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Cardinals announce changes to Minor League staffs

The Cardinals named new managers for their two incoming Minor League affiliates and hired former Red Sox pitching coach Randy Niemann as part of system-wide staffing assignments announced Friday.

Dann Bilardello will manage Class A Peoria and Oliver Marmol will manage Class A State College. Bilardello led the Batavia squad to a 44-32 record last season and finished second in the New York-Penn League Pinckney Division. Marmol took his Johnson City squad to the playoffs, earning a Wild Card spot with a 39-28 record in his first season as a manager.

Niemann, who finished the 2012 season in Boston under manager Bobby Valentine, was hired for the pitching coach position at Double-A Springfield.

Four other managers in the Cards' system will return to their posts: Ron "Pop" Warner at Triple-A Memphis, Mike Shildt at Springfield, Johnny Rodriguez at Class A Palm Beach and Steve Turco with the Rookie-level Gulf Coast League Cardinals.

Shildt led his squad to its first Texas League Championship since the team returned to Springfield, and his third consecutive league championship in the Cardinals' organization, with the previous two coming at Johnson City in 2010-11. Turco led the Gulf Coast League Cardinals to their first playoff appearance by winning the GCL East Division with a team-record 34 wins.

Joe Kruzel will manage the Rookie-level Johnson City affiliate after spending the last five years as hitting coach for the Cardinals' Midwest League club. Kruzel's last managerial post was for the Reds' rookie affiliate in 2007.

Among the Cardinals Minor League coaching assignment changes, Bryan Eversgerd will take over as Memphis pitching coach after spending the last two seasons in Springfield. Ace Adams moves up a level for the second consecutive year and will be at Palm Beach in 2013. Dernier Orozco maintains his post at State College.

Besides Niemann, newcomers to the Cardinals' Minor League staff include Jason Simontacchi, the former St. Louis pitcher who will become the Peoria pitching coach. The Johnson City pitching coach will be Paul Davis and GCL pitching coach is Darwin Marrero.

Incumbent hitting coaches Mark Budaska (Memphis) and Phillip Wellman (Springfield) will return to their posts in 2013. Roger LaFrancois (Palm Beach), Ramon Ortiz (State College) and Jobel Jimenez each have new positions in 2013, and two former members of the Cardinals organization -- Erik Pappas (Peoria), a catcher in St. Louis in 1993-94 and Roberto Espinoza (Johnson City), a former Cardinals Minor League catcher -- were added as coaches.

In another change, Luis Aguayo takes a new position as International Field Coordinator/Infield Instructor after managing Palm Beach for the last two seasons. Tim Leveque received a promotion as the Mechanics Coordinator in addition to the Minor League Pitchers Rehab Coordinator.

Adam McCalvy is a reporter for Read his blog, Brew Beat, and follow him on Twitter at @AdamMcCalvy.
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