As with every move in baseball, when there is a transaction made at one level, it impacts the entire organization. So when 2010 Triple-A Sacramento manager Tony DeFrancesco left the organization and pitching coach Rick Rodriguez was promoted to be the A's bullpen coach, it was clear that there would be a number of changes within the coaching staffs for the A's minor league affiliates in 2011. Those changes were announced on Tuesday.
Sacramento will see an entirely new coaching staff for the 2011 season. Darren Bush, who has earned two league championship titles as a manager in the A's system, has been promoted to manage the River Cats. He had served as the Double-A Midland Rockhounds' manager the past two seasons. In 2009, he led the 'Hounds to the Texas League championship and in 2010 he took them to the league finals. In 2008, he won the California League championship with the High-A Stockton Ports.
Joining Bush in Sacramento will be pitching coach Scott Emerson, who served in that capacity in Midland the past four seasons, and hitting coach Todd Steverson, who was the A's first base coach the past two seasons. Steverson previously managed the River Cats in 2008 and won the PCL and Triple-A championships that season. Steverson also managed the Rockhounds in 2007 and the Ports in 2005 and 2006. Steverson was a hitting coach when he first joined the A's organization and also served as a hitting coach in the St. Louis Cardinals' chain, where he coached a young Albert Pujols, among others.
The Rockhounds will attempt to get back to the Texas League finals for a third consecutive season with an entirely new coaching staff. Steve Scarsone, who managed the Stockton Ports to a Cal League playoff appearance in his first season in the A's organization, has been promoted to manage the 'Hounds. The former San Francisco Giants' infielder will take his entire Stockton coaching staff with him, with pitching coach Don Schulze and hitting coach Tim Garland moving to Midland. Garland was the hitting coach in Stockton for four seasons.
The Stockton Ports' coaching staff will be led by longtime A's minor league coach Webster Garrison, who has served as a hitting coach and manger in the A's system for several years. For the past two seasons, Garrison has been the hitting coach for Midland. He has a career managerial record of 334-302.
Garrison's pitching coach will be former major leaguer Craig Lefferts, who had served on the short-season Vancouver staff in the same capacity last season. He has been a pitching coach in the A's system for nine seasons, mostly at the short-season level. Brian McArn will serve as the Stockton hitting coach. McArn has been a hitting coach in the A's system the past 14 years, the last six of which came in Sacramento.
The A's Low-A affiliate coaching staff will remain the same, although the team will be in a different locale. The Burlington Bees will be managed by Aaron Nieckula, who managed the A's 2010 Low-A affiliate, the Kane County Cougars. He has been a manager in the A's system since 2006. His pitching coach will once again by Jimmy Esclante and his hitting coach will be Haas Pratt.
The A's did not yet announce the staffs for their short-season affiliates in the New York-Penn League, the Arizona Rookie League and the Dominican Summer League.