Jump to content
Brewer Fanatic

Coaching / Front Office Thread: Latest - Frank Kremblas on Brewer Pre-Game

Mass Haas

First, a link to the now-closed 2005 coaching thread, which had several feature articles in an eventful season:




I'd imagine we'll hear more soon in an off- season that will likely see some minimal shake-up in this regard. West Virginia needs a new pitching coach with Jim Rooney sliding back into the organizatioanl coordinator's role. Will everyone else be back? Probably not, but at least for now, Huntsville's intact:


Link while active, text follows --




Stars get Money back as Huntsville manager

Ex-Brewers All-Star glad to return for second season


Times Sports Staff markcolumn@aol.com


The cows were mooing.


It was early Saturday afternoon and Don Money was hurrying to change into work clothes. The cows on his farm outside Vineland, N.J., were hungry and Money had just arrived from the airport, flying home from Milwaukee and the Brewers' organizational meetings.


It was in Milwaukee that the news became official:


Money, the 58-year-old former major league All-Star infielder and one of the most storied players in Brewers history, will be returning for his second season as Huntsville Stars manager.


"I'm very happy about that,'' Money said Saturday before heading out to the fields. "Last year was my first year (in Double-A) and it was trial and error. Things will be a little different. But I'm happy to be coming back.''


In fact, the entire 2005 staff is coming back:


Sandy Guerrero, who lives in Huntsville with wife Jessica, will be back for his fourth season as hitting coach.


Rich Sauveur will be back for his second season as pitching coach.


Dave Yeager, who makes his home in Athens, will be back as trainer.


It is expected that former Stars manager Frank Kremblas and ex-Stars pitching coach Stan Kyles will return to Triple-A Nashville, where they led the Sounds to the Pacific Coast League championship.


"I'm excited that Don's coming back,'' Stars general manager Tom Van Schaack said. "We had a good relationship, on and off the field, and I'm sure it'll be even better.''


The Stars will open their 2006 season on April 6 at Mississippi, with the home opener April 11 against Birmingham.


Money managed six seasons at Beloit before coming to the Stars last season. With a young club hampered by promotions of several key players, Huntsville finished 60-79, the worst record since 1988.


Money was inducted last summer into the Brewers' "Walk of Fame,'' one of 12 members; others include Commissioner Bud Selig, the Brewers' former owner, and Hall of Famers Hank Aaron, Rollie Fingers and Robin Yount.


He batted .264 for his major league career, with 169 homers and 690 RBIs. In 1977, he had a banner year with a .279 average, 25 homers and 83 RBIs. He was on the Brewers' 1982 World Series club.


Money and wife Sharon have two grown children, Don Jr. and Shannon, and are grandparents of five.


His promise Saturday that "things will be a little different'' was a continuation of an old conversation.


Late one night, an hour after a game during the Stars' final homestand, he sat at the desk in his office, in a blue T-shirt and his uniform pants.


Money began a litany of "ifs'' - a list of "if I come back next season'' vows. There would be things he'd do differently.


He had given his players too much freedom. He had assumed they were more fundamentally sound than they were. He didn't think, as a whole, they had the proper mental approach to the game.


"If I come back,'' began one vow, "they can forget those cell phones. No more phone calls after they get to the stadium.''


The "ifs" can now officially become a "when.''

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Recommended Posts

  • Replies 71
  • Created
  • Last Reply

As a reminder, here's the September 5th end-of-season conversation with Don Money again:


Link while active, text follows:




Nine Questions for a Star

Mark McCarter, Huntsville Times


Don Money, a former major league all-star, is wrapping up his first season as Huntsville's manager. On Friday, two hours before game time, he was at his desk, signing baseball cards that collectors had sent to him. That seemed like a good start for the first of Nine Questions with Don Money.


1. You're signing autographs for all these people who have mailed in requests. Whose autographs do you have?


When I went to games (as a kid), you didn't get down to the field the way they do today. And it wasn't that big a deal. When I was a player, I got Mrs. Babe Ruth on a ball when she was at Milwaukee one year. I got some Hall of Famers I played with and against, Rollie Fingers, Robin (Yount) and (Paul) Molitor. But not a lot of them.


2. What do you think fans most misunderstand about your job?


The pitching side of it. Because you can see guys hit. You look at the board and see their averages.


We know who is available to pitch, and for how long, that night. They come to the park aned see five or six guys sitting down there in the bullpen, they're thinking they can pitch.


A guy walks two in a row and gives up a base hit, they're saying, "Let's get somebody else up." "Take this guy out. He can't get the ball over the plate." I wish I could. In the majors, they can. They carry two more pitchers and don't have guys on a pitch count. But I don't have that (luxury).


3. What about away from the field?


How much time we spend at the ballpark. I come here every day at 12:30. I know that's a lot earlier than if we have to be on the field. But I have to be ready for early work at 2:30 or 3 o'clock.


