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Oakland Athletics announce significant changes to 2019 minor league coaching staffs

Fitch Park, Mesa, AZ

The Oakland A’s will have an additional Arizona Rookie League team, as well as an extra coach on each minor league staff for the 2019 season. Those two were among several significant changes the A’s announced to their minor league coaching staffs for the upcoming season.

Keith Lieppman will return for his 28th season as the A’s farm director. Ed Sprague, who served as the A’s coordinator of instruction last year, has been promoted to Assistant Director of Player Development and Coordinator of On-Field Analytics. Aaron Nieckula has been promoted to minor league field coordinator, while Eddie Menchaca will take on the role of supervisor of Latin American player development. Rick Magnante is moving from his position as manager of the High-A Stockton Ports to a role as supervisor of player development, and Gabe Ortiz has been promoted to A’s minor league catching coordinator. Steve Scarsone is moving from traveling instructor to roving infield and baserunning instructor.

Gil Patterson (pitching coordinator), Jim Eppard (hitting coordinator), Craig Lefferts (pitching rehab coordinator), Juan Navarette (defensive coordinator), Nate Brooks (medical coordinator), Travis Tims (rehab coordinator), A.J. Seeliger (strength and conditioning coordinator), Javier Alvidrez (Latin American medical coordinator), J.D. Howell (Latin American strength and conditioning coordinator), and Matt Rutledge (assistant strength and conditioning coordinator) return to their same positions from last year.

Fran Riordan returns for his second season as manager for the A’s Triple-A affiliate (now the Las Vegas 51s), and he’s joined by Rick Rodriguez (pitching coach) and Eric Martins (hitting coach). Craig Conklin joins the staff as a coach. Brad LaRosa (athletic trainer) and Henry Torres (strength and organization coach) also return.

Scott Steinmann heads up the Double-A Midland RockHounds’ staff for a second season. Steve Connelly (pitching coach) and Tommy Everidge (hitting coach) also return to the staff, and they will be joined by former AL Rookie of the Year Bobby Crosby, who will be a coach on the staff. Justin Whitehouse returns for a 12th season as the RockHounds’ athletic trainer and Omar Aguilar will serve as the strength and conditioning coach.

With Magnante taking a new role, Webster Garrison returns to Stockton as the manager. Brian McArn returns as the hitting coach, while former big leaguer Chris Smith makes his coaching debut as the pitching coach. Javier Godard joins the staff as a coach after retiring from being an active player this season. Shane Zdebiak returns as the athletic trainer and Matt Mosiman will serve as the strength and conditioning coach.

Former A’s minor leaguer Lloyd Turner will take over as manager for the Low-A Beloit Snappers. Veteran Don Schulze returns as the pitching coach and Juan Dilone will be the hitting coach. Anthony Phillips makes his A’s minor league coaching debut as a coach on the Beloit staff. Brian Thorson — the reigning Midwest League Trainer of the Year — returns in that capacity and Scott Smith will be the strength and conditioning coach.

The Vermont Lake Monsters will have an experienced staff, led by Nieckula, who will continue his role as manager of the short-season A team while also handling the minor league field coordinator position. Carlos Chavez returns as the pitching coach and former A’s third baseman Kevin Kouzmanoff will be the hitting coach. Magnante will serve as the coach on the staff in addition to his player development supervisory role. Toshiaki Nagahara (athletic trainer) and Kevin Guild (strength and conditioning coach) return to the staff.

The A’s will have two AZL affiliates for the first time. Menchaca will manage one of the squads and former A’s outfielder Hiram Bocachica will manage the other. Bryan Corey and Gabriel Ozuna will be the pitching coaches and Francisco Santana and Ruben Escalera will be the hitting coaches. Former A’s minor leaguers Javier Herrera and Ortiz will serve as coaches on the staff. Chris Lessner and Nick Voelker will serve as the athletic trainers.

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