Yankees Announce Changes to Player Health and Performance Staff

Max Goodman

Something had to change after New York's record-setting season of injuries. 30 different Bronx Bombers spent time on the injured list in 2019, keeping the likes of Miguel Andújar, Dellin Betances, Luis Severino and Giancarlo Stanton off the field for almost the entire year. 

Heading into 2020, however, the Yankees will have plenty of new faces in their Player Health and Performance staff.

Eric Cressey will take over as the club's new Director of Player Health and Performance, overseeing the team's Strength and Conditioning program in his first year with the Yankees. Although he has extensive experience with athletes of all ages -- ranging from youth sports to Olympians -- Cressey is well known for his offseason training regimens, working with more than 100 professional baseball players in his career. 

The 38-year-old has the credentials and the education for his newest venture. 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. Previously, he completed his undergraduate work at the University of New England with a double major in exercise science and sports and fitness management.

"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," Yankees' general manager Brian Cashman said in a statement released by the team. "Eric is a highly accomplished coach in the fitness world and has a strong reputation in the baseball industry in regards to athlete training, performance, and player care."

Cashman went on to explain that Cressey will be responsible for staffing, assessments, facility enhancements, equipment, continuing education, and technology.

Joining Cressey on New York's restructured staff Assistant Director of Player Health and Performance Donovan Santas and Major League Strength and Conditioning Coach Brett McCabe.

Santas, 42, is the first to ever hold his position with the Yankees. Although, that doesn't mean he's new to the sport. He's worked in baseball for two decade, spending 17 years with the Toronto Blue Jays -- he recently served as the Jays' Head of Strength and Conditioning.

McCabe, 40, will be New York's newest Major League Strength and Conditioning Coach. He has spent 13 years in that role in his career with two separate organizations -- in the big leagues with the San Diego Padres (2013-2018) and in MiLB with the Arizona Diamondbacks (2016-2012).

Also assuming new roles in 2020 are Director of Sports Medicine & Rehabilitation (ATC/PT) Michael Schuk and Head Athletic Trainer Tim Lentych. Both Schuk and Lentych come from within the Bombers' organization.

Finally, longtime trainer Steve Donohue takes over as the Yankees' Director of Medical Services in 2020. The 63-year-old had spent the last eight seasons as the club's Head Athletic Trainer -- working as an assistant under Gene Monahan for 26 seasons prior to (1986-2011). This season will be Donohue's 42nd consecutive season with the Yankees. 

Steve Donohue Helps CC Sabathia Off the Mound in 2019 ALCS
Steve Donohue helps CC Sabathia off the mound in the 2019 ALCSBrad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

Similar to the roster taking shape -- as all nine arbitration-eligible players avoided arbitration and agreed to new one-year deals on Friday -- New York's coaching staff has been finalized. 

Alongside skipper Aaron Boone, New York's staff will include Pitching Coach Matt Blake, Bullpen Coach Mike Harkey, Bench Coach Carlos Mendoza, Third Base Coach Phil Nevin, Assistant Hitting Coach P.J. Pilittere, Quality Control and Catching Coach Tanner Swanson, Hitting Coach Marcus Thames and First Base Coach Reggie Willits.

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