championship.

Zaleski, 41, will return to the Knights in 2023 as the team’s pitching coach. The upcoming campaign will be Zaleski’s eighth as a coach in Chicago’s organization and fourth overall with the Knights. He began his coaching career in 2016 as Great Falls’ pitching coach (rookie). He later spent 2017 as a pitching coach at Kannapolis and the 2018-19 seasons as a pitching coach at Winston-Salem. Prior to his time as a pitching coach, the Arlington Heights, IL native played a total of 316 games as a minor league pitcher (2004-14). From 2009 to 2014, he spent six of his 11 minor league seasons as a pitcher with the Knights. He is the all-time leader in Knights franchise history in games started (74) and also ranks second in franchise history in innings pitched (437.2).

Seitzer, a native of Overland Park, KS, is entering his fifth season with the White Sox and making his debut with Charlotte in 2023. The 33-year-old spent the 2022 season at Kannapolis as the team’s hitting coach. He previously spent a season as a hitting coach at Double-A Birmingham (2021) and an equivalent season at Great Falls (2019). As a player, he was drafted by the Tampa Bay Rays in the 11th round of the 2011 MLB June Amateur Draft. The University of Oklahoma product played eight seasons in the Minors from 2011 to 2018, earning a combined .270 (636 to 2359). He spent his last two seasons with the White Sox organization (2017-18). His father Kevin played 12 major league seasons along with Kansas City, Milwaukee, Cleveland and Oakland.

Veal, 38, is entering his third season in the Chicago system, initially as the White Sox’s assistant pitching coordinator. A Jackson, MS native, he spent the 2022 season as the White Sox’s rehab pitching coach. Before returning to the organization for the 2021 season, Veal spent two seasons as a professional scout with the New York Yankees (2019-20). As a player, Veal was originally selected by the Chicago Cubs in the second round of the 2005 MLB June Amateur Draft. He was signed by the White Sox as a free agent on November 10, 2011 and spent portions of three seasons with the Knights from 2012-15.

Kim, 37, is entering his sixth season with the White Sox system and first with the Knights. He spent the 2021 and 2022 seasons in the same capacity at Double-A Birmingham. Prior to that, he spent a season with Winston-Salem (2019) and a season with advanced rookie Great Falls (2018). Born in Tokyo, Japan, Kim is a product of Troy University (BS in Athletic Training). He also earned an M.Ed. in Exercise Science from Auburn University-Montgomery.

Timke, a native of Suffern, NY, is entering his 11th season in the Chicago system, first in Charlotte. Before joining the Knights, the California University of Pennsylvania product spent the last two seasons as a performance coach with the Birmingham Barons (2021 and 2022). Prior to that, Timke spent five years in the same role on High-A Winston-Salem (2016-20) and two years on Kannapolis (2014-15). He made his organizational debut in 2013 with Great Falls (advanced rookie). Prior to joining the Chicago organization, Timke spent four seasons with the Kansas City organization as a strength and conditioning coach (2009-12).

2023 Charlotte Knight’s field staff:

Managing Director: Justin Jirschele

Pitching Coach/Assistant Pitching Coordinator: Matt Zaleski

Stroke Coach: Cam Seitzer

Trainer: Hyeon Kim

Performance Coach: George Timke

Opening Knight at Truist Field is scheduled for Friday, March 31 at 7:04 p.m

Copyright 2023 WBTV. All rights reserved.

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