A’s announce Player Development Staff for 2022

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OAKLAND, Calif. – The Oakland A’s have announced their 2022 player development department and minor league coaching staffs, including the promotion of Phil Pohl to manager of the Lansing Lugnuts.

Ed Sprague enters his seventh season with the A’s and his third season as Director of Player Development. The former infielder’s time with the A’s also includes stints as the assistant director of player development and coordinator of on-field analytics, coordinator of instruction, and roving instructor.

Keith Lieppman begins his 52nd season with Oakland and his third as Special Advisor to Player Development after transitioning to the role in 2020.

Grady Fuson, former Oakland A’s scouting director, will return for his 13th season as Special Assistant to the General Manager. He has spent 31 seasons in the Athletics organization, including seven years as scouting director from 1995-2001.

Gil Patterson returns for his 18th season in the A’s organization, including his seventh straight season as the A’s minor league pitching coordinator. Patterson is in his third stint with the organization after spending the previous three seasons in a similar role with the New York Yankees (2013-15). He has held the post for the A’s on three separate occasions in 1996 and from 2008-12. Patterson originally joined the Oakland organization in 1991, coaching for the Arizona Rookie League in Scottsdale. He coached for the A’s Single-A affiliate in Madison from 1992-93, Single-A West Michigan in 1994, and the Rookie League Scottsdale A’s in 1995 before his first stint as roving minor league pitching instructor in 1996.

Jim Eppard will enter his seventh season as the minor league hitting coordinator. Prior to joining the A’s in 2016, he spent two seasons as the Los Angeles Angels assistant hitting coordinator.

Juan Navarrete will begin his third season as the minor league infield coordinator after spending the previous three seasons as the minor league defensive coordinator. Navarrete has served the A’s development staff for over 27 seasons in various roles after a playing career that spanned 21 seasons. In 1998, Navarrete was inducted into the Mexican League Baseball Hall of Fame.

Steve Scarsone enters his third season as minor league outfield and baserunning coordinator and will additionally serve as Arizona field coordinator. In this new role, Scarsone will organize all Arizona-based programs. He previously was a minor league roving infield and baserunning instructor in 2019. The former Major Leaguer has been with the organization since 2009, serving as a minor league manager from 2009-16. In 2016, he was awarded with the Pacific Coast League Manager of the Year Award after leading the team to a league-best 83-59 mark.

Gabe Ortiz will serve as minor league catching coordinator for the third straight season. He spent the 2019 season as minor league catching instructor as well as a coach with the Arizona League Athletics. The former A’s minor league catcher has been with the organization since 2014.

Casey Upperman returns for his third season as Athletics throwing performance coach. In this role, the Arizona native assists with the development and implementation of throwing programs for pitchers and position players to enhance their performance, health, and throwing velocity.

Scott Steinmann has been promoted to hitting performance coach. In 2021, he managed the Lansing Lugnuts for their first season in the A’s organization after managing Midland since 2018. Prior to joining the A’s organization, Steinmann worked 17 seasons as a coach or manager in the Seattle organization.

Lloyd Turner enters his 10th season with the organization, taking on a new role as hitting technology coach after serving as an Arizona A’s hitting coach in 2021. Before managing Beloit in 2019, Turner served as the minor league hitting coach for six seasons (Vermont, 2013, 2016-18 and Beloit, 2014-15).

Craig Lefferts will return as the A’s minor league pitching rehab coordinator. Lefferts enters his eighth season in the role after spending 12 seasons as a pitching coach in Oakland’s minor league system.

Rick Rodriguez will take on the role of assistant pitching rehab coordinator after spending six straight seasons overseeing the pitching staff of the A’s Triple-A squad. He has spent four stints as the pitching coach for the A’s top affiliate (2000-02, 2004-10, 2013-14, 2016-21).

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Nate Brooks returns as the minor league medical coordinator for his sixth season after serving the A’s as minor league rehab coordinator the prior four seasons.

Javier Alvidrez returns for his fifth season as the Latin American medical coordinator. This is his second stint with the organization after serving as an athletic trainer from 2000-07.

J.D. Howell will enter his second season in the role of minor league sport performance coordinator after spending the 2020 season as the Latin American strength and conditioning coordinator. 2022 is Howell’s 10th season in the organization.

Scott Smith enters his second season as assistant minor league sport performance coordinator after spending the previous three seasons in the role of sport performance coach for Beloit and the AZL A’s.

Derek Clovis takes on the role of sport performance rehab coordinator in his first season with the A’s. He previously served as strength and conditioning coach for the Amarillo Sod Poodles in the Arizona Diamondbacks organization, as well as with the Jackson Generals (2020) and Hillsboro Hops (2018-19).

Ed Gitlitz enters his sixth season as the minor league technology and development coordinator. He previously worked as a video intern for the Milwaukee Brewers, Toronto Blue Jays, Los Angeles Dodgers, and Arizona Diamondbacks before joining the Athletics.

Kelvin Todd will return as senior coordinator of educational and cultural programs. He facilitates the transition of international minor league players to life in the United States, both on and off the field.

Leo Bejaran-Specht will serve as coordinator of educational and cultural programs, assisting minor league operations coordinator Luis Victoria with international players’ transitions to life in the United States.

