LANSING, Mich. – Craig Conklin, who spent the 2022 season as Lansing Lugnuts assistant hitting coach, will become the 18th manager in Lugnuts team history, the Oakland Athletics announced today.
Hailing from Malibu, Calif., Conklin entered professional baseball as an area supervisor at the Major League Baseball Scouting Bureau. He then spent four years scouting Southern California for the Athletics before serving on the Triple-A Las Vegas Aviators’ staff in 2019 and on the Single-A Stockton Ports’ staff in 2021. This will be his first season managing in the Minor League Baseball.
Pitching coach Don Schulze returns for his third season in Lansing. Schulze was drafted 11th overall in 1980 by the Chicago Cubs and pitched in the Majors for the Cubs, Cleveland, New York Mets, New York Yankees and San Diego Padres. He joined the A’s organization in 2006.
Both of the Lugnuts’ hitting coaches are newcomers: hitting coach Ron Witmeyer played in 11 games for the A’s in 1991 after he was originally drafted by Oakland in the seventh round from Stanford in 1988. He went on to coach at Stanford, City College of San Francisco and Cal before serving in 2021 as manager of the Martinez Sturgeon and in 2022 as the head coach at Marymount California University. Assistant hitting coach Luis Báez, meanwhile, played seven seasons totaling 362 games in the A’s organization, concluding in 2014 with the Beloit Snappers.
Athletic trainer Eric Fasth and sport performance coach Steven Thayer join the Lugnuts after handling the same roles in 2022 with the Single-A Stockton Ports. Fasth enters his third season with the A’s, debuting as a seasonal assistant athletic trainer with the Triple-A Las Vegas Aviators in 2021. He previously interned with the Red Sox and Diamondbacks organizations and worked as an athletic trainer with Holy Cross women’s ice hockey and rowing. Thayer, in his second season with Oakland, earned his master’s degree from Michigan State University, where he worked with basketball and volleyball. He joined the A’s after a season with the Giants’ Dominican Summer League affiliate.
The Lugnuts begin their 27th Midwest League season at the Great Lakes Loons on April 