The Miami Marlins announced that head athletic trainer Sean Cunningham resigned on Wednesday and has been replaced by Dustin Luepker.
Cunningham had served as the Marlins’ top trainer since the 2002 season when he came along with owner Jeffrey Loria from Montreal. When Mr. Loria purchased the Marlins, he brought a good amount of staff south with him. Cunningham immediately took over as head athletic trainer, and kept a firm grip on the post until Wednesday’s announcement.
On Tuesday, Cunningham as on field for pregame festivities and was also seen checking on injuries during the game. There were no signs of an impending resignation or change at the position. The Marlins and Cunningham have not provided any details as to the possible reason for the resignation as of yet.
During Tuesday’s loss to the Detroit Tigers, Miami’s starter Wei-Yin Chen was hit in the arm with a comebacker on the mound. Cunningham checked on Chen for several minutes before the pitcher stayed in the game. There was a noticeable drop in velocity and production from Chen following the moment, and Miami has not updated Chen’s possible injury status as of yet.
Luepker had been serving under Cunningham as he was on the athletic training staff already which should ease the transition. Prior to joining Miami’s major league staff five years ago, Luepker worked in the minor league system as well. The 38-year old also worked with the San Francisco Giants in the past.
Mike Kozak who has also been with the Marlins since 2002 will remain on the athletic training staff, Like his former colleague Cunningham, Kozak was part of Montreal’s staff prior to the ownership change in Florida.
The Marlins will be looking for their first win of the year on Wednesday, and will hope that Luepker and Kozak both stay in the dugout for the duration of the game.