When the four-time Texas League champion Midland RockHounds open defense of their title, there will be a new leader in the dugout.
The Oakland Athletics today announced that Scott Steinmann will be club's field manager for the 2018 season. He will be joined by pitching coach Steve Connelly, hitting coach Tommy Everidge, athletic trainer Justin Whitehouse and strength & conditioning coach Omar Aguilar.
Steinmann takes over the RockHounds after one season with the Beloit Snappers, Oakland's affiliate in the Class-A Midwest League. He joined the A's organization after spending 17 seasons as a coach and manager on the Seattle Mariners' farm. His tenure with Seattle included nine managerial seasons, from the Rookie level up to Double-A, where he led the West Tenn Diamond Jaxx (Jackson, Tennessee) to a first half division pennant in the Southern League in 2008.
Connelly and Everidge are being promoted to the Double-A level after spending the last two seasons with the Stockton Ports (Oakland's affiliate in the Class-A Advanced California League). Everidge returns to the RockHounds in a coaching capacity after spending parts of three seasons with the club in his playing career (2007-09). One of the most prolific power hitters in franchise history, he led the Texas League with 115 RBI in his 2008 all-star campaign with the 'Hounds. Connelly, who was drafted by Oakland in 1995 (and pitched briefly in the big leagues with the A's), returned to the organization as pitching coach for Beloit in 2014. He spent two seasons with the Midwest League Snappers before being promoted to Stockton in 2016.
Athletic trainer Justin Whitehouse is the lone returning member of the 2017 field staff. Whitehouse, now in his 11th year with the RockHounds, has been part of five of the club's six Texas League championship clubs.
The field staff changes follow the promotions of two former RockHounds managers. Ryan Christenson, who guided the club to the Texas League championship in 2015 and 2016, has been named bench coach at the Major League level with the A's after one season with Oakland's Triple-A affiliate in Nashville. He joins fellow RockHound alums Darren Bush and Scott Emerson on Bob Melvin's big league staff. Fran Riordan, who led the 'Hounds to the 2017 title, takes over in Nashville as field manager of the Pacific Coast League Sounds.
In 2017, the Midland RockHounds became just the second team in the Texas League's more than 130-year history to capture four consecutive titles. They will begin defense of their Texas League championship on Thursday, April 5, hosting the Springfield Cardinals at Security Bank Ballpark.
The 2018 campaign also marks the 20th anniversary season in the Midland RockHounds / Oakland A's era, the longest affiliation in the franchise's 47-year history. The previous parent clubs were the Cubs from 1972-84 (13 seasons) and the Angels for 14 years (1985-98). The partnership with the A's has also produced all six of the franchise's outright Texas League championships. Remarkably, those six titles have come in a span of just 13 seasons (2005-2017).
SCOTT STEINMANN - MANAGER
The 45-year-old Ohio native played college baseball at Miami University and was signed by the Seattle Mariners as a non-drafted free agent on August 3, 1995. He played three seasons on the Mariners' farm (1996-98), reaching the Double-A level in his third season, before being released in October of 1998.
He transitioned directly into coaching, also with Seattle, in 1999, serving as a roving catching instructor before joining the field staff of the Everett AquaSox (Short-A, Northwest League). In 17 seasons with Mariners, he served as a coach and manager at virtually every level of the club's minor league system.
His managerial résumé with the Mariners includes the Arizona Rookie League (Peoria, 2003-04 and 2011), three stints in the Class-A Midwest League (Wisconsin in 2005 and Clinton in 2009, 2014-15), a season at the Class-A Advanced level (High Desert, California League, in 2007) and one previous season at the Double-A level, where he led the West Tenn Diamond Jaxx to a first-half pennant in the Southern League (2008).
His 2005 club, the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers, reached the Midwest League championship series and his 2014 club made a different kind of history. Trailing the Burlington Bees, 17-1 (May 7 at Burlington, Iowa), the Clinton LumberKings rallied back with 19 unanswered runs for a remarkable 20-17 win, the largest deficit ever overcome in a minor league game.
In addition to managing, he also served as a coach with Everett (1999, 2010 and 2012), Wisconsin (2000-01), San Bernardino (Class-A Advanced California League in 2002), Peoria (2006) and the Tacoma Rainiers of the Triple-A Pacific Coast League in 2013.
The Beloit Snappers finished 65-73 in the Midwest League in 2017, his first season with the A's organization. The 2018 campaign will be the second consecutive season in which Steinmann has succeeded Fran Riordan, who managed in Beloit in 2015 and 2016 before being promoted to the RockHounds last year.
Scott and his wife, Suzy, now make their home in Chandler, Arizona, with their daughter (Alex) and son (Ben).
