Giants Announce Minor League Staffs

The San Francisco Giants farm system, often maligned for being ineffective, finished with the 2nd best winning percentage in baseball last year and two league championships. So it should be no surprise that the Giants aren't making major changes to the men leading those teams.

The Giants announced the staffs for their minor league affiliates this week, and the lack of changes shouldn’t be surprising. The system had the 2nd best winning percentage in the minors last season, with championships won by San Jose and the Arizona Rookie League team, and having every team except Fresno in playoff contention into the final week of the seasons. As a result, the Giants saw no need to change the managers at any level, but there are some changes in the support staffs.

In Fresno, this means the return of Shane Turner at the head of the bench. This will be Turner’s fourth year in Fresno, and third straight. He has a career record of 557-581 in the minors, and led the Grizzlies to a 2nd place finish in the Pacific Conference Southern Division in 2005 with a 68-76 record. Turner also managed for 2 years in AA Norwich and spent a year as a roving hitting instructor, and was voted the best Major League Managerial prospect in the California League in 1998 after helming that year’s championship team in San Jose.

Jim Bowie will return for his second year as Grizzlies hitting coach. Previous to that, he was the hitting coach for Toronto’s AA affiliate in New Hampshire, and has served in the Expos system and was a player/coach in AA Mobile in 1997. New to Fresno will be pitching coach Trevor Wilson, who spent the last two years helping San Jose win league ERA titles. He spent four years at short-season Salem-Keizer before that, and in 6 seasons as a pitching coach, has coached the ERA champion in his respective league 4 times. Patrick Serbus will come in as head trainer in Fresno, having spent the last two years doing the job in AA Norwich.

Speaking of the now renamed Connecticut Defenders in AA, Dave Machemer returns for his second season in the Giants organization. His 1,128 career wins over 16 years as a manager is 7th most amongst active managers. He’s previous managed in the Brewers, Orioles and Expos organizations.

He will be backed by pitching coach Bob Stanley, who will be in Connecticut for the 3rd year in a row. ‘Steamer’ Stanley is in his 4th year with the Giants, and as a player holds Red Sox franchise records for career games (637), saves (132) and relief win (85). Gary Davenport will join them as the hitting coach, after having worked in that role with San Jose in 2005 and serving as a roving instructor in 2004. Davenport, the son of former Giant Jim Davenport, has worked with many of the hitters expected to go to Connecticut for the last three years. Connecticut’s head trainer will be Anthoney Reyes.

In San Jose, California League Manager of the Year Lenn Sakata will return. Sakata will be helming the Giants for the fifth time, having reached the playoffs every year, he’s been with them before. He led the Giants to the third best record in all of full season minor league ball in 2005 (85-55). He also led the Giants to the 2001 co-Championship (the playoffs were cancelled due to the 9/11 tragedy), managed Fresno in 2002 and was a roving instructor in 2003. Sakata has also managed in the Angels and Athletics systems, as well as in Japan, and won a World Series championship as a player with the 1983 Baltimore Orioles.

Joining Sakata will be Jim Bennett as the new pitching coach. Bennett last worked in Peoria in the Padres organization, and has worked with the A’s, Rockies and Angels systems as well over his 13 year career. Garrett Nago will work as the hitting coach. He played several years in the minors, including one year as a player coach in 1989. He coached in high school and then the American Legion, where he led his team to a World Series title in 1995. He has spent the last 8 years teaching in clinics and summer baseball. Yukiya Oba will be the athletic trainer. He worked in the Giants organization in 2003 and 2004, and was an Assistant Athletic Trainer at the University of Hawaii in 2005.

In Augusta, the returning Manager is Roberto Kelly. Kelly, a two time All-Star in the majors, spent his first year with the GreenJackets leading them to a 77-59 record. He will spend the spring managing Team Panama in the World Baseball Classic.

Ross Grimsley will be the Augusta pitching coach. Grimsley is best known for getting two wins with the Cincinnati Reds over the Oakland A’s in the 1972 World Series, being a 1978 All-Star, and the only 20 game winner in Montreal Expos history. He is also a former teammate of GreenJackets owner Cal Ripkin, Jr. Andy Skeels will be the Augusta hitting coach, having previously served with the Savannah SandGnats. Dustin Luepker will be the trainer.

In Salem-Keizer, Steve Decker will return, with Jerry Crame serving as the pitching coach and Ricky Ward as the hitting coach. In Arizona, 2005 Manager of the Year Bert Hunter returns after having lead the rookies to two straight championships. He will be joined by pitching coach Will Malerich and hitting coach Leo Garcia.

The Giants have also retained their roving staff of instructors. They are:

• Fred Stanley – Coordinator of Instruction
• Bert Bradley – Coordinator of Pitching
• Bob Mariano – Coordinator of Hitting
• Lee Smith – Roving Pitching Instructor (All-Time Saves leader & Pitching coach for Team South Africa in the WBC)
• Kirt Manwaring – Roving Catching Instructor (Former Giant and gold glove winner)
• Darren Lewis – Roving Baseball/Outfield Instructor (Former Giant and Gold Glove winner)
• Joe Amalfitano – Roving Infield Instructor
• Mark Gruesbeck, Head Minor League Athletic Trainer
• Jim Simmons – Minor League Rehabilitation Coordinator

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