Tuesday, January 14, 2020

Yankees Announce New Player Health and Performance Staff

Giancarlo Stanton (walking by cage) missed most of the 2019 season due to injury. Photo by Jason Schott.

After a season in which they endured injuries to nearly every starting player, the Yankees knew they had to make changes to their training staff, and they announced those moves on Tuesday.

The restructured Player Health and Performance staff will be led by new Director of Player Health and Performance Eric Cressey. Also new to the organization is Assistant Director of Player Health and Performance Donovan Santos and Major League Strength and Conditioning Coach Brett McCabe. 

Steve Donahue will now be the Yankees Director of Medical Services after being the team's Head Athletic Trainer for the last eight seasons (2012-19), and he will be entering his 42nd year in the organization. Also changing roles within the organization are Tim Lentych, who will be the new Head Athletic Trainer, and Michael Schuk, the new Director of Sports Medicine and Rehabilitation (ATC/PT).

Yankees Senior Vice President and General Manager Brian Cashman said in a statement, "After a long and thorough review process, we're proud to welcome Eric Cressey to the New York Yankees to oversee our player health and performance team. Eric is a highly accomplished coach in the fitness world and has a strong reputation in the baseball industry in regard to athlete training, performance, and player care. Among his responsibilities, Eric will have a large hand in staffing, assessments, facility enhancements, equipment, continuing education, and technology. We're excited to have Eric join the Yankees to best serve our players across the organization." 

Here is biographical information on the Player Health and Performance staff (provided by the Yankees):

Cressey, 38, will oversee the club’s Strength and Conditioning program in his first year with the Yankees. Since co-founding his company, Cressey Sports Performance, in 2007, he has worked with athletes of all ages and levels, from youth sports to professionals and Olympians, helping them reach the pinnacle of performance in their sports. However, his most extensive work has been directing the offseason training regimens for more than 100 professional baseball players.

He will continue serving as president of Cressey Sports Performance, which specializes its training programs on kinesiology and biomechanics and has facilities in Hudson, Mass., and Palm Beach Gardens, Fla. Cressey Sports Performance previously employed newly appointed Yankees Pitching Coach Matt Blake as a pitching coordinator.

In addition to authoring more than 500 articles, he has published five books and was a co-author for the International Youth Conditioning Association High School Strength and Conditioning Certification. A Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS) through the National Strength and Conditioning Association, Cressey earned his Master’s degree in kinesiology with a concentration in exercise science through the University of Connecticut, the nation’s top ranked kinesiology graduate program. He completed his undergraduate work at the University of New England with a double major in exercise science and sports and fitness management.

Santas, 42, will join the Yankees as the team’s Assistant Director of Player Health and Performance in 2020, becoming the first person to hold the position for the club. It will be his 20th season working in professional baseball, having spent each of the last 17 with the Toronto Blue Jays.  He most recently served as Toronto’s Head of Strength and Conditioning, overseeing all areas of the field for the organization. Santas earned a Bachelor of Science degree in exercise and sports science from the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse and is a National Strength and Conditioning Association Registered Strength and Conditioning Coach with Distinction. Additionally, he serves on the Board of Directors for the Professional Baseball Strength Coaches Society.

McCabe, 40, will join the Yankees this season as the club’s Major League Strength and Conditioning Coach.  He most recently spent six seasons (2013-18) in the same role with the San Diego Padres.  Prior to his time with the Padres, he spent seven seasons (2006-12) with the Arizona Diamondbacks, where, as the minor league strength and conditioning coordinator, he oversaw the strength and conditioning programs for each of the organization’s affiliates.  From 2003-05, he was a strength and conditioning coach in the Blue Jays system, working at Double-A New Haven in 2003 and Triple-A Syracuse from 2004-05. McCabe earned a Bachelor of Science degree in movement science at Grand Valley State University (Mich.) in 2002, and is a licensed massage therapist, registered strength and conditioning coach and Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist.

Schuk, 37, will begin his first season as Director of Sports Medicine and Rehabilitation in 2020 after spending six seasons as the team’s Physical Therapist and Assistant Athletic Trainer from 2014-19. Before joining the Yankees, Schuk worked on the THOR3 initiative from 2012-14, a program designated to aid the physical and mental abilities of Army Special Forces.  Prior to his work with the Army, he served as an athletic trainer in the Cleveland Indians’ minor league system in 2006 and again in 2010.  He graduated from the University of Central Florida in 2005 and earned a Doctor of Physical Therapy degree at Nova Southeastern University in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., in 2010.

Lentych, 41, will serve as the Yankees’ Head Athletic Trainer in 2020, his 17th season with the organization.  He spent the last four seasons (2016-19) as the Yankees’ Assistant Athletic Trainer after serving as the club’s Minor League Head Athletic Trainer from 2012-15.  He began his Yankees career in 2004 as the trainer for short-season Single-A Staten Island before holding the same role for Single-A Charleston from 2005-07.  From 2008-11, he was the head trainer for Double-A Trenton, earning Eastern League “Athletic Trainer of the Year” honors in 2009.  Lentych earned his Bachelor’s degree in applied sciences and technology with a concentration in athletic training from Ball State University in 2001 and worked as an athletic training intern with the Baltimore Orioles that year.  He earned a Master’s degree from the University of Tennessee in 2004.

Donohue, 63, will begin his 42nd consecutive season in the Yankees organization and first as the team’s Director of Medical Services in 2020.  He served as the team’s Head Athletic Trainer for the last eight seasons (2012-19) after spending 26 years (1986-2011) as the Yankees’ Assistant Athletic Trainer under Gene Monahan, during which time he shared MLB’s “Athletic Training Staff of the Year” honors in 1990 and 2010.  In January 2020, he was inducted into the New York State Athletic Trainers Association Hall of Fame and in January 2018, he was named the winner of the “Most Distinguished Athletic Trainer Award” by the National Athletic Trainers Association.  Hebegan his athletic training career in 1979 at the Yankees’ Double-A West Haven affiliate before being promoted to Double-A Nashville (1980-81) and Triple-A Columbus (1982-85). Donohueis a 1974 graduate of Cardinal Spellman High School in the Bronx and a 1979 graduate of the University of Louisville. He is a member of the National Athletic Trainers Association and on the organization’s public relations committee, and is also a member of the Eastern Athletic Trainers Association.

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