Chris Cron will remain at the helm as the skipper of the Reno Aces for the 2020 season.
The Arizona Diamondbacks, Reno’s Triple-A parent club, announced coaching roles for the Aces staff on Wednesday. Cron returns for his second season with the Aces and 21st season as a manager in professional baseball.
“I’m absolutely thrilled to be coming back to Reno. It’s a first-class organization and the fan support is off the charts,” Cron said in a press statement. “I really enjoy what I’m doing for a living. Just being around a group of people that is the entire Aces organization, the front office, D-backs on-field personnel, the fans, the Reno community – I just can’t wait to get it going again. Plus winning a lot of games.”
Cron, 55, enters his 36th season in professional baseball and seventh season in the D-backs’ organization. Last year, Cron managed the Aces to a 66-74 record and a second-place finish in the Pacific Northern Division. With Cron in charge in 2019, eight Aces passed through Reno and made their Major League debuts: Taylor Clarke, Kevin Cron, Kevin Ginkel, Jon Duplantier, Domingo Leyba, Joel Payamps, Josh Rojas and Alex Young.
“Chris is a fantastic leader and a pleasure to work with,” Aces General Manager Emily Jaenson said. “He represented both the Aces and the D-backs with excellence in the Northern Nevada community last season and we are thrilled to have him return. We know with Chris leading the charge, we will have a team that will have fans excited to watch the Reno Aces every time we take the field.”
Cron will be joined by a familiar staff in the Biggest Little City. Bench coach Greg Gross returns for his eighth season with Reno. Jason Camilli returns as the team’s hitting coach for the third year. Jeff Bajenaru is back for his second season as Reno’s pitching coach.
Gross was the hitting coach of the Philadelphia Phillies from 2010-2012. He managed the Aces in 2017 and 2018, compiling 152-130 record while earning a Pacific Northern Division title in the process.
Gross is fifth in MLB career pinch hits. He struck out just 250 times in 3,745 at bats. He played 17 seasons with the Cubs, Phillies and Astros.
Camilli enters his third season as Reno’s hitting coach and ninth in the D-backs’ organization. He began his coaching career as a minor league instructor in the Montreal Expos’ organization in 2004.
Under Camilli’s tutelage last season, the Aces had one of their greatest offensive campaigns. Reno hit a franchise-record 242 home runs in 2019, topping its previous high of 178 set in 2011. The Aces drove in a record 881 RBIs, 12 more than their previous best of 869.
Bajenaru enters his second season with Reno and 10th season coaching in the D-backs’ organization. He was named California League Coach of the Year in 2017 and 2018 with the Double-A Visalia Rawhide. He played three seasons as a reliever with the Chicago White Sox and Diamondbacks, getting a World Series ring with the White Sox in 2005.
The Reno Aces open the 2020 campaign against the Sacramento River Cats on April 9 at Greater Nevada Field. Pitchers and catchers report to spring training between Feb. 11 and Feb. 14.
— Isaiah Burrows