A's announce player development staff for 2023

January 24th, 2023

OAKLAND, Calif. –  The Oakland A’s have announced their 2023 player development department and minor league coaching staffs.

Ed Sprague enters his eighth season with the A’s and his fourth 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.

Grady Fuson, former Oakland A’s Scouting Director, will return for his 14th season as Special Assistant to the General Manager. He has spent 32 seasons in the Athletics organization, including seven years as Scouting Director from 1995-2001.

Gil Patterson returns for his 19th season in the A’s organization, including his eighth 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.

Craig Lefferts will serve as the Minor League Assistant Pitching Coordinator after spending eight seasons as Minor League Pitching Rehab Coordinator. Prior to that, he served 12 years as a pitching coach in Oakland’s minor league system.

Dan Hubbs joins the A’s as Pitching Development Coach. He served as Director of Pitching Development and Strategies for the Detroit Tigers from 2020-21 after 20 years coaching at the collegiate level at USC and UC Berkeley. Hubbs graduated from USC and was taken in the 16th round of the 1993 MLB Draft by the Los Angeles Dodgers. 

Rick Rodriguez will take on the role of Minor League Pitching Rehab Coordinator after serving as Assistant Pitching Rehab Coordinator in 2022. He previously spent six straight seasons overseeing the pitching staff of the A’s Triple-A squad as part of four stints as the pitching coach for the A’s top affiliate (2000-02, 2004-10, 2013-14, 2016-21). 

Steve Connelly will serve as Minor League Assistant Pitching Rehab Coordinator after a one-year stint as pitching coach for Las Vegas. He spent 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).

Jim Eppard will enter his eighth 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 fourth 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 28 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 fourth season as Minor League Outfield and Baserunning Coordinator and his second as Arizona Field Coordinator, organizing 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.

Gabriel Ortiz will serve as Minor League Catching Coordinator for the fourth straight season. He spent the 2019 season as a 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.

Veronica Alvarez takes on the role of Coordinator of Player Development, Latin America. In addition to serving as manager of the USA Baseball Women’s National Team, she also works with MLB Develops, coaching at youth development events with a focus on girls baseball. Alvarez has been a coach with the A’s in Spring Training since 2019, and she served as acting manager for the Lansing Lugnuts for six games in 2022. After a four-year collegiate softball career at Villanova University, she returned to baseball as a catcher on the USA Baseball Women's National Team (2008-15) and won a gold medal at the 2015 Pan American Games.

Lloyd Turner enters his 11th season with the organization, taking on a new role as Hitting Development Coach after serving as Hitting Technology Coach in 2022 and an Arizona A’s hitting coach in 2021.  Before managing Beloit in 2019, Turner served as a minor league hitting coach for six seasons (Vermont, 2013, 2016-18 and Beloit, 2014-15).

Nate Brooks returns as the Minor League Medical Coordinator for his seventh season after serving the A’s as Minor League Rehab Coordinator the prior four seasons.

Javier Alvidrez will serve as Minor League Rehab Coordinator after spending the last five seasons as the Latin American Medical Coordinator. This is his second stint with the organization after serving as an athletic trainer from 2000-07.

Brittany Bilodeau joins the A’s as Minor League Rehab Assistant. She earned her Doctorate in Physical Therapy with Honors from Nova Southeastern University in 2020 and has previously served as Head Physical Therapist at Barwis Performance Center and, more recently, as a rehab intern with the Chicago Cubs in 2022. 

Nick Voelker has been promoted to Latin American Medical Coordinator after spending 2022 as the head athletic trainer 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 in 2021.

J.D. Howell will enter his third season in the role of Minor League Sport Performance Coordinator after spending the 2020 season as the Latin American Strength and Conditioning Coordinator. The 2023 season will be Howell’s 11th year in the organization.

Scott Smith enters his third season as Assistant Minor League Sport Performance Coordinator after spending the previous three seasons as the sport performance coach for Beloit and the AZL A’s.

Derek Clovis will continue in his role of Sport Performance Rehab Coordinator, a position he’s held for two seasons with the A’s. He previously served as the 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 will continue in his role as Minor League Technology and Development Manager, a position he took on in 2022 after previously serving as Minor League Technology and Development Coordinator. Prior to joining the A’s, Gitlitz worked as a video intern for the Milwaukee Brewers, Toronto Blue Jays, Los Angeles Dodgers, and Arizona Diamondbacks before joining the Athletics.

Myles Mensah joins the A’s as Player Development Analyst, after spending the 2022 season as a Major League Operations intern with the Washington Nationals. 

Kelvin Todd will return as Senior Coordinator of Educational and Cultural Programs, facilitating the transition of international minor league players to life in the United States, both on and off the field.

Leo Bejaran-Specht will enter his second season as Coordinator of Educational and Cultural Programs, assisting Minor League Operations Coordinator Luis Victoria with international players’ transitions to life in the United States.

