Championship coaching staff returns to Rattlers dugout for 2013

Erickson, Chavarria, Rhodes, & Paxson back for next year

Left to Right: Manager Matt Erickson, Pitching Coach David Chavarria, and Hitting Coach Dusty Rhodes. (Ann Mollica/Wisconsin Timber Rattlers)

By Chris Mehring / Wisconsin Timber Rattlers | December 18, 2012 5:05 AM ET

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GRAND CHUTE, WI - The coaching staff that led the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers to the 2012 Midwest League Championship will return for 2013.  The Milwaukee Brewers announced today that manager Matt Erickson, pitching coach Dave Chavarria, hitting coach Dusty Rhodes, and athletic trainer Jeff Paxson, and strength & conditioning specialist Christian Polega will be back in the Rattlers dugout for next season.

Erickson, an Appleton native, will enter his third season as the manager of the Rattlers.  Wisconsin went 78-61 in the 2012 regular season and claimed its first playoff spot since 2005 by winning the first half Western Division title.  The Rattlers went 7-2 in their playoff run to claim the first Midwest League pennant by a team from the Fox Cities since 1984.  In two seasons - including the playoffs, Erickson is 152-135 as the Rattlers manager.

"I am excited to be back with the Rattlers," said Erickson.  "Last year was a fantastic season and with all of the changes to the stadium for 2013 I can't wait to get to work with a great staff.  I can't guarantee a repeat, but I can promise that we will work to make the players on the team improve every day."

Chavarria returns for his second season as the pitching coach of the Timber Rattlers.  The native of Burnaby, British Columbia is in his second season in the Brewers minor league system after spending eleven years as a coach and coordinator in the Texas Rangers organization.  Wisconsin's pitchers compiled a 3.83ERA during the regular season.  Over the 81 innings of their nine playoff games, Wisconsin pitchers had an ERA of 2.00 and struck out 71 while walking 17 on the way to the championship.  

Rhodes, a member of the American Baseball Coaches Association Hall of Fame, will tutor Wisconsin's hitters for the third straight season.  Rhodes returned to the Brewers organization in 2011 after 23 seasons as the head coach at the University of North Florida.  The 2012 Timber Rattlers set a franchise record for home runs in a season by clubbing 107 long balls in 139 games.  Five different Wisconsin players reached double digits in home runs last season.

Paxson is back for his fourth season as the athletic trainer for the Rattlers.  He was named the Midwest League Trainer of the Year by the Professional Baseball Athletic Trainers Association in both 2010 and 2011.  PBATA named him their National Trainer of the Year in 2011. Paxson enters his twentieth season with the Brewers organization.

Polega, a native of Hartford, Wisconsin, returns for his second season with the Rattlers.

Wisconsin's 2013 season begins with a road game against the Peoria Chiefs on Thursday, April 4.  The Rattlers will open newly renovated Time Warner Cable Field at Fox Cities Stadium on Monday, April 8 when they host the Cedar Rapids Kernels on Opening Night at 6:35pm.  Full and partial season ticket packages and group events are available by contacting the Time Warner Cable Field ticket office at (920) 733-4152 or (800) WI-TIMBER.

This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.

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