Ex-Sox catcher Johnson to manage Cougars for Cubs

Updated 12/11/2012 5:30 PM

The Cubs on Tuesday announced the managers and coaching staffs for their minor-league clubs in 2013.

Former White Sox catcher Mark Johnson will be the manager of the Kane County Cougars, the new Class A Midwest League affiliate of the Cubs.

Johnson, 37, played for the White Sox from 1998-2002 and also saw major-league time with Oakland, Milwaukee and St. Louis. He most recently was the manager of the Cubs' Class A Boise affiliate in the Northwest League. The Hawks won the league's East Division title this year and beat Yakima in the first round of the playoffs before falling to Vancouver in the league championship series.

Joining Johnson on the Kane County coaching staff will be pitching coach Ron Villone, a former big-leaguer, and hitting coach Tom Beyers. The Cougars previously had been an affiliate of the Kansas City Royals.

The Cubs moved their Midwest League affiliate from Peoria to Geneva last September, with team president Theo Epstein saying at the time he's a big fan of having as many affiliates as close to the parent club as possible. Geneva, in the western suburbs, is about a 45-minute drive from Wrigley Field.

The Cubs also announced appointments at their other minor-league clubs. Their top affiliate, Class AAA Iowa, will be managed by Marty Pevey with Mike Mason as pitching coach and former big-leaguer Brian Harper as the hitting coach.

Tim Cossins joins the organization as minor-league field coordinator after 10 years in the Miami Marlins organization, the last six as minor-league catching coordinator.

Spring training update:

• The Cubs said pitchers and catchers will report for spring training Feb. 10. Spring training will end with a pair of exhibition games against the Houston Astros, March 29 and 30, at Minute Maid Park in Houston. The Astros had been National League Central rivals to the Cubs until moving to the American League West this off-season. The March 29 game will begin at 7:05 p.m., and the March 30 game will start at 1:05 p.m.

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