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A's welcome fresh faces to Minor League staff

Former players Crosby, Kouzmanoff, Smith come aboard
MLB.com @JaneMLB

The A's rolled out their Minor League staff assignments for the 2019 season on Thursday. The coaching staffs will feature several familiar names, including former players Bobby Crosby, Kevin Kouzmanoff and Chris Smith.

Leading the charge yet again is director of player development Keith Lieppman, who returns for his 49th season in the organization. Ed Sprague will serve as his right-hand man, after being promoted from coordinator of instruction to assistant director of player development and coordinator of on-field analytics.

The A's rolled out their Minor League staff assignments for the 2019 season on Thursday. The coaching staffs will feature several familiar names, including former players Bobby Crosby, Kevin Kouzmanoff and Chris Smith.

Leading the charge yet again is director of player development Keith Lieppman, who returns for his 49th season in the organization. Ed Sprague will serve as his right-hand man, after being promoted from coordinator of instruction to assistant director of player development and coordinator of on-field analytics.

Gil Patterson (Minor League pitching coordinator), Jim Eppard (Minor League hitting coordinator), Juan Navarrete (Minor League defensive coordinator) and Craig Lefferts (Minor League pitching rehab coordinator) are set to resume their respective roles, while Steve Scarsone transitions from traveling instructor to Minor League roving infield and baserunning instructor.

Crosby, the 2004 American League Rookie of the Year Award winner, will latch on as a fourth coach with Double-A Midland. The RockHounds will be managed by Scott Steinmann a second straight year; his staff also includes pitching coach Steve Connelly and hitting coach Tommy Everidge.

The A's Triple-A club will enjoy a change of scenery after shifting from Nashville to Las Vegas. Fran Riordan will be at the helm for his second season as manager, with each of his coaches -- pitching coach Rick Rodriguez and hitting coach Eric Martins -- also retained. Craig Conklin will serve as the fourth coach in the newly created role.

Class A Advanced Stockton has a new pitching coach in Smith, who enjoyed his lone career victory with the A's and finished his career with them in 2017. Webster Garrison will manage the Ports, after serving in the same capacity for Class A Beloit last year. Hitting coach Brian McArn and additional coach Javier Godard round out the staff.

Garrison will be replaced by Lloyd Turner at Beloit, marking Turner's first managerial stint. He'll be joined by pitching coach Don Schulze, hitting coach Juan Dilone and newbie coach Anthony Phillips.

Kouzmanoff, who played two of his seven big league seasons with the A's, will begin his professional coaching career as the hitting coach for Class A Short-Season Vermont. Lake Monsters manager Aaron Nieckula, who was also promoted to Minor League field coordinator for the 2019 season, will also have pitching coach Carlos Chavez and coach Rick Magnante -- who will double as player development supervisor -- on his staff.

The A's will have two Rookie-level Arizona League teams for the first time in 2019, under the guidance of managers Eddie Menchaca and Hiram Bocachica. Manchaca was also promoted to supervisor of Latin America player development.

Jane Lee has covered the A's for MLB.com since 2010.

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