Las Vegas (Triple-A)

Fran Riordan will be at the helm for his sixth 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. Bryan Corey joins the Vegas staff as pitching coach after spending the 2022 season as pitching coach for Stockton. He served as assistant pitching rehab coordinator in 2021 and has also served as a pitching coach with the Vermont Lake Monsters (2017), Stockton (2018, 2021), and AZL A’s (2019-20). Brian McArn enters his 25th year in the organization and his second as hitting coach for the Aviators. He spent the 2021 season as assistant hitting coach for Las Vegas, after spending the previous three seasons as the Stockton hitting coach. Todd Takayoshi will serve as the Aviators assistant hitting coach, after spending 2022 as Midland’s hitting coach, 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. Shane Zdebiak returns for his third season with Las Vegas and will serve as 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. Dave Comeau joins the Aviators as assistant athletic trainer, following eight years of experience in the Yankees and Braves systems. Matt Mosiman will continue to serve as Aviators sport performance coach for the second season after spending one year with Midland, two seasons with Stockton and six overall with the organization.

Midland (Double-A)

Bobby Crosby enters his third 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 continues in his role as pitching coach for the second straight season, after spending the previous 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. Javier Godard will take on the role of hitting coach for Midland after spending the previous two seasons in the same role with Lansing. The infielder played in 224 games in the A’s organization before joining the Stockton coaching staff in 2019. Juan Dilone enters his third 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. Jake Routhier will serve as head athletic trainer for the RockHounds after serving in the same capacity for Lansing in 2022, Stockton in 2021, and in the Dominican Summer League in 2019. Rounding out the staff is Connor Hughes as sport performance coach, his second season with Midland and his fifth in the A’s organization.

Lansing (High-A)

Craig Conklin takes on the role of manager for Lansing after spending the 2022 season as assistant hitting coach. He previously served as assistant hitting coach for Stockton and has spent eight years in the A’s organization. Conklin worked for the MLB Scouting Bureau prior to joining the A’s.  Don Schulze enters his third 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 18th year overall in the Oakland A’s system. Ron Witmeyer joins the Lansing staff as hitting coach. Luis Baez joins the A’s organization as assistant hitting coach for the Lugnuts. Eric Fasth, who served as head athletic trainer for Stockton in 2022, will take on the same role with Lansing for the 2023 season. He previously served as seasonal assistant athletics trainer for Las Vegas in 2021. Steven Thayer will serve as sport performance coach, a role he held in Stockton in 2022. In 2021, he worked with the Giants organization as a sports performance coach with the Dominican Summer League.

Stockton (Single-A)

Gregorio Petit will take the helm in Stockton, his first year as a manager in the A’s organization. He was signed by the A’s in 2001 and made his Major League debut with Oakland in 2008. After an 18-year professional career, Petit began his managerial career with Double-A Corpus Christi in the Astros organization, a role he held through the 2022 season. Gabriel Ozuna will join the Ports as pitching coach after spending the last eight seasons in the same role with the Arizona A’s. He spent his first seven seasons in the organization as the pitching coach for Oakland’s Dominican Summer League club. Kevin Kouzmanoff will continue in his role as hitting coach for the Ports after spending the 2021 season in the same role with the RockHounds. The former big leaguer is in his fifth year with the organization. Ruben Escalera will take on the role of hitting coach with Stockton. He previously served two stints as the A’s rookie-level hitting coach, most recently for seven seasons from 2016-22. The Puerto Rico native has been with the A’s for 28 seasons, serving as an instructor, manager, and scout. Noah Huff joins the Ports as head athletic trainer. Prior to this role, he spent last season in the same role with the Arizona A’s and the two seasons prior to that as head athletic trainer at the A’s Dominican complex. Nathaniel Penaranda rounds out the Stockton staff  as sport performance coach after spending two seasons in the same role with the Arizona A’s. He previously spent three years as a sports performance specialist for Grand Canyon University, where he oversaw strength and conditioning for three varsity sports.

Arizona Athletics (Rookie-Level)

Adam Rosales will manage the Arizona Athletics for the third straight season. The former Major Leaguer played 15 seasons of affiliated ball, including two stints with the Athletics (2010-13, 2017). Bronswell Patrick joins the Arizona A’s as pitching coach. Franklin Font will take on the role of infield coach for the A’s after managing at Stockton last season. He previously spent 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. Radhame Perez, Tyler Jeske, and Tim Esmay join the Arizona A’s as hitting coaches. Audyanna Merrick enters her third year with the Arizona A’s, taking on the role of athletic trainer after serving as assistant athletic trainer from 2021-22. She previously served as an assistant athletic trainer for Grand Canyon University for the baseball and men’s volleyball teams. Rachel Purcell will serve as assistant athletic trainer after spending the last two seasons in the Texas Rangers organization. Jake Kistaitis rounds out the staff as sport performance coach.

Dominican Athletics (Rookie-Level)

Cooper Goldby will take the helm as manager of the Dominican Summer League Athletics. Jim Gott and David Brito will serve as pitching coaches. Gunnar Buhner and Jose Vicente will serve as hitting coaches. Carlos Casimiro will serve as infield coach, and Rafael Fortunato will be the outfield coach. Joe Trujillo joins the Dominican A’s as athletic trainer. Tomy Arias and Kevin Hernandez will serve as sport performance coaches.