I sit here and get my lineups made out. People say how long can that take, but sometimes I have to find out who's healthy, who's pitching for the other team, things like that.


It's not just showing up at 5 for a 7 o'clock game. When the game's over, I have the computer work I have to put in (filing game reports on each player to Milwaukee) and if I rush to get it done, I can probably get out in an hour, but not usually.


4. What are you going to do this winter?




Get away from ball. That's what you usually do. I get home, I'm a homebody. We don't go a lot of places. I'm not a guy who says let's take a week's vacation here or there.


My vacation is to go down to Maryland for a weekend and go crabbing. My brother and his family are down there. My wife's (Sharon) family is down there. We make a weekend of it, three or four days. Go crabbing on a Friday morning and eat 'em on Saturday.


5. You're a big TV guy. In the off-season, what teams will you follow?


When I go home, I don't watch a lot of baseball. I'll watch golf. If the Brewers are on I'll watch.


I'm a Redskins fan, because I grew up in Washington. I followed them when they were good and bad. I followed them back when they had that big white feather down the middle of their helmets. I couldn't name anybody on the team right now, but I could when the Hawgs were there. But I still follow them.


6. When you think back on the season, what are the good things you'll reflect on?


We had guys move up, guys who played well enough to move up. Hopefully we had some part of that. (Dana) Eveland moved up. (Mitch) Stetter moved up. We had both of those guys last year in low-A and one guy is in the big leagues and one's in Triple-A.


That's our job, to get guys to the next level. Hopefully we've done a decent job in that respect.


7. What about the negative side?


Not winning more games. It's a combination. Sometimes pitching was good, hitting wasn't. Sometimes the hitting was good and pitching wasn't.


8. We know nothing is set yet, but would you be OK with a return to Huntsville next season?




9. So, what will the 2006 Stars be like?


We don't know if some of those guys (at Class A ball) are ready to come here. Some of these guys here will definitely be back. They might need two years, three years in Double-A.


Next year, I know I'm going to change some things. This year, you live and learn. The young men down in the other end of the clubhouse say "Treat us like men and we'll get our work done." I tried that. Next year, we're going to do it my way.


You always have guys that want to push the rules right to the end. You tell them "Don't walk to within a foot of the edge,'' and they're 12 and a quarter inches away. Sometimes, you overlook that. We're going to drop the hammer on them, be a little tougher.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 3 weeks later...

From Adam McCalvy of MLB.com:




...the Brewers shook up their baseball operations staff.


Five officials were formally given new positions: Jack Zduriencik as special assistant to the general manager and director of amateur scouting, Tom Flanagan as director of administration for player development and scouting, Tony Blengino as assistant director of amateur scouting, Scott Martens as business manager for player development and Minor League operations and Tony Diggs as assistant director of player development.


The club also announced formally that player development director Reid Nichols would re-locate to Phoenix, where he will work out of Maryvale Baseball Park and focus on the lower levels of the organization. Nichols said last week that assistant GM Gord Ash would focus on the Double-A and Triple-A levels.


"The Milwaukee Brewers place the highest priority on scouting and player development," GM Doug Melvin said in a statement. "All of our efforts begin with the work of an outstanding staff, and today's moves speak very highly of all of the individuals involved."


Zduriencik is one of the most highly regarded scouting directors in the game and has engineered each Brewers draft since 1999. In addition to the First-Year Player Draft, he will take on the added responsibility of Latin American scouting.


Congrats to all.


Tony Diggs' new position would mean that Brevard County will be assigned a new hitting coach for 2006.


Blengino's rise in the ranks was hinted at earlier this spring when he was "in the war room" for the June draft. Hey, I'm up for the newly-opened Area Scout for the Northeast if the position is available http://forum.brewerfan.net/images/smilies/wink.gif .


You wonder if Fernando Arango, Milwaukee?s Latin American scouting supervisor, will still be around given Jack Z.'s new Latin responsibilities.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The Brewers have announced some new hires for the player development and scouting departments. At the bottom of this link which announces the Chad Moeller signing:




Baseball ops hires five: The Brewers announced five new members of the baseball operations staff, including strength and conditioning specialist Rick Spenner, a Milwaukee native who spent the 2005 campaign with the Diamondbacks' Midwest League affiliate in South Bend, Ind. Spenner replaces Paul Anderson, who resigned at the end of the regular season.


The club also hired four scouts, including former Brewers catcher Jesse Levis, who will serve as Northeast area scout. Kevin Clouser was appointed Southwest area scout, Tim McIlvaine was named a scout in the Mid-Atlantic region and Charlie Sullivan will serve as area scout for South Florida and Puerto Rico.