Fran Riordan will be at the helm for his fifth season with the Triple-A club. In 2019, Riordan led Las Vegas to a first-place finish in the PCL South division with an 83-57 record and was named the Pacific Coast League manager of the year. Steve Connelly joins the Aviators as pitching coach after spending the previous four seasons in Midland. Connelly joined the A’s organization in 2014 and has served as a pitching coach across the A’s minor league system (Vermont, 2014; Beloit, 2015; Stockton, 2016-17; Midland, 2018-21). Brian McArn enters his 24th year in the organization and his first as hitting coach for the Aviators. He spent last season as assistant hitting coach for Las Vegas, after spending the previous three seasons as the Stockton hitting coach. Jason Hart joins Las Vegas as assistant hitting coach, a role he previously held at multiple levels of the Texas Rangers organization, most recently with the Hickory Crawdads. Hart was originally drafted by the A’s in 1998 and played professionally for eight seasons with the A’s, Rangers, and Twins organizations. Justin Whitehouse will serve as head athletic trainer for Las Vegas. In 2021, he worked with the Major League club as Covid-19 Infection Control Prevention Coordinator. Whitehouse spent 12 seasons as the Midland athletic trainer, has been with the organization for 21 seasons, and was named Midwest League Athletic Trainer of the Year in 2007. Shane Zdebiak returns for his second season with Las Vegas and will serve as assistant athletic trainer after spending three seasons as Stockton’s athletic trainer and two seasons with Beloit. Before joining the A’s, he worked for the Mariners from 2014-15. Matt Mosiman will serve as Aviators sport performance coach after spending one year with Midland, two seasons with Stockton and six overall with the organization.

Bobby Crosby enters his second season at the helm of the Midland RockHounds. The former infielder played in the Major Leagues for eight seasons, winning the Rookie of the Year Award in 2004 for the Oakland A’s. Chris Smith joins the Midland staff as pitching coach after spending last season with Stockton. The former Major Leaguer appeared in 77 games, going 1-4 with a 5.71 ERA. He finished his playing career in 2017 with the Oakland A’s. Todd Takayoshi will serve as Midland’s hitting coach in his first year with the A’s organization. He previously spent time as a hitting coach in the Reds and Angels organizations and served as assistant minor league hitting coordinator with the Los Angeles Dodgers from 2013-15. Juan Dilone enters his second season as assistant hitting coach for Midland. He previously spent four seasons as the hitting coach for Beloit after spending the prior seven years in the same role with rookie-level Arizona. Nick Voelker joins Midland as head athletic trainer after spending 2021 in Midland. He began his career in the Dominican Summer League, where he won Athletic Trainer of the Year in 2018 before moving to rookie-level Arizona. Rounding out the staff is Connor Hughes as sport performance coach, his first season with Midland and his fourth in the A’s organization.

Phil Pohl joins the Lugnuts as manager after serving as a bullpen catcher with the Major League club from 2016-21. Prior to that, Pohl played in the A’s minor league system from 2012-15. Don Schulze enters his second season with the Lansing staff as pitching coach after serving in the same role for Beloit for the previous three seasons. This will be Schulze’s 17th year overall in the Oakland A’s system. Javier Godard will continue in his second year as hitting coach for Lansing. The infielder played in 224 games in the A’s organization before joining the Stockton coaching staff in 2019. Craig Conklin joins the Lansing staff as assistant hitting coach after spending 2021 in the same role with Stockton. Conklin has been with the A’s for seven years and worked for the MLB Scouting Bureau prior to joining the A’s. Jake Routhier will be the head athletic trainer for Lansing after serving in the same capacity with Stockton in 2021 and in the Dominican Summer League in 2019.Kevin Guild enters his fifth season in the A’s organization and first serving as Lansing’s sport performance coach after spending last season with Stockton.

Anthony Phillips will take the helm in Stockton, his first year as a manager in the A’s organization. He previously served as assistant hitting coach on the Lugnuts staff after coaching for Beloit in 2019. The former infielder was a member of the 2009 South Africa team that participated in the World Baseball Classic. Kevin Kouzmanoff will take over as hitting coach for the Ports after spending last season in the same role with the RockHounds. The former big leaguer is in his fourth year with the organization. Franklin Font joins the Ports as assistant hitting coach after spending 20 seasons in various coaching roles with the Chicago Cubs organization. From 2013-20, he served as a Major League staff assistant following a one-year stint as assistant hitting coach with the Major League team. Bryan Corey will return to Stockton as pitching coach, a role he previously held in 2018. He served as assistant pitching rehab coordinator last season and has also served as a pitching coach with the Vermont Lake Monsters (2017) and AZL A’s (2019-20). Eric Fasth joins the Stockton staff as head athletic trainer after serving as seasonal assistant athletic trainer for Las Vegas in 2021. Steven Thayer will serve as sport performance coordinator. Last season, he worked with the Giants organization as a sports performance coach with the Dominican Summer League. 

Arizona Athletics (Rookie-Level)

Adam Rosales will manage the Arizona Athletics for the second straight season. The former Major Leaguer played 15 seasons of affiliated ball, including two stints with the Athletics (2010-11, 2017). Gabriel Ozuna will return as pitching coach for the Arizona A’s. He is entering his eighth season as the pitching coach of the squad after spending his first seven seasons in the organization as the pitching coach for Oakland’s Dominican Summer League club. Ruben Escalera will again serve as hitting coach for the Arizona A’s. He enters his seventh season of his second stint as the rookie-level A’s hitting coach. The Puerto Rico native has been with the A’s for 27 seasons, serving as an instructor, manager, and scout. He will be joined by Francisco Santana as hitting coach. He spent last season as hitting coach with Stockton. Santana previously served as a coach in Vermont and at the A’s academy in the Dominican Republic. Noah Huff joins the Arizona A’s as head athletic trainer. Prior to this role, he spent the last two seasons as head athletic trainer at the A’s Dominican complex. Audyanna Merrick enters her second year with the Arizona A’s as assistant athletic trainer. She previously served as an assistant athletic trainer for Grand Canyon University for the baseball and men’s volleyball teams. Nathaniel Penaranda rounds out the Arizona A’s staff in his second season as sport performance coach. He previously spent three years as a sports performance specialist for Grand Canyon University, where he oversaw strength and conditioning for three varsity sports.



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