New assistant Andy Cannizaro officially hired, other news notes

LSU replaced hitting coach/recruiting coordinator Javi Sanchez with former Tulane star and former major league shortstop Andy Cannizaro, the school officially announced on Monday.

Andy Cannizaro during Monday's press conference.

Andy Cannizaro during Monday’s press conference.

The Advocate reported the news upon Sanchez’s departure announcement.

Cannizaro, a New York Yankees scout for the past five years, is a former All-American shortstop at Tulane. Cannizaro, 35, played in the big leagues for the Yankees and Tampa Bay Rays. He has worked as a Yankees scout since 2009, evaluating and recruiting amateur players in preparation for the annual MLB Draft.

“I believe Andy is a real star in the making and will have a tremendous impact on our program working alongside Alan Dunn, Will Davis, Nolan Cain and myself,” coach Paul Mainieri said in a statement. “His enthusiasm, intelligence, knowledge of the game, playing experience, familiarity with the area, and his contacts throughout baseball make him a perfect fit for this position. “

Cannizaro, a native of Mandeville, La., was the Yankees’ seventh-round selection in the 2001 MLB Draft, and he played in the organization for seven seasons, reaching the Major League level in September 2006.

He joined the Tampa Bay Rays in 2008 and was on the club’s big-league roster for the first two months of the season. He later played for the AAA affiliates of the Cleveland Indians and Chicago White Sox before retiring from the game in September 2009.

During his pro career, he worked as head coach of the Louisiana Knights, a U18 fall team consisting of 12 NCAA Division I players.

Cannizaro, a four-year starter at shortstop for Tulane, led the 2001 Green Wave squad to the first College World Series appearance in school history, batting .395 with 118 hits, 34 doubles, 70 RBI and 52 stolen bases.

A two-time all-America and three-time all-Conference USA performer, Cannizaro is Tulane’s all-time leader in games played (248), at-bats (1,030), hits (350), doubles (85) and stolen bases (128). He was inducted in 2007 into the Tulane Athletics Hall of Fame.

Other news notes:

  • Cade Stone, a freshman outfielder last season, has left the baseball team. He’s transferred to LSU-Eunice, Mainieri confirmed. Stone started two games and batted .250 last season.
  • Former LSU third baseman Christian Ibarra will be an undergraduate assistant with the team this season, according to LSU’s updated schedule.
  • LSU announced the jersey numbers of its freshmen: 2 Mike Papierski, 7 Greg Deichmann, 10 Grayson Byrd, 14 Mac Marshall, 18 Austin Bain, 21 Doug Norman, 24 Beau Jordan, 25 Bryce Jordan, 29 Jake Godfrey, 30 Collin Strall, 35 Alex Lange, 67 Jake Latz.

Comments from Cannizaro at Monday’s press conference:

Andy Cannizaro being introduced.

Andy Cannizaro being introduced.

  • Cannizaro: “I feel like I’m coming to work for the New York Yankees of college baseball.”
  • Cannizaro mentioned his career at Tulane. He says that while “he had a lot of tremendous battles with LSU,” he always respected the Tigers’ program.
  • Cannizaro said he’ll take coaching lessons he learned while playing under Rick Jones at Tulane to the LSU dugout.
  • Cannizaro called LSU the “top baseball program in the country.”
  • Cannizaro on his job: “One of the biggest things about being a hitting coach is identifiying each hitter’s strength.”
  • Cannizaro thanked Javi Sanchez for “taking him through this process” of transitioning to the new job.
  • Cannizaro calls pitching coach Alan Dunn the best pitching coach in the country and is exciting about “picking his brain.”
  • Cannizaro: “I come from a baseball family. Grew up around the game. Grew up in the dugout.”
  • Cannizaro: “Getting into college coaching was always something I really wanted to do.” Said he was flattered when got call.
  • Cannizaro will work with outfielders primarily. Mainieri will stay with infielders. Will Davis from outfielders to catchers.
  • Cannizaro on Alex Bregman: “He’s a tremendous player. I can’t wait to be around him … try to maximize his game.”
  • Cannizaro, former Tulane guy: “I look forward to being in this dugout and having 11,000 fans pulling for me rather than against me.”
  • As a Yankee scout, Cannizaro evaluated some of the same players Sanchez did. Ran into each other on road a lot.
  • Cannizaro’s scouting territory with Yankees: Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Florida panhandle, Memphis.