Cubs hire Vandy coach as new minor league pitching coordinator

Cubs hire Vandy coach as new minor league pitching coordinator
October 29, 2012, 11:35 pm
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Update: Tuesday, Oct. 30, 12:00 p.m.

The Cubs added more firepower to their ever-growing front office staff, signing Derek Johnson as the organization's minor league pitching coordinator.

Johnson was working as the associate head coach at Vanderbilt and BaseballAmerica called him "one of college baseball's most respected and accomplished pitching coaches."

He was named the 2010 Baseball AmericaABCA Assistant Coach of the Year and is credited with helping to develop such pitchers as David Price, Mike Minor and Casey Weathers (whom the Cubs acquired from the Rockies in the Ian Stewart deal last winter). He earned the National Pitching Coach of the Year in 2004.

Price reacted to the hiring on Twitter Monday afternoon:

He is going to help chicago big time!!! RT @ztstokes: @davidprice14 what do you think about DJ leaving Vandy?

David Price (@DAVIDprice14) October 29, 2012

Johnson helped the Commodores to the school's first-ever College World Series in 2011 while eight pitchers from the team were selected in the MLB Draft, including two in the first and supplemental rounds.

The 41-year-old pitched at Eastern Illinois University and got his coaching start at EIU as well before moving on to Southern Illinois from 1995-97.

Vanderbilt head coach Tim Corbin spoke to to USATODAY Monday on the hiring.

"When you lose a talent like him, it's always a loss," Corbin said. "The guy immersed himself in pitching. He immersed himself in the development of the kids. It was on his mind 24 hours a day.

"The thing I like about him the most is there's no gray area with DJ. It's black or white. And he's very loyal to the kids and loyal to the program. He stood for all the right things."