Astros Announce 2012 Minor League Staff


The Houston Astros announced today their minor league coordinators and medical staff for the 2012 season. The Astros’ coordinators consist of Paul Runge (field coordinator), Jon Matlack (pitching coordinator), Ty Van Burkleo (hitting coordinator), Tom Lawless (roving infield instructor), Milt Thompson (roving outfield and base running instructor) and Danny Sheaffer (roving catching instructor). Frank Renner (strength and conditioning coordinator), Jamey Snodgrass (medical coordinator) and Daniel Roberts (rehab coordinator) make up the club’s minor league medical staff.


Runge returns for his second season as the club’s minor league field coordinator. He has 14 years of minor league managerial experience, all coming in Atlanta’s system, which included three Appalachian League Championships while managing rookie-level Danville (2005-06, 2009). Runge also enjoyed an eight-year Major League playing career with Atlanta from 1981-88.


Matlack, who was previously announced as the club’s pitching coordinator in October, served as Detroit’s minor league pitching coordinator for the last 15 seasons (1997-2011). He was a three-time All-Star pitcher and had a 13-year Major League career with New York-NL (1971-77) and Texas (1978-83). He won NL Rookie of the Year honors in 1972 (15-10, 2.32 ERA) and made three NL All-Star squads (1974-76), sharing MVP honors with Bill Madlock in the 1975 All-Star Game.


Van Burkleo returns to the Astros organization for his second consecutive year as the club’s hitting coordinator. Prior to joining Houston, Van Burkleo coached in the Major Leagues for four seasons, which included the 2007-08 seasons as Oakland’s hitting coach and the 2009-10 seasons as Seattle’s bench coach. Prior to his Major League stops, Van Burkleo spent six seasons (2001-06) as the roving hitting instructor for the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim.


Lawless managed the Double A Corpus Christi Hooks in 2011 and is taking over as the club’s roving infield instructor for the 2012 campaign. He’s been managing in the organization over the last three seasons and has experience as an infield instructor, having held that post for the Baltimore Orioles for three seasons from 2006-08. Lawless played in eight Major League seasons (1982, 1984-90), with four different teams, and appeared in the 1987 World Series while with St. Louis.


Thompson returns for his second season as the organization’s roving outfield and baserunning instructor. Prior to joining the Astros in 2010, Thompson spent six seasons as Philadelphia’s Major League hitting coach from 2005-10. Thompson played 18 years of professional baseball, including more than 11 years in the Major Leagues for six different teams, which included parts of two seasons (1994-95) with the Astros.


Sheaffer is returning for his sixth season with the Astros organization and his fifth as the club’s minor league roving catching instructor. Sheaffer has experience coaching and managing in nine seasons in the minor leagues (1999-2007) and played in parts of seven seasons in the Major Leagues (1987, 1989, 1993-97).


Renner returns as the club’s strength and conditioning coordinator for his second season at the position. He’s been with the organization for four seasons, serving as the interim strength and conditioning coordinator in 2010 and the strength and conditioning intern from 2007-09 with the club’s Triple A affiliate.


Snodgrass will serve as the club’s medical coordinator for the organization for his second consecutive season. He’s been working as a trainer in the Astros system since 1999, having also made stops at Class A Auburn (1999-2000), Class A Michigan (2001-02), Double A Round Rock (2003-04) and Double A Corpus Christi (2005-10).


Roberts returns to his role as the organization’s rehab coordinator for the second consecutive season. Roberts will be based out of Kissimmee and will assist injured and recovering Major and minor league players with the medical rehabilitation process. Prior to joining the Astros, Roberts served as an assistant athletic trainer at Charleston Southern University.