SAN JOSE 2024 COACHING STAFF ANNOUNCED

On Wednesday the San Jose Giants announced their coaching staff for the 2024 season. Here’s the press release:

February 14, 2024

San Jose, CA– The San Jose Giants announced their 2024 coaching staff with Ydwin Villegas set to take over as the club’s Manager. Villegas returns to San Jose after serving as the team’s Fundamentals Coach during the 2023 season.

Villegas, who signed as a player with the San Francisco Giants in 2008 out of Venezuela, now takes over the San Jose club after spending four years as a Fundamentals Coach in the Giants’ system. In addition to his time as Fundamentals Coach, Villegas also served as San Jose’s Bullpen Catcher in 2019. Villegas played all seven seasons of his professional career as an infielder in the Giants’ minor league system from 2008-2014, including three seasons in San Jose. In 415 career games he batted .216 with 45 doubles, four homers and 118 RBI in 415 career games.

Travis Ishikawa returns to San Jose for a third consecutive season as the club’s hitting coach. The San Jose lineup under Ishikawa in 2023 were tops in the California League in batting average (.266) and ranked second in runs scored (5.8/game) — just shy of the team record set by the 2021 championship club (5.9/game). The Giants’ 251 doubles and .752 OPS were both second-best in the Cal League while San Jose also had the second-fewest strikeouts of any hitting group in the league. Prior to his big-league career, Ishikawa spent parts of three different seasons in San Jose (2004-2005, 2007), playing key roles in two San Jose Giants’ California League championships in 2005 and 2007. Giants’ fans of course remember Ishikawa for his six seasons spent in San Francisco, which included the unforgettable late game heroics in the 2014 NLCS as his walk-off home run against the St. Louis Cardinals vaulted San Francisco into the World Series.

Dan Runzler also returns for his third year as San Jose’s pitching coach. In 2023, Runzler’s San Jose staff led the California League in ERA for a third straight season (4.20), while ranking third in the league in strikeouts (9.7 per game) and third in saves (30). Drafted by the Giants in the 9th round of the 2007 draft, Runzler swiftly made his major league debut in 2009 for the San Francisco Giants after appearing in games for all four of the Giants’ full-season minor league affiliates that year. Runzler spent parts of two seasons in San Jose in 2009-2010 and was also a member of the 2014 San Francisco Giants World Championship team.

Rounding out the San Jose field staff is fundamentals coach Nathan Keavy, athletic trainer Kenta Miyazaki and strength and conditioning coach Frankie Corsetti.

The complete promotional calendar for the 2024 season will be announced this Friday, February 16 with single game tickets set to go on sale on Tuesday, February 20. The San Jose Giants 2024 Opening Night is Friday, April 5 at Excite Ballpark against the Fresno Grizzlies. For more information on Ticket Plans call 408.297.1435, visit the Excite Ballpark Box Office or log on to sjgiants.com.

STOCKTON 2024 COACHING STAFF ANNOUNCED

On Tuesday the Oakland A’s announced the 2024 coaching staff for the Stockton Ports. Here’s the press release:

Manager – Javier Godard

Javier Godard takes the helm at Stockton after serving as hitting coach for Midland in 2023 and Lansing from 2021-22. He began his professional coaching career as a member of the Stockton staff in 2019 and was named hitting coach for Beloit in 2020, prior to the cancellation of the minor league season.

Originally signed as an international free agent on Jan. 30, 2013, by the Oakland A’s, Godard went on to play six seasons of affiliated baseball with the club. He played three years in the Dominican Summer League before coming to the United States in 2016. His best season came in 2015 when he batted .277 with 16 doubles and 22 RBI in 59 games for the DSL A’s.

Godard was born in Baruta, Venezuela.

Pitching Coach – Gabriel Ozuna

Gabriel Ozuna enters his 17th season with the A’s, his second as pitching coach for Stockton. He previously served as the pitching coach of the A’s Arizona League affiliate for eight years after spending seven seasons as the pitching coach for Oakland’s Dominican Summer League squad.

Ozuna was originally signed by St. Louis as a non-drafted free agent in 1987 and enjoyed a 17-year professional career. He reached as high as Triple-A with Louisville in 1993, when he posted a 2.92 ERA in 35 relief appearances. He recorded a career ERA of 2.54 with 61 saves, including a season-high 28 in 1989 with Single-A Savannah.

He also pitched internationally in Mexico, Taiwan, Italy and his native Dominican Republic, where he played winter ball with the Licey Tigers and East Bulls.