Levis replaces Blengino, whom as Mass Haas noted above was named as the team's Ass't. Scouting Director. Clouser replaces Brian Johnson, McIlvaine replaces Grant Brittain while Sullivan replaces Larry Pardo.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Jesse Levis managed the Mets' Appalachian Rookie League short-season club in Kingsport, Tennessee in 2005. He lives in the Philly area, so coaching / scouting -- either way, away from home quite a bit, although scouting is certainly more of a full-year gig:


K-Mets manager Levis back where he started - in the Appy League

Author: JOHN MOOREHOUSE, Kingsport Times-News

Date Published: June 18, 2005


KINGSPORT - Foreshadowed by a trip to the movies, Jesse Levis' stint as a player in the Appalachian League lasted only a few weeks.


Expect him to stick around for the duration this summer.


In his first managerial assignment, as the new skipper for the Kingsport Mets, Levis' coaching career has led him right back to where he started as a professional ballplayer.


"I started in this league 17 years ago and I've come full circle," said Levis, who played for the Burlington Indians in 1989. "I'm excited to get going."


He just hopes the road accommodations have improved. In an interview Friday, Levis recalled a nightmarish trip to Bluefield to face the Orioles.


"The hotel was horrible," Levis said. "The lights didn't work at the stadium, there were rats, it was awful."


Levis spent three weeks in the Appalachian League before getting promoted - all the way to Triple-A.


"There was an injury, and the major league team was playing an exhibition game and the front office wanted to see me play," Levis recalled. "I had a good game and went right back to the Appy League. ... Two weeks later they did send me to the Carolina League, though."


It wasn't the last time Levis changed addresses - not by a long shot. He went on to play 16 seasons for seven different organizations: the Indians, Milwaukee Brewers, Tampa Bay Devil Rays, Atlanta Braves, Cincinnati Reds and New York Mets. Levis saw time in the big leagues in nine seasons - mostly as a backup catcher - before a shoulder injury forced retirement.


It wasn't the first significant injury for Levis, just the last. His first rotator cuff injury halted a promising string of three straight seasons in the majors - all with Milwaukee.


"I guess you can call me a journeyman after that," Levis said. "It was hard because I had established myself almost as a platoon player. Mike Matheny and I were catching in Milwaukee and I was doing well at the time of the injury. It was really a depressing time when you get hurt like that.


"Like I always tell the kids, if you're a backup player, you're not a superstar, don't get injured," he said. "It's very hard to work yourself back into the role you had because there's a guy behind you ready to take your spot."


Rather than go sell real estate or open a restaurant or sit by the pool, Levis got right back on the diamond as a coach for the Mets.


"Once I was done they had me working with the catchers in Florida," said Levis, who was with the Mets' Triple-A Norfolk team at the time of his career-ending injury. "When I have time off, it's not good for me. I really like to continue the baseball aspect. Baseball's been a big part of my life for 30 years now - since I was 5."


Whatever role a K-Met finds himself in this summer, chances are Levis has been there himself. He's been healthy and he's been hurt. He's been promoted and he's been demoted. He's been released and he's been re-signed - making two stops in both Cleveland and Milwaukee.


"It seems like he knows how we feel," said Kingsport outfielder Cory Wells. "He's just real relaxed and he wants us to go out there and just play our hardest."


It's left Levis with a firm belief of what's really important to succeed in baseball.


Here's a hint: It has little to do with bulging biceps or 98 mph heaters.


"I believe the mental makeup is so important, the toughness," he said. "There's so much failure in this game that you really have to maintain a positive attitude and stay focused on your ultimate goal."


That can be a tall order at the rookie league level.


"I always tell the kids the player that handles the adversity the best is gonna move. Because everybody's pretty even talent-wise," Levis noted. "If you can handle the adversity, the ups and downs of this game on a daily basis, be able to keep your composure and keep getting better, you're going to move on."


To help that process, Levis is taking at least some of his cues from a pair of former mentors. He credited Houston Astros manager Phil Garner, who skippered the Brewers during Levis' first stint there, for the way he treated role players.


"He would make it a point every day to say hello, even though I wasn't starting," Levis recalled. "I really appreciated that and I definitely will make sure that I do that to the guys who aren't playing regularly."


Then there's family friend Steve Kolinsky, who helped Levis keep his emotions in check on the diamond.


"I was friends with his sons and he really propelled me to college and professional baseball," said Levis, who grew up in Philadelphia. "I was a baby when I was younger as far as really showing my emotions. After he had a positive influence on me, I really became a really levelheaded ballplayer. I think that helped as far as taking me to the next level."


After years of fighting for playing time, all of Levis' K-Mets will have a chance to showcase their skills. That's the usual order of things in the Appy League, which stresses development.


"They're gonna learn how to do things the right way at this level," he vowed. "If they can't do it at the rookie level, there's no way they're gonna be able to do it at the next level. They're gonna have to learn how to play the game.


"Hopefully they'll get better fast - and I think they're pretty good right now - but hopefully we'll see them get more and more adjusted to this league and hopefully that'll result in wins."


