The Brewers announced their 2013 minor league coaching staffs today, and for the most part things will remain the same across the organization. That's especially true for the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers, who bring their entire coaching staff back in tact following 2012's Midwest League Championship.
Returning Wisconsin manager Matt Erickson, who grew up and lives in Appleton, said he told the organization he'd like to stay near home for another season.
"At the end of every year we get evaluated by our minor league director, Reid Nichols, and every year he asks about my short term and long term goals," Erickson said. "This year it was the same thing. Obviously things went well this summer and it was great to be a part of that, and I just told him that right now with my family and relationship I have with the Timber Rattlers it's a great fit for me and I don't wish to move."
Pitching coach Dave Chavarria, hitting coach Dusty Rhodes, trainer Jeff Paxson and strength and conditioning coach Christian Polega will all also return to Wisconsin for 2013, and Erickson praised the work they've done with the team to this point.
"Obviously when you get consistency among your staff you get a consistent message to your players. We had that last year and hopefully we can bring that to this year's ballclub," Erickson said.
Timber Rattlers president Rob Zerjav is also surprised and excited to have the full staff back.
"Getting the entire staff back that worked so well together, we didn't think that was going to happen, so the fact that they're all coming back is great. I couldn't be happier to have everybody coming back," Zerjav said.
Erickson's 2013 team figures to feature several new faces, and will also move into a freshly renovated facility. Work continues at Fox Cities Stadium this winter to add a club level, new team offices, clubhouses and restrooms.
"I'm excited to see the new facility that we get to play in, and I'm excited for the fans and our players," Erickson said.
Returning to the site of last year's success will certainly create some pressure for Erickson to repeat, but he's not feeling it at this point.
"I think there's more excitement than anything else," Erickson said. "Minor league baseball, especially at the low-A level, it's a different team every year. We'll have a completely new group of kids trying to do the same thing that the group did last year."
Erickson wasn't asked to coach in instructional ball this year, so he's been home in the Appleton area enjoying time with his family. He'll head down to Arizona to help out in camp this spring, and said he's assuming the call will be a little earlier than usual due to the World Baseball Classic.
"If they need me to help in any capacity I'm more than willing to go," Erickson said.
Brevard County's coaching staff also returns in tact from 2012. Changes in the organization include the following:
- Rick Tomlin, who was the Mets' minor league pitching coordinator in 2011, will take on that role for the Brewers in 2013. Lee Tunnell had held that role previously but is now on the major league staff as bullpen coach.
- 1982-83 Brewer Bob Skube will join Nashville's staff as a coach after coaching in the Padres organization for the last six seasons.
- 2012 Huntsville coach Dwayne Hosey is moving to Helena for 2013. His replacement with the Stars has not yet been announced. Hosey is replacing Don Money, who has been reassigned within the organization.
- The rookie league Helena Brewers will have a new manager, former AZL Brewer manager Tony Diggs. He replaces former Wisconsin and Brevard County manager Jeff Isom, who appears to have left the organization.
- The AZL Brewers' new manager is longtime minor league catcher Nestor Corredor. He had been managing the Brewers' Dominican League affiliate.