Hitting Coach – Ron Witmeyer

Ron Witmeyer joins Stockton as the hitting coach, a role he previously held in Lansing in 2023. Originally drafted by the A’s in the seventh round of the 1988 First-Year Player Draft, he has coached at every level of baseball since the end of his five-year playing career, including multiple stops at the collegiate level.

His coaching career began at Stanford University, his alma mater, in 1994, followed by stints as head coach at City College of San Francisco and as an assistant coach at California. In 2007, Witmeyer opened the first of two Frozen Ropes San Diego Baseball and Softball Training Centers, and from 2015-20, he was also the head coach at the Bishop’s School in La Jolla, where he coached his sons Clay—a recent Washington University Business School graduate— and Tommy—currently a sophomore in the business school at Santa Clara University—throughout their high school baseball careers.

In 2021, Witmeyer was the manager of the independent Martinez Sturgeon, and most recently, he served as head coach at Marymount California University for the 2021-22 season.

Witmeyer’s college career was highlighted by back-to-back College World Series Championships at Stanford in 1987-88. After being drafted by the A’s, he made his Major League debut in 1991. He resides in San Diego, Calif.

Assistant Hitting Coach – Luis Baez

Luis Baez takes on the role of assistant hitting coach with Stockton, a role he previously held in Lansing in 2023. He began his coaching career with the A’s in 2018 as an infield coach in the Dominican Republic.

Originally signed by the A’s in 2009, Baez played professionally at several levels of the organization, batting .234 with 17 home runs and 113 RBI over a seven-year professional career. He is originally from Bani, Dominican Republic.

Athletic Trainer – Audyanna Merrick

Audyanna Merrick enters her fourth season with the Athletics, her first as head athletic trainer with Stockton. She previously served as assistant athletic trainer for the Arizona A’s from 2021-22 and as head athletic trainer with the ACL A’s in 2023. Merrick graduated from Grand Canyon University with a Bachelor of Science in Athletic Training in April 2020. After graduation, she was hired as an Assistant Athletic Trainer at GCU where she worked with the baseball and men’s volleyball teams.

Merrick is currently pursuing her Masters of Science in Kinesiology from A.T. Still University.

Sports Performance Coach – Nathaniel Penaranda

Nathaniel Penaranda enters his second season with Stockton after spending the previous two seasons with the Arizona A’s. Prior to that, he spent three years as a sports performance specialist for Grand Canyon University, where he oversaw the strength and conditioning programs for the men’s soccer, beach volleyball, and swim and dive teams. Prior to his time with GCU, he served as assistant strength coach for the University of Portland following stints at USC and TCU as a sports performance intern.

A native of Vancouver, Wash., Penaranda attended Western Oregon University in Monmouth, Ore., where he played football. He has a master’s degree from Grand Canyon University, along with five certifications in the strength and conditioning field.

PORTSIDE POD FEATURES VIDEO ASSISTANT

The latest Portside Pod w/ Alex Jensen posted on June 26th with last year’s video coordinator Sam Given as the guest. Sam sheds light on the many nuances of the team’s preparation that relies on video as well as a few other interesting topics.

The Portside Pod looks to be an off-season thing over the last few years and this is the second one in January, with the first featuring Ports manager Gregorio Petit.

Check out Sam’s journey to working in baseball and some fascinating discussion on spin rate and other metrics:

PORTSIDE POD: EPISODE 4.2 – SAM GIVEN

LAKE ELSINORE STORM 2024 STAFF ANNOUNCED

The San Diego Padres today announced the members of the 2024 Lake Elsinore Storm Coaching Staff.

Manager: Lukas Ray

Lukas Ray is in his 4th year with the San Diego Padres and this will be his 3rd year managing inside of the organization. In the past two seasons, he has managed the ACL Padres to a combined 59-51 record, going four games over .500 in both seasons. Before joining the organization, he gained coaching experience at Middle Tennessee State, Charleston Southern University, Florence-Darlington Technical College, and the University of South Carolina – Lancaster.

“It’s an absolute honor for our Padres leadership to provide me with this opportunity. We have a dynamite staff and it’s our job to develop players and win games, but we can only do that with the support of the fans in this Lake Elsinore community. We look forward to meeting the fans, serving in the community, and developing players in a way that helps us produce a quality level of on-field performance. Go Storm and Go Padres.”

Pitching Coach: Robbie Price

This will be Robbie Price’s 3rd year with the San Diego Padres. He was with the ACL Padres in 2022 and 2023 with Luka Ray and served as their Pitching Coach. He played collegiately at Tulane University prior to coaching.