So here he is, back in the league where his playing career began. This time, however, any cinematic harbingers are absent.


Shortly before the 1989 amateur draft, Levis went to see "Major League," the classic baseball comedy.


"I saw the movie and I said ?Wow, it'd be tough getting drafted by those guys.' Two weeks later, there I was - an Indian," said Levis, who was attending North Carolina at the time. "At the time I was like ?Wow, this is horrible.' But then I realized there was an opportunity to move up fast.


"Then in '94, when ?Major League II' came out, all the Indians at spring training got to go to a premiere in Winter Haven, Fla.," he said. "That was a cool moment right there."


There won't be such pomp and circumstance for Levis' managerial debut Tuesday against the Johnson City Cardinals - but he wouldn't mind seeing his coaching career end with some big league-level red-carpet treatment.



Link to comment
Share on other sites

2005 Brevard County Manager John Tamargo won't be back in the organization in 2006, as he will manage Tampa Bay's AAA team in Durham:




With Manatee hitting coach Tony Diggs now the Brewers' assistant director of player development, only Brevard pitching coach Fred Dabney's status is in question regarding the Manatees' 2005 staff.


The Brewers usually announce their entire minor league field management team in one press release, most often in January or even early February.


Guessing the only reason we know about the return of the entire Huntsville staff is because the Huntsville Times' Mark McCarter likely picked up the phone and called Don Money himself after the Brewers' organizational meetings in Milwaukee last month.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 2 weeks later...

No surprises here...


Nashville Press Release:




Kremblas, Entire Coaching Staff Return To Sounds In 2006


Frank Kremblas, who piloted the Nashville Sounds to the 2005 Pacific Coast League championship, will return to Music City for his second year of service as the club?s manager in 2006, joined by the remainder of his coaching staff from the first title-winning Nashville club in 23 years.


Hitting coach Gary Pettis and pitching coach Stan Kyles each return to tutor up-and-coming players at the Milwaukee Brewers? Triple-A affiliate in Nashville during the upcoming season.


Trainer Jeff Paxson will also rejoin the Sounds for a second season in 2006, his fourth as the Brewers? Class AAA trainer.


Kremblas ? the 21st manager in the Sounds? 29-year franchise history ? led the Sounds to their second division title in the past three seasons along with the club?s second berth in the league finals in as many campaigns in 2005.


He ranks 11th in team history with his 75 managerial victories and could move to as high as 5th on the all-time wins list in 2006 (Marty Brown currently ranks fifth with 136 career wins). The 39-year-old, who enters his second season as a Triple-A manager and 7th year overall as an instructor in the Brewers organization, has compiled a 423-409 record (.508) in his eight seasons as a minor league manager.


Pettis ? a five-time Gold Glove-winning outfielder during his 11-year major-league career ? followed up the Sounds? championship season by piloting the Peoria Javelinas to a 17-14 record in the 2005 Arizona Fall League, his first career managerial service. His AFL club included 2005 Sounds Prince Fielder, Corey Hart, Vinny Rottino, and Mitch Stetter. Pettis returns to Nashville for his second year with the Sounds as well as within the Brewers organization.


Kyles, serving his sixth season in the Brewers organization, will log his third year as Triple-A pitching coach in 2006 when he returns to the Nashville bench. His 2005 Sounds pitching staff produced a franchise-record and league-leading 1,117 strikeouts and finished 4th in the Pacific Coast League with a 4.43 ERA.


Season tickets, mini-plan packages, and group outing plans for the 2006 season are currently on sale. Contact the Sounds at 242-4371 or visit www.nashvillesounds.com to order or for details.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Brewers won Will Carroll's Dick Martin Award for best medical staff . . .


The Brewers had unquestionably the best overall year health-wise. They placed no higher than 28th in any category, performing extremely well in all areas. Milwaukee remained extremely healthy coming into August, having placed just three players on the disabled list up to that point. Even more impressively, only one player remained on the DL entering August (Jeff Cirillo, fractured left hand). By mid-August, injuries briefly claimed sparkplug center fielder Brady Clark (16 days) and relief pitchers Matt Wise (19 Days) and Julio Santana (40 days). Ace Ben Sheets was the only player to make multiple trips to the disabled list--early in April for vestibular neuritis of left ear on and then in late August with a torn latissimus dorsi muscle. Sheets accounted for most of the financial damage, his DL salary accounting for roughly 84% of the overall dollars lost. Aside from this small band of injured brothers, the Brewers did a fantastic job of keeping their club healthy throughout the season.


Our congratulations go to Roger Caplinger, Dr. William Raasch, Paul Anderson, Dan Wright,and the rest of the Milwaukee Brewers organization. It?s important to note that while this is awarded specifically to the medical staff, the commitment to greater team health comes from an entire organization; the best successes come when the medical staff gets a voice at the table when decisions are being made at the draft, in trades and in signings.



