The Oakland A's have announced their coaching and training staffs for their six US-based minor league affiliates for the upcoming 2014 season. The staffs include some returning assignments, as well as old faces in new places and first-time members of the A's minor league coaching department. There is a family-feel to the A's minor league staff. Of the 19 coaches of the A's six US-based affiliates, 13 played in the A's system.
Earlier this off-season, the A's lost minor league hitting coordinator Todd Steverson, who was hired by the Chicago White Sox as their major league hitting coach. On Tuesday, the A's announced that Marcus Jensen would replace Steverson as the organization's minor league hitting coordinator. Jensen has been part of the A's organization as a coach since 2007. For the past five years he served as the manager of the A's Arizona Rookie League affiliate, and he worked with young catchers throughout the organization on the defensive side of the game.
Jensen had a long career as a catcher himself, and he spent time in the major leagues from 1996-2002, totaling 145 games for the San Francisco Giants, Detroit Tigers, Milwaukee Brewers, St. Louis Cardinals, Minnesota Twins, Boston Red Sox and Texas Rangers. A native of Oakland and a graduate of Skyline High School, Jensen was the 33rd overall pick of the Giants in 1990. He was a career .260 hitter in 17 minor league seasons.
Scott Emerson will return for a second season as the A's minor league pitching coordinator and the legendary Juan Navarette will begin his 11th season as the A's minor league infield instructor.
The Triple-A Sacramento River Cats will return in 2014 with the same coaching staff that guided them in 2013. Manager Steve Scarsone will be back for a second season with the 'Cats. He will be joined by pitching coach Rick Rodriguez and hitting coach Greg Sparks. Brad LaRosa will return as trainer.
Aaron Nieckula will return for a second season as the manager for Double-A Midland. Pitching coach Don Schulze will also return to the RockHounds. This will be Schulze's fourth season with Midland. Webster Garrison will return to Midland as the team's hitting coach. Garrison was the manager for High-A Stockton last season. He has coached in the A's system for 16 seasons, eight of which have been as the hitting coach for Midland. Justin Whitehouse returns as the RockHounds' trainer.
Stockton will have former A's outfielder Ryan Christenson as the manager in 2014. Christenson will likely have several members of his 2013 Beloit Snappers' squad with him in Stockton. Christenson's first season as a manager in the A's organization was last year with Beloit, and he guided them to the post-season. He will be joined in Stockton by another former member of the A's, pitching coach John Wasdin, who was with Christenson in Beloit last year. Brian McArn will return to Stockton as a hitting coach. He was the Ports' hitting coach for the 2011 and 2012 seasons. Last year, McArn was in Midland. Travis Tims will once again be the Ports' trainer.
Rick Magnante has been the A's short-season affiliate manager for the past eight seasons (five in Vancouver and three in Vermont), but he will helm a full-season squad in 2014. Magnante will manage the Beloit Snappers. He will be joined by hitting coach Lloyd Turner, who was Magnante's hitting coach in 2013 with Vermont, and pitching coach Jimmy Escalante. Escalante was the pitching coach for Stockton in 2013. Brian Thorson will return as the Snappers' trainer.
The Vermont Lake Monsters will have a different-looking staff for 2014. Pitching coach Craig Lefferts and trainer Toshi Nagahara will return, but the Lake Monsters will have a new manager and hitting coach.
At the helm will be David Newhan, who was a 17th-round pick of the A's in 1995 and a veteran of eight major league seasons with San Diego, Philadelphia, Baltimore, New York (NL) and Houston. Newhan was a hitting coach in the Padres' system for the past three seasons. His hitting coach will be former A's first baseman Tom Everidge, who will be making his coaching debut. This is the second straight year the A's have had a former Oakland farmhand make his coaching debut as the hitting coach for Vermont (Turner did it last season). Everidge, a Sonoma native, hit two homers in 24 games for the A's in 2009 and was a career .279 hitter with 158 homers in 1,031 minor league games, most coming in the A's system. He last played in 2012 in the independent Atlantic League.
The A's Arizona Rookie League squad will be managed by Ruben Escalera, who had been serving as a roving instructor within the A's organization for the past five seasons. Escalera was the A's AZL manager from 2002-2008. Juan Dilone will return for his sixth straight season as the AZL A's hitting coach and Carlos Chavez will be back for a second season as their pitching coach. Former A's farmhand Gabriel Ortiz will also be on the coaching staff. Ortiz caught in the A's system from 2006-2010, reaching as high as Double-A Midland. Chris Lessner will return as the AZL A's trainer.