Hitting Coach: Eric Del Prado

Eric del Prado is in his 2nd year with the San Diego Padres and worked with both Lukas Ray and Robbie Price as the Hitting Coach with the ACL Padres in 2023. He was also a coach at Lewis and Clark College in Portland, Oregon for four years before joining the San Diego Padres Organization.

Bench Coach: Oswaldo Pirela

This is Oswaldo Pirela’s first season with the San Diego Padres organization. He played three years with the Texas Rangers organization from 2009-2011.

Strength Coach: Mark “Boom” Spadaveccia

The only returning member from the 2023 Lake Elsinore Storm coaching staff, Mark Spadaveccia worked as the Strength Coach last season and is in his 13th year in professional baseball. This will be his fourth season with the San Diego Padres. Before joining the Storm Coaching Staff in 2023, he was with the San Antonio Missions for two seasons. He has a Science Degree from Marquette University and graduated with a Sports Science Degree at Florida State University.

Athletic Trainer: Juan Pena

Juan Pena is in his first season with the San Diego Padres. From 2018-2023 he worked as an Athletic Trainer within the Detroit Tigers organization with a majority of that time at the Florida Complex League.

Performance Analyst: Brendan Amend

Brendan Amend previously worked within the Tampa Bay Rays organization and this will be his first season with the San Diego Padres. He is currently a staff member at the Point Loma Nazarene University Biomechanics Lab.

Video Coordinator: Tyler Jones

Tyler Jones is in his first season within the San Diego Padres Organization and is an alumni of the San Diego State Aztecs.

MODESTO 2024 COACHING STAFF ANNOUNCED

The Seattle Mariners announced the 2024 coaching staff for the defending California League champion Modesto Nuts. Here’s the press release:

SEATTLE, Wash. – Seattle Mariners President of Baseball Operations Jerry Dipoto, Director of Player Development Justin Toole and Senior Director of High Performance Rob Scheidegger announced today the Class-A Modesto Nuts staff for the 2024 season:

Zach Vincej, Manager
Hecmart Nieves, Bench Coach
Jordan Cowan, Hitting Coach
Jake Witt, Pitching Coach
Kyle Briggs, Strength & Conditioning Coach
Blake Wooten, Athletic Trainer

Vincej (VINCE-ee) returns as Manager after leading Modesto to a California League Championship in his first year as skipper. Last season, the Nuts went 21-2 over their final 23 games of the season under Vincej, catapulting them to a Cal League Championship. Modesto carried its second-half surge into the Postseason, outscoring its opponents 36-14 over its final 3 games to claim the Cal League title.

Vincej served as a coach for Triple-A Tacoma in 2022 and prior to his coaching career, the infielder played 8 seasons (2012-19) in the minor leagues and appeared in 10 Major League games between Cincinnati (2017) and Seattle (2018). Vincej was selected by the Cincinnati Reds in the 37th round of the 2012 MLB First-Year Player Draft out of Pepperdine University (CA). He won a Rawlings Minor League Gold Glove Award for his play at shortstop with Double-A Pensacola (CIN) in 2016 and made his Major League debut with the Reds on Aug. 1, 2018.

Nieves (heck-mart nee-YEV-es) enters his 3rd season in the Mariners organization and his 2nd with Modesto, after serving as Third Base/Catching Coach for the Nuts last year. In 2022, he served as a coach for the Rookie Dominican Summer League Mariners. Prior to joining the organization, he served as a baseball operations assistant in the Dominican Republic for the Detroit Tigers. Nieves played baseball at Ottawa University (KS) from 2017-18.

Cowan (COW-in) enters his first season as a full-time coach after serving as a player-coach in the Mariners organization in 2023. The former infielder played 9 seasons of minor league ball (2013-19, ’21-22), including 8 in the Mariners system. The Seattle native was selected by Seattle in the 37th round of the 2013 MLB First-Year Player Draft out of Kentlake High School in Kent, WA.

Witt returns for his 2nd season as Modesto’s Pitching Coach. Prior to joining the organization, he served as Pitching Coach for the DSL Orioles in 2022. Before his stint in Baltimore’s organization, he worked at Driveline Baseball in Kent, Washington during 2021. He coached summer ball in Pierre, South Dakota for 3 seasons (2018-20) and pitched collegiately at West Hills Community College (CA).

Briggs joins the Mariners organization after spending the last 2 seasons (2022-23) as Strength & Conditioning staff in the Milwaukee Brewers organization. Wooten returns for his 2nd season as Modesto’s Athletic Trainer, previously spending time in the Orioles system.

PORTS TEAM UP WITH CECIL FIELDER FOR HITTING CLINIC IN JULY

Ports Fans,

We are excited to be hosting a hitting clinic for the 2024 season with former Major League All-Star and World Series Champion Cecil Fielder, taking place on July 27th and 28th at Banner Island Ballpark!