Did you present the Dick Martin Award at the Winter Meetings?

The Brewers were kind enough to allow me to present the Award at one of their team functions. GM Doug Melvin and AGM Gord Ash were there, as well as the field staff, to see Roger Caplinger get the award he so richly deserves. (Quick note ? PBATS gave their award this season to Tampa Bay, so I?m not the only one that?s recognizing these guys.) The DMA might never be the Cy Young or even a lesser award, but teams are beginning to notice and many ask me how their teams rate. One GM stopped me in the lobby and said it was now an organizational goal to win that award in the next three years. I don?t do many pictures in this column, but Roger Caplinger and Dan Wright deserve the recognition. Ned Yost is on the far right and you can figure out who the bald guy on the left is.




No comment on Ned's tie.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 1 month later...

Bobby Randall, hitting coach at Helena in 2005 and AAA Indianapolis in 2004, won't be back -- he'll be managing the Lincoln (Neb.) Saltdogs of the independent American Association:




While we do know the staffs for AAA and AA, the rest of the organization is up for grabs, what with waiting to hear about potential returnees and several vacant spots at the lowest levels.


We see this every year, though. Nearly every organization in baseball releases their organizational coaching hierarchy top-to-bottom before the Brewers get around to doing so; most clubs have already announced their staffs as of today.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

 BASEBALL OPERATIONS Assistant General Manager Gord Ash [b]Senior Special Assistant to the General Manager Larry Haney[/b] Director - Team Travel Dan Larrea [b]Special Assistant to the G.M./Director of Player Development/Training Center Reid Nichols[/b] Assistant Director - Player Development/Training Center Tony Diggs Business Manager/Player Development & Minor League Ops Scott Martens Player Development Assistant Mark Mueller [b]Special Assistant to the G.M./Director of Pro Scouting Dick Groch[/b] [b]Special Assistant to the G.M./Director of Amateur Scouting Jack Zduriencik[/b] Director - Employee Assistance Program Tim Hewes Director - Administration/Player Development & Scouting Tom Flanagan Assistant Director - Amateur Scouting Tony Blengino Administrative Assistant - Scouting Amanda Klecker Coaching Assistant/Digital Media Coordinator Joe Crawford Coordinator of Advance Scouting & Baseball Research Karl Mueller Baseball Analyst/Research Dave Lawson Baseball Research Assistant Michael Schwartz Baseball Operations Assistant Zack Minasian

Haney's title does seem odd when you realize you never hear about his contributions. A search of Journal-Sentinel archives refers to Haney as an "organization scout" as recently as August 2005. He was also the guy credited with pursuing the Russell Branyan for short cash acquisition. I always thought he was involved more in the pro side of scouting, but not above Dick Groch.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 2 weeks later...

From FloridaToday:


Ramon Aviles, a member of the Philadelphia Phillies team that won the 1980 World Series, will manage the Brevard County Manatees this season.


Aviles, who played parts of four seasons in the big leagues, advances to high Class A after managing Milwaukee's low Class A team in West Virginia last season. Willy Aviles will be hitting coach and Fred Dabney returns as pitching coach.


There's no record of Willy Aviles (Ramon's brother?) as a professional ballplayer; it's likely his entire career was spent in Puerto Rico.


Since many of the West Virginia players will move up to Brevard this season, they'll be spending a second season with Ramon Aviles.


This is an important season to impress West Virginia management about an extension of their Player Development Contract with the Brewers, because their will be no shortage of suitors for the incredible new stadium in Charleston next fall. In that regard, bringing in a fresh face to lead the Power after their poor showing in 2005 may be a smart move, although we don't believe Aviles had any difficult issues with Charleston management or media.


At this point, only West Virginia, Helena, and Arizona staffs have yet to be named. For the other three squads, staffs have been identified by local media only. The Brewers have yet to formally announce any of their staffs.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I imagine consideration for this move was the continued development of Alcides Escobar and Hernan Iribarren -- you'd think the middle infield experience and Latin American background of the Aviles' will assist in that regard; Fred Dabney's given every indication to be a solid pitching guru -- be as the Manatees coach in '05 or organizational coordinator prior...
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Helena Press Release:




Eddie Ball Returns For One More Summer


HELENA, MT - The Helena Brewers announce today that 2005 Skipper, Eddie Sedar, will return as field manager for the 2006 season.


Sedar, who played professionally for eight seasons in the White Sox organization, begins his 16th season in the Brewers farm system where he has worked as field coordinator, roving instructor and minor league field manager in Ogden (1998-2001) and Helena (2003 & 2005).


In 2003, Sedar was named Pioneer League Manager of the Year. In both stints in Helena, his clubs have posted not only the league best record, but won both halves of the Northern Division. His overall record as a manager is 219-186.


?I am very happy to return to Helena for another summer,? said Sedar via phone from his home in Ogden, UT. ?I wouldn?t bet against us having another strong team in 2006.?


