January 31, 2023 – International League (IL) – Charlotte Knights press release
(UPTOWN CHARLOTTE, NC) — Justin Jirschele, who played for the Charlotte Knights for part of two seasons (2014-15), has been named the team’s new manager for the upcoming 2023 season. Jirschele, 32, will be introduced to media during an introductory press conference at Truist Field on Wednesday, Feb. 1 at 2:30 p.m.
With today’s announcement, Jirschele becomes the 24th head coach in franchise history and the third former Knights player to lead the team joining both Joel Skinner and Nick Capra. Skinner, the all-time winningest head coach 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 will be returnees Matt Zaleski (Knights pitching coach and White Sox assistant pitching coordinator), along with newcomers Cam Seitzer (hitting coach), Hyeon Kim (coach ) and George Timke (performance coach). Both Zaleski and Jirschele were teammates as players for the Knights during the club’s freshman season at Uptown Charlotte’s Truist Field in 2014. The two also worked together as manager (Jirschele) and coach (Zaleski) with Single-A Kannapolis in 2017 and High-Un Winston-Salem in 2019. In addition, former Knights pitcher Donnie Veal will also serve as assistant pitching coordinator in the White Sox system.
A native of Clintonville, WI, Jirschele enters his seventh season in the Chicago White Sox organization and first as manager of the Knights. Lui made his Double-A managerial debut in 2021 with the Birmingham Barons and guided the club to a 62-56 record, losing just half a game before clinching a postseason berth. In two seasons with the Barons, Jirschele had 123 wins. Prior to his spell with Birmingham, Jirschele managed Winston-Salem (2019) and Kannapolis (2017-18). He guided Kannapolis to playoff appearances in each of his two seasons as coach. He made his coaching debut in 2016 as a hit coach at Kannapolis.
As a player, Jirschele appeared in 184 minor league games in the White Sox system from 2012 to 2015, batting .277 (172 for 622). As an infielder, he appeared in 16 games for the Knights in parts of two seasons (14 in 2014 and two in 2015). A product of the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point, Jirschele is a two-time Midwest Region Gold Glove winner and two-time First-Team All-WIAC. 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 team’s championship-winning 2015 World Series season.
Zaleski, 41, returns to the Knights in 2023 as the team’s pitching coach. The upcoming season will mark Zaleski’s eighth as a coach in the Chicago organization and fourth overall with the Knights. He started his coaching career in 2016 as the pitching coach of Great Falls (Rookie). He subsequently spent the 2017 pitching coach at Kannapolis and the 2018-19 seasons as the pitching coach at Winston-Salem. Prior to his time as pitching coach, the Arlington Heights, Illinois native appeared in a total of 316 games as a minor league pitcher (2004-14). He spent six of his 11 minor league seasons as a pitcher with the Knights from 2009 to 2014. 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 organization and first with Charlotte in 2023. The 33-year-old spent the 2022 season with Kannapolis as the team’s coach. Previously, he spent a season as offensive coach at Double-A Birmingham (2021) and a season in that capacity 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 and combined in .270 (636 per 2359). His final two seasons of playing were spent in the White Sox organization (2017-18). His father, Kevin, played 12 major league seasons along with Kansas City, Milwaukee, Cleveland and Oakland.
Veal, 38, enters his third season in the Chicago system and first as an assistant pitching coordinator for the White Sox. The Jackson, MS native 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 part of three seasons with the Knights from 2012 to 2015.
Kim, 37, enters his sixth season in the White Sox system and first with the Knights. He spent the 2021 and 2022 seasons with Double-A Birmingham in the same capacity. Before that, he spent one season with Winston-Salem (2019) and one season with Advanced Rookie Great Falls (2018). Born in Tokyo, Japan, Kim is a product of Troy University (BS in Athletic Training). He also holds a BA from Auburn University-Montgomery (M.Ed. in Exercise Science).
Suffern, NY native Timke enters his 11th season in the Chicago system and first in Charlotte. Prior to 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 with High-A Winston-Salem (2016-20) and two with Kannapolis (2014-15). Lui made his organizational debut in 2013 with Great Falls (Advanced-Rookie). Prior to joining the Chicago organization, Timke spent four seasons in the Kansas City organization as a strength and conditioning coach (2009-12).
Charlotte Knights 2023 Field Staff:
Coach: Justin Jirschele
Pitching Coach/White Sox Assistant Pitching Coordinator: Matt Zaleski
Hitting Coach: Cam Seitzer
Coach: Hyeon Kim
Performance coach: George Timke
Season ticket plans, as well as mid-season and partial season plans for the 2023 season, are on sale now and can be purchased online at charlotteknights.com, by phone at 704-274-8282, or in person at Truist Field Ticket office located at 324 S. Mint St. Single match tickets for next season will go on sale at a later date. Knight opens at Uptown Charlotte’s Truist Field on Friday, March 31 at 7:04 p.m.
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