The two-day hitting clinic will be held from 9am to 12pm each day at Banner Island Ballpark where players from the current Ports roster will assist Fielder in providing individual instruction to each participant over the two days.

As part of the two-day clinic, Fielder will also be in attendance for the Ports Saturday, July 27th game against the Fresno Grizzlies throwing out the ceremonial first pitch. There will also be an autograph session during the game from the 2nd inning through the 7th inning. Autographs will be free with a ticket and attendance at the game. Tickets for the game will be released soon.

The cost of the clinic will be $200 and is for ages 8-15 with a maximum of 60 participants.

To register for the clinic, click the link below or please contact Ports Community Relations Manager, James Cole, at 209-644-1900 or email [email protected]. The slots are expected to fill up quickly for this unique opportunity.

REGISTER HERE

STOCKTON PORTS NAME NAME CHRIS ZAVAGLIA AS ASSISTANT GM

Press release:

STOCKTON, Calif. – The Stockton Ports are excited to announce the promotion of Chris Zavaglia to become the Assistant General Manager after spending the 2022 and 2023 seasons as the team’s Director of Baseball Communications.

Zavaglia, 26, has been with the Ports since April of 2021 when he began his tenure as a seasonal Media and Videoboard Assistant. Following the 2021 season, Zavaglia was promoted to a full-time role as a Ticket Sales and Media Executive. Prior to the 2022 season, Zavaglia was promoted to the team’s Director of Baseball Communications where he has excelled for the past two years.

“It’s an honor to receive this opportunity,” said the newly named Assistant General Manager Chris Zavaglia. “I’m excited to continue to deliver and help the Stockton Ports succeed as much as possible. It’s been an amazing three seasons here and I’m looking forward to working with my amazing staff to deliver the best entertainment possible in the San Joaquin Valley.”

Prior to joining the Ports Front Office, Zavaglia previously worked with Cal State Maritime Academy as a Sports Information Assistant, starting off as an intern in mid-2018. In June of 2020, he was hired as the media manager for the Independent Baseball Affiliate Vallejo Admirals. He has also previously served as one of the play-by-play voices for the Sacramento State Hornets baseball team, the Vallejo Admirals, and Cal Maritime basketball and soccer.

“7th Inning Stretch is delighted to honor Chris with this very well-deserved promotion to Assistant General Manager of the Stockton Ports today,” said Ports General Manager, Jordan Feneck. “Chris has proved day in and day out that he deserves this new role, and I am excited to watch him continue to flourish. He is passionate about our company and wants to see our team succeed, and I am thankful to be working alongside him.”

Zavaglia is looking forward to his next step of growth within the company and is looking forward to continuing to succeed in this new role.

“I want to thank the Stockton Ports, Jordan Feneck, Pat Filippone and the entire 7th Inning Stretch ownership for this incredible opportunity,” Zavaglia went on to add. “I am thrilled to be a part of the Stockton Ports family and look forward to continue creating exciting memories for our fans at Banner Island Ballpark.”

VISALIA RAWHIDE 2024 COACHING STAFF ANNOUNCED

The Visalia Rawhide sent out a press release on January 8th with the 20204 coaching staff listed:

Diamondbacks announce Minor League coaching assignments

The Rawhide know who will be calling the shots from the dugout during the 2024 season! We will be welcoming back:

Manager: Dee Garner
Pitching Coach: Tyler Mark.

Joining the staff for their first year in Visalia are:
Hitting Coach: Brad Marcelino
Bench Coach: Jaime Del Valle
Trainer: Cat Widay
Strength and Conditioning: Wacy Crenshaw

The Rawhide will take the field for the first time in 2024 on April 9th. Individual tickets will go on sale March 5th. Membership packages are available now at RawhideBaseball.com.

RAWHIDE FACILITY UPGRADE BATTLE

The Visalia Rawhide released a statement last week addressing the facility upgrades that have been mandated by MLB for all minor league clubs. At issue is who should pay for the upgrades, the team or the city of Visalia. The two parties headed to court in November and a judge declined to make a ruling on December 22nd, stating that the lease in place did not anticipate the mandated upgrades.

On January 6th, Rawhide owner Sam Sigal asserted that the city is required to pay for the upgrades.

There is quite a bit of back-and-forth on this issue, with the city charging that team ownership agreed to MLB’s mandated facility upgrades without the city’s knowledge.

More to come.

 

FLASHBACK: SAN JOSE AT MODESTO TICKET 2012