Joining Sedar will be pitching coach Mark Littell and bench coach Johnny Narron.


Littell, a native of Mesa, Arizona, is also familiar with the Pioneer League having worked in Helena since Professional Baseball made its return to the Queen City in 2003 and Ogden in 2002.


Narron returns to Helena as bench coach for 2006, a role he maintained in 2003 as well. Narron managed Helena in 2004 guiding the club to a respectable 39-36 record. In 2005 he worked as bench coach for the West Virginia Power and the Brevard County Manatees.


?We are excited to have Ed Sedar back at the helm in Helena. There is no better manager to introduce amateur players to professional baseball," said Reid Nichols, Director of Player Development. "He brings passion and leadership for his players and staff. The fans will be pleased at the effort they will see on the field.?



Link to comment
Share on other sites

Great to see John Curtis is feeling better...


Link while active, text follows:




Curtis to tutor Power pitchers

Jack Bogaczyk

Charleston Daily Mail Sports Editor


John Curtis is more than OK.


He's got the Power back.


Curtis, the West Virginia Power's pitching coach last season until he was struck in the head and seriously injured by a line drive in an Aug. 6 batting practice accident, will return to Charleston's South Atlantic League baseball club as a coach in 2006.


The parent Milwaukee Brewers have sent the Power a new manager, Mike Guerrero.


Curtis, a 15-season veteran of five Major League clubs, will be joined on the staff by hitting coach Mike Lum, who has spent the past 15 seasons as the Chicago White Sox's minor league hitting coordinator.


Curtis, 57, was hospitalized for five days in Greensboro, N.C., after being hit in the back of the head by a line drive as he briefly left the protection behind a short-outfield "shag screen," as he hit outfield fungoes during Power batting practice before an Aug. 6 SAL game.


The former Major League pitcher was rushed to a hospital, and experienced lost feeling and movement in his lower left arm. He was diagnosed with swelling and a bruise on his brain, with symptoms similar to those of a stroke, and he underwent extensive therapy for the next few months.


"It's been a steady, but slow, improvement," Curtis said from his Long Beach, Calif., home on Monday. "I was told it would be a long recovery process, and it's been frustrating at times, but to get where I am this quickly has been awfully encouraging."


Curtis listed his recovery as "probably 80-85 percent," and said "the only thing I haven't really tried is to throw yet, but I'm confident I'll get to that point soon." He reports to Brewers minor league spring training March 9 in Maryvale, Ariz., a Phoenix suburb.


After he left the Greensboro hospital, he returned to Charleston for two days, then headed home to California. Once there, Milwaukee asked him to work in the Instructional League in November at the club's Arizona facilities. Curtis got plenty of physical therapy.


"It was about an hour each day," he said. "It wasn't just a matter of what I was doing, it just took time. Once the swelling in my brain went down, as the pressure was relieved, I could start using my hand more.


"There are a few things where I'm still clumsy like getting my car keys out my pocket, but I can type, so I can file reports (a daily occurrence for a pro baseball coach and manager).


"I can do everything I need to do to function as a coach, but I want to pitch batting practice. I enjoy that, and we'll get there eventually."


Curtis pitched for Boston, St. Louis, San Francisco, San Diego and California from 1970-84. The left-hander posted an 89-97 record and 3.96 ERA in 438 games (199 starts).


"I'm lucky, period," he said, "but I'm really lucky I'm coming back to Charleston.


"I had a great time there last year, and after I was injured, the people there who wrote to me and sent messages, they were so encouraging and positive. I haven't forgotten that."


Guerrero, who has 11 seasons of experience as a manager in the lower minors, replaces Ramon Aviles as the Power skipper.


A native of the Dominican Republic, Guerrero, 38, has managed Milwaukee rookies in the Dominican and Arizona leagues.


His Arizona team finished 22-34 last summer.


Guerrero, who played nine minor league seasons (1987-95) as high as Class AA in the Milwaukee and Kansas City systems, has a 397-278 career record as a manager.


Aviles, who guided West Virginia to a 60-78 record in the Brewers' first season as the Class A team's parent club, has moved up to manage Brevard County in the advanced Class A Florida State League.


The Power was 25-45 in the first half last season and 35-33 in the second half.


Lum, 60, played 15 seasons (1967-81) in the Majors, mostly with Atlanta and Cincinnati, finishing his career in 1981 with the Chicago Cubs.


He played for the Reds' 1976 World Series title team, after being traded by the Braves for shortstop Darrel Chaney.


One of the rare Hawaiians to play in the bigs, the Honolulu native was best known for his pinch-hitting.


Lum, an outfielder and first baseman, appeared in 1,517 games (the most by a Hawaiian), batting .247 with 90 career homers and 431 RBI. As a pinch-hitter, he was 103-for-418.


Lum's best year was 1973, when he batted .294 with 16 homers and 83 RBI for Atlanta.


