OAKLAND, Calif. - The Oakland A's today announced their minor league staff assignments for the 2015 season.
Garvin Alston was named minor league pitching coordinator after spending the previous six seasons as minor league pitching rehab coordinator. Greg Sparks will take over as minor league hitting coordinator after spending three seasons as hitting coach at Triple-A Sacramento. Sparks is in his 18th season in the A's organization, which includes eight years as minor league roving hitting instructor from 2004-11. Juan Navarrette is in his 21st season with the A's and will be the minor league defensive, base running and bunting coordinator. Craig Lefferts, who spent the previous 12 seasons as pitching coach in the A's farm system, replaces Alston as minor league rehab pitching coordinator. Aaron Nieckula was named minor league field coordinator and will oversee minor league spring training, extended spring training and instructional league.
Steve Scarsone was named manager of the A's new Triple-A affiliate at Nashville. This will be his third consecutive season as manager of the A's Triple-A club as he guided Sacramento to a 79-65 record in each of the previous two seasons. Scarsone now has a 568-554 record in eight seasons as a minor league manager, including stints in the A's system with Midland from 2011-12, Stockton in 2010 and Kane County in 2009. Don Schulze and Webster Garrison earn their first Triple-A assignments in 2015 as pitching coach and hitting coach, respectively. This will be Schulze's 10th year as a pitching coach in the A's system, including the last four at Double-A Midland, and Garrison's 15th as a coach or manager. Brad LaRosa returns as the athletic trainer and Terence Brannic was named strength coach.
Ryan Christenson takes over as manager at Midland after leading Single-A Stockton to an 85-55 record and a playoff appearance in 2014. He made his managerial debut in 2013 at Single-A Beloit after spending six seasons as a player in the Major Leagues, including four with the A's from 1998-2001. John Wasdin will be the pitching coach on Christenson's staff for the third consecutive season and Eric Martins was named hitting coach. Martins served as a scout for the A's for the past seven seasons. Justin Whitehouse returns as the athletic trainer and A.J. Seeliger is the new strength coach.
Rick Magnante assumes the managerial reins at Stockton, his 13th season as a minor league manager. He has a 457-497 record in his previous 12 seasons, including 55-84 last season with Single-A Beloit. Rick Rodriguez will be the pitching coach after two seasons in that capacity at Sacramento. Rodriguez is in his 31st season in the A's organization, which includes seven seasons as a player and two years as bullpen coach in Oakland (2011-12). Brian McArn returns as hitting coach, his 18th in that role with the A's and his fourth at Stockton (2011-12, 14). Travis Tims returns as athletic trainer and Henry Torres takes over as strength coach.
Fran Riordan joins the A's organization as manager at Single-A Beloit after spending 14 years managing in independent leagues. Riordan spent the last four seasons at the helm of Florence in the Frontier League, guiding the Freedom to a 190-194 record over that stretch. Steve Connelly, who had his first professional coaching assignment as pitching coach at Short Season Single-A Vermont last year, takes over those duties at Beloit in 2015. Lloyd Turner returns for his second consecutive season as hitting coach with the Snappers and Brian Thorson returns as athletic trainer. JD Howell will serve as strength coach.
In addition to his duties as field coordinator, Nieckula will manage the A's Short Season club at Vermont, his ninth year as a manager in the A's farm system. He has spent the last two seasons at Midland and guided the RockHounds to a 77-63 record and the Texas League Championship in 2014. Carlos Chavez will be the pitching coach after two seasons with the A's affiliate in the Arizona Rookie League. Tommy Everidge returns for his second consecutive season as Vermont's hitting coach and Toshi Nagahara returns as the athletic trainer.
Ruben Escalera will manage the A's affiliate in the Arizona Rookie League for the second consecutive season and ninth season overall. He previously managed from 2002-08 and spent the five years in between in various roles as an instructor in the A's system. Ariel Prieto was named pitching coach after serving as a coach on the Major League staff the previous three seasons. He previously served as pitching coach with the A's rookie club from 2009-11 and will also serve as a liaison between the A's Dominican Republic and United States based operations. Juan Dilone returns for his seventh season as hitting coach and Gabriel Ortiz is in his second season as coach. Chris Lessner returns as the athletic trainer.