A's round out Geren's coaching staff

A's round out Geren's coaching staff

OAKLAND -- The A's on Monday promoted Tye Waller to bench coach and filled the two vacancies on manager Bob Geren's staff by naming Jim Skaalen as hitting coach and Todd Steverson as first-base coach.

Geren said by phone on Monday morning that he was very pleased with the A's staff heading into the 2009 season.

"We lost a couple of really good baseball men," Geren said, "but the guys we have coming in are great baseball men themselves."

Don Wakamatsu, Geren's bench coach last season, was named Mariners manager last month and promptly hired Ty Van Burkleo, Oakland's hitting coach from 2007-08, as his bench coach.

Waller, 51, joined the A's coaching staff in 2007 as first-base coach and split his coaching duties last year between first base and third base.

"One of the things I love about Tye is what a positive, upbeat personality he has," said Geren, who has known Waller for more than 25 years. "He and I think a lot alike, but he's not afraid to give his input if he's thinking something different than I am in a given situation, and that's important.

"He's also an excellent communicator, and he's someone I have a lot of faith and trust in."

Skaalen, 54, joins the A's after spending the past two seasons as Brewers hitting coach. In his first season on a big league coaching staff, in 2007, Milwaukee hit a franchise-record and MLB-leading 231 home runs.

Skaalen began his coaching career in 1981 at Class A Daytona Beach and managed in the Minors for the San Diego (1982-86) and Texas (1987-89) organizations. Skaalen also has served as Minor League hitting instructor for Texas (1990), coordinator of Minor League instruction for Seattle (1991-96), director of player development for the Padres (1997-99) and Minor League hitting coordinator for the Brewers (2000-06).

Skaalen played professionally for three seasons in the Baltimore organization and batted .246 with 15 homers and 123 RBIs in 251 games.

"Jim's a San Diego guy, too, and I've known him for at least 20 years," Geren said. "He's also someone I have a lot of respect for, and his track record as a hitting coach speaks for itself."

Steverson, 37, spent the past four seasons managing in the A's farm system, most recently at Triple-A Sacramento, where he guided the River Cats to their second consecutive Triple-A and Pacific Coast League championships in 2008.

Steverson has a career record of 297-264 as a Minor League manager, including stops at Class A Stockton in 2005 and 2006, and Double-A Midland in 2007. Steverson joined the A's organization as hitting coach for Class A Vancouver in 2004 after spending five seasons coaching in the St. Louis farm system from 1999-2003. He played professionally for seven seasons, including in 31 Major League games with Detroit (1995) and San Diego (1996).

"Todd has been with the organization for a while now and had success wherever he's been, so he really knows how we do things," Geren said. "He's going to be working with a lot of guys he already knows, and that's going to make the transition that much smoother."

In a press release, the River Cats announced that they aren't expecting to name a replacement for Steverson until January.

Mychael Urban is a national writer for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.