SAN FRANCISCO -- Changes are widespread in the Giants' Minor League managerial and coaching staffs for 2014, as teams from the top four classifications each featured at least one replacement or addition.
Triple-A Fresno manager Bob Mariano will work with a fresh pair of assistants: hitting coach Andy Skeels and pitching coach Dwight Bernard. Skeels enters his ninth season with the Giants organization, including the last six as manager with Class A Augusta, Advanced Class A San Jose and Double-A Richmond. He served as Augusta's hitting coach during his first two years with the Giants system. Skeels, who managed San Jose last year, also has been a hitting coach in the Expos, Dodgers and Rangers organizations.
Bernard has coached for 28 years, including the last 10 with Seattle's farm clubs. The former Major League reliever with the Mets and Brewers has spent seven of the last eight seasons (2006-09, 2011-13) with the Mariners' Triple-A Tacoma affiliate.
Russ Morman recently was named manager for Richmond, replacing Dave Machemer. Morman, a hitting coach with Richmond (2010) and Fresno (2011-13) for the past four seasons, gained managerial experience at Class A with the Marlins in '01 and with the Red Sox in '03. The former first baseman/outfielder played parts of nine seasons (1986-97) in the Majors with the White Sox, Royals and Marlins. Richmond pitching coach Ross Grimsley and hitting coach Ken Joyce will remain in their same roles.
Lenn Sakata has rejoined the Giants organization as manager with San Jose, where his teams posted a 466-374 record in 1999, 2001 and 2004-07. San Jose won California League titles under Sakata in 2001, '05 and '07. After the '07 season, Sakata managed two years with the Chiba Lotte Marines in the Japanese Pacific League. He then migrated to the Colorado Rockies organization, where he managed at the Class A level for three years.
Pitching coach Mike Couchee and hitting coach Lipso Nava will return to San Jose's staff.
Augusta's leadership remains intact with manager Mike Goff, pitching coach Steve Kline and hitting coach Hector Borg. The lone change is the addition of Todd Linden as co-hitting coach. Linden, a former outfielder who spent parts of five seasons in the Majors (2003-07), hit .204 in 47 games for Fresno last year.
The contingent at short-season Class A Salem-Keizer is unchanged. Manager Gary Davenport will be complemented by pitching coaches Jerry Cram and Matt Yourkin and hitting coach Ricky Ward.