Cubs' Turnover Continues In Athletic Training Staff

Assistant athletic trainer Matt Johnson won't return in 2020.

Bruce Levine
November 04, 2019 - 12:33 pm
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(670 The Score) Following the hiring of David Ross as their new manager, the Cubs have continued with their shakeup across various departments. This time, the turnover has come in the medical/athletic training staff department.

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Assistant athletic trainer Matt Johnson, massage therapist Laura Paluch and yoga instructor Christine Schwan won't return for the 2020 season, sources said. All three were a part of the Cubs' traveling party and played key roles in the players' daily preparation.

Their exits come on the heels of the Cubs losing strength and conditioning coach Tim Buss, who left to join Joe Maddon with the Angels. Beyond that, the Cubs are replacing some strength and conditioning coaches across their farm system, sources said.

Johnson had been with the organization for 19 years, including as an athletic trainer with the big league club for eight seasons. Paluch had been in her position for four years and Schwan in hers for two seasons.

The Cubs were plagued by injuries for some stretches in 2019, with shortstop Javier Baez, catcher Willson Contreras, third baseman Kris Bryant, left-hander Cole Hamels and closer Craig Kimbrel among those missing significant time.

The changing of the guard in the Cubs' medical/athletic training staff began last January, when they hired Adam Beard to be their director of high performance. His job is to oversee "the integration and management of a collaborative approach to all aspects of training, conditioning, mental skills, nutrition, sport science," as the team explained upon his hiring.

Buss had been the Cubs' strength and conditioning coach since 2001. He was offered to remain with the Cubs in a different position but instead chose to join Maddon as a quality assurance coach.

They Cubs already had a shakeup in their player development department. Matt Dorey was named their new senior director of player development, while Justin Stone was named the director of hitting and Craig Breslow was named the director of pitching. 

More changes will occur internally for the Cubs. They will hire some new coaches for Ross at the big league level and a new director of scouting.

Bruce Levine covers the Cubs and White Sox for 670 The Score. Follow him on Twitter @MLBBruceLevine​.