STEVE CONNELLY - PITCHING COACH
When Connelly joined the A's organization as a minor league pitching coach in 2014, it marked a "homecoming" of sorts. The Long Beach, California, native began his professional playing career with Oakland after being selected by the A's in the 24th round of the 1995 draft out of the University of Oklahoma. He briefly reached the Major Leagues in 1998, going 0-0 with a 1.93 earned run average in three relief appearances with the A's.
His professional coaching career began with the Vermont Lake Monsters (Short-A New York-Penn League) before joining Fran Riordan's staff in Beloit the following season. He was promoted to the Stockton Ports in 2016 and has spent the past two seasons with the (Advanced-A) California League club.
Prior to returning to the A's as a pitching coach, he had served in the same capacity at the University of Alabama-Huntsville for three years (2011-13).
The right-hander was originally drafted by the Pittsburgh Pirates in 1992 in the 25th round out of Woodrow Wilson High School (Long Beach, CA) but elected to attend the University of Oklahoma. At Oklahoma, he was a member of the 1994 College World Series championship club (the Sooners defeated a Georgia Tech team that included future big leaguers Nomar Garciaparra, Jason Varitek, Jay Payton and Brad Rigby). Oakland selected him in the 24th round of the 1995 draft after his junior season, the same draft in which the A's selected Ryan Christenson.
After reaching the Show with Oakland in 1998, Connelly finished his playing career (1999-2001, 2003) with the Fresno Grizzlies (San Francisco's Triple-A club).
TOMMY EVERIDGE - HITTING COACH
The former 2008 Texas League All-Star returns to the RockHounds as hitting coach and enters his fifth season in that role with the Oakland organization. His first coaching assignment was with (Short-A) Vermont in 2014 (he and Steve Connelly each began their coaching careers with the club that season) and a two-year stint with the Lake Monsters was followed by two seasons (2016 and 2017) with Stockton in the Class-A Advanced California League.
Oakland's 10th round selection in the 2004 draft out of Sonoma State University in Rohnert Park, California, Everidge spent all or parts of three seasons in a RockHounds uniform (2007-09). He was named to the Texas League Postseason All-Star Team in 2008 after leading the league with 115 RBI, a total that ranks fifth all-time in franchise history and is the most in the Security Bank Ballpark era (which began in 2002). Ten of his RBI came in one game on May 26 at Tulsa, in which he went 4-for-6 with two home runs (one of them a grand slam). In the Texas League's 130-year history, he remains one of just seven players to amass 10 (or more) RBI in a single game.
Despite his outstanding numbers in 2008, Everidge found himself back with the 'Hounds to open the 2009 season. He responded with a .329 batting average and eight home runs while averaging virtually an RBI per game (53 in 55 games) before receiving his promotion to the Triple-A level. He finished the '09 season in the Major Leagues with Oakland, appearing in 24 games with the A's.
The 34-year-old is a native of the Bay Area, born in Glen Ellen, California. Everidge continues to make his home there, with his wife, Kellie and daughter, Allison.
JUSTIN WHITEHOUSE - ATHLETIC TRAINER
The 2017 season will mark Whitehouse's 18th as an Athletic Trainer with the A's organization and his 11th serving in that capacity with the RockHounds. In that time, he has been a part of four of the franchise's six Texas League championship clubs (2009, 2014, 2015 and 2016).
He joined the A's training staff in 2001, working in the California (2001-02) and Midwest (2003-07) Leagues before being promoted to the RockHounds in 2008. In his final season with the Kane County Cougars (2007), he was named Midwest League Athletic Trainer of the Year and, after his first season with the RockHounds (2008), was selected to work the prestigious Arizona Fall League.
The Stockton, California, native is a graduate of the University of Nevada, Reno, where he earned a degree in health education. His wife, Susan, also attended the university and is a member of the Wolfpack's Athletic Hall of Fame (swimming & diving). The couple, with children Cassie and Lance, make their home in Reno.
A Certified Athletic Trainer (ATC), Whitehouse earned his master's degree (physical education with an emphasis in athletic training and biomechanics) at San Diego State University. His resumé also includes two seasons as an intern with the San Francisco 49ers (he worked with the NFL club during its spring and summer training camps in 1997 and 1998).
OMAR AGUILAR - STRENGTH & CONDITIONING COACH
Now in his fifth season with the A's organization, Aguilar joins the RockHounds staff as strength & conditioning coach after serving in that same position with the Beloit Snappers in 2017. He is a magna cum laude graduate of Inter-American University of Puerto Rico with a bachelor's degree in Sport Technology and is pursuing his master's at Logan University in Chesterfield, Missouri. Aguiloar, whose background also includes the US Army's Officer Candidate School (2012-13), began his baseball career as a strength coach with the Los Angeles Dodgers Arizona (Rookie) League club in 2012. This winter he is working as a strength and conditioning coordinator with Major League Baseball's development program in Latin America.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.