He played one season (1982) in Japan, with the Taiyo Whales, then began his minor league coaching years in the South Atlantic League with the Braves' system in 1983, as a roving hitting instructor.


Lum, a suburban Atlanta resident, moved to the White Sox's minor leagues for 1983-84, then spent a season as the Chicago hitting coach in the Majors.


He moved to San Francisco's farm teams for 1986, then joined the Royals for three years -- the final two as the big league club's hitting coach.


He returned to the Chisox system in 1990, and has been the club's minor league hitting coordinator until being hired by Milwaukee this offseason.


Johnny Narron, who finished last season as the Power hitting coach, is returning to Helena in the short-season Pioneer League as hitting coach.


The Brewers announced 2005 Power trainer Alan Diamond also will return to the club.


The Power opens the 2006 season on April 6, the start of a four-game homestand against Delmarva at Appalachian Power Park.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Among the new nuggets:


The Brevard County Aviles boys are not related.


The Brewers have yet to name a manager of the rookie Arizona Brewers, but the other positions are set. Steve Cline will begin his sixth season as pitching coach at Arizona, his 26th season as a pitching coach in the Minor Leagues and his 11th year in the Brewers' farm system. Joel Youngblood will return as hitting coach/video coordinator for his third season with Arizona. The Arizona staff also includes first-year pitching coach Yoel Monzon, coach Marlon Nava and second-year trainer Jason Keas.


In addition to Minor League field coordinator and outfield and base running instructor (and Helena Manager) Ed Sedar, the Brewers announced the following Minor League coordinators and instructors: Jim Skaalen, hitting coordinator; Jim Rooney, pitching coordinator; Norberto Martin, roving infield instructor; Charlie Greene, roving catching instructor; Frank Neville, medical coordinator -- all the above in returning positions, Kenny Patterson, physical therapist; Jeff Mester, Minor League strength and conditioning coordinator and Felipe Mandurraga, Double-A and Triple-A strength and conditioning coach.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Some background on new Manatee hitting coach Willie Aviles -- article from 2003:


Link while active, text follows:




Osceola Graduate Aviles To Coach In Giants Organization



KISSIMEE -- Six years into a pro baseball career, a Giant step for Willie Aviles also brings a change of uniforms.


Severing ties with Cleveland's minor-league organization for the first time since 1996, the 1985 Osceola High School graduate is headed to Hagerstown, Md., to be a hitting instructor and infield coach for San Francisco's Class A South Atlantic League franchise.


"The Giants were looking for bilingual coaches and found me," said Aviles, 33, a former All-Orange Belt Conference shortstop that toiled two years as a New York Yankees minor-leaguer before taking up a stopwatch instead of a glove. "It's more money and a better opportunity for what I want to do in pro baseball."


Aviles' playing days are history, but a desire to manage or become a big-league general manager remains a dream, not too distant from what his parents sought when they moved from Puerto Rico to Brooklyn, N.Y. in the mid-1960s.


"I've been chasing that opportunity for some time," said Aviles, who spends off-seasons crunching numbers instead of fastballs as a finance officer for Central Florida's booming home construction industry.


"This doesn't happen to often for guys coming out of high-school coaching with no professional experience," said Aviles, who finds time after hours to work as a volunteer assistant baseball coach at Dr. Phillips High School.


The jump from athlete to coach came easy for Aviles. He played a season at Miami-Dade North Community College after leaving Osceola, then signed as a free agent with the Yankees.


But, after two seasons with Oneonta (N.Y.) of the New York-Penn League, Aviles came to realize light-hitting infielders aren't in big demand at the major-league level.


Aviles had a chance to sign on with Independent League Salt Lake Trappers, but came to realize it was time to move on with his life. Going back to college, he secured a degree in finance at the University of South Alabama.


However, baseball was never far from his heart. Back at his alma mater in 1991, Aviles worked as a volunteer under coaches Rob Beach and Scott Birchler before the Indians came knocking on his door in 1996 in search of a bilingual instructor.


"I love this game," he said. "My goal always has been a baseball front-office job. Going with the Giants is a step in that direction."



Link to comment
Share on other sites

January 2005 article on new Power hitting coach Mike Lum, discusses some of his philosophies:


Link while active, text follows:




Hitting it big

Mike Lum has found success as a pro baseball batting instructor

By Al Chase, Honolulu Star Bulletin


Mike Lum is enjoying his annual winter visit to Hawaii, relaxing at home, visiting with friends.


However, the longtime Chicago White Sox hitting coordinator for player development for all minor-league teams is relaxing more then he would like. The 59-year-old football and baseball standout from Roosevelt had right hip replacement surgery seven weeks ago.


The pain was so bad prior to the operation, he could hardly walk. Since the surgery, there has been no pain. However, Lum still hasn't been able to enjoy a round of golf, although he did spend a day watching the action at the Sony Open.


He'll be ready to start his 17th season with the White Sox when spring training opens next month in Tucson, Ariz.


"I have six coaches working under me. Our job is to benefit the big-league team whether the players come through our system or through trades," Lum said. "Sometimes that means getting the players good enough so that another team is interested in them.


"We have a great staff. A lot of our coaches have been there for quite a while. I've hired some of the people I coached. I had Ken Williams (Chicago's senior vice president/general manager) in Double A and now he's my boss.


"It has been a very good life. I have been very fortunate, met a lot of good people in the business. You just have to work hard and do the best job you can. You are teaching a skill. There is a lot of repetition and it is time consuming."


Lum signed with the Milwaukee Braves after graduating from Roosevelt in 1963. He also had a football scholarship to Brigham Young, but that was before the NCAA allowed an athlete to be a pro in one sport and compete in college as an amateur in another.


The Braves assigned him to Waycross, Ga.


"What a culture shock. They had segregation then," Lum said.


His plan was to attend BYU each fall, but after his second season, the Braves invited Lum to instructional league.


"That was an honor in those days. It meant they thought something about you. I decided to stick with baseball," said Lum, who played in nine games for Atlanta at the end of the 1967 season as a 21-year-old.


His best season was 1973 when he hit .294 in 138 games with 16 home runs and 82 RBIs for Atlanta. He was traded to Cincinnati in 1976, spent three seasons with the Reds, came back to Atlanta in 1979 and '80 and split the 1981 season between the Braves and Chicago Cubs.


His final year as an active player was 1982 in Japan with the Taiyo Whales.


"I wanted to stay in the game. I loved it in Japan, but unfortunately, they didn't invite me back," Lum said. "I didn't have a lot of options at that point. Then Hank Aaron (Atlanta's minor-league farm director) called and asked me to come to spring training. I went and basically he created a position for me with the extended spring program. When that was over, I was assigned to a South Atlantic League team."


Lum became intrigued with the whole process of teaching hitting and the philosophy behind the art. He says hitting consists of balance, vision, rhythm and timing, all necessary for the movement of the body to swing a baseball bat and make contact with a ball traveling at high speeds through different planes.


"You know what you have been told, but having the patience to recognize flaws in a player's swing because everyone is different, that took me some time to develop," said Lum. "I think I've educated myself in biomechanics. I've learned a lot from Coop DeRenne (former Rainbow assistant coach and a professor in UH's department of kinesiology and leisure science). We talked a lot about his studies. It's how I helped myself help the kids."


He moved to the White Sox for the first time in 1984 after getting a call from Charlie Lau, a well-known hitting instructor. After the 1985 season, he spent a year with the San Francisco Giants, then three with Kansas City, including two as the Royals hitting coach before returning to the White Sox in 1990.


"Charlie was way ahead of his time in the teaching aspect. There were no videos. We learned through film. He didn't just think it up, he studied hitting," said Lum.


"Now, the first thing we do when a player comes into the organization is teach work ethic. We allow them to play with what they bring to the table. If a player hit .400 in high school, he must have done something right. In time, we make adjustments, not changes. Talking adjustments is more positive."


Lum is fortunate that Chicago's minor-league teams, with the exception of Great Falls, Mont., are located in the southeastern part of the United States, just a short flight from his home in an Atlanta suburb. His schedule has him on the road for two weeks, then it's a week off.


"When I come to town, I look at tapes with the coaches. We put together a plan to attack problems. Every player has a plan, a goal sheet," Lum said. "I'm not there to revamp a player. My job is to teach hitting coaches how to teach."


Lum lists two highlights from his 15-year career in the majors. The first was playing with the 1976 World Series champion Cincinnati Reds.


"There were quite a few future Hall of Famers (Johnny Bench, Joe Morgan, Tony Perez) on that team," Lum said.


The second was hitting three home runs in his first three at-bats against San Diego in the first game of a doubleheader in Atlanta.


"I came up the fourth time with the bases loaded and walked," Lum recalled.


Retirement? No way.


"I want to work until I'm 70. I enjoy what I'm doing, working with minor-league players. I enjoy sharing some of my experiences," said Lum, a member of the Hawaii Sports Hall of Fame.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 4 weeks later...

Adam McCalvy, MLB.com:


Ned Yost said that Charlie Greene, the Brewers' roving Minor League catching instructor, is expected to manage the Brewers rookie Arizona League affiliate this season. Greene is in camp working with the Brewers' young catchers.


I'd rather see Greene roving between Arizona, Helena, West Virginia, Brevard, and Huntsville...

Link to comment
Share on other sites


This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

The Twins Daily Caretaker Fund
The Brewer Fanatic Caretaker Fund

You all care about this site. The next step is caring for it. We’re asking you to caretake this site so it can remain the premier Brewers community on the internet. Included with caretaking is ad-free browsing of Brewer Fanatic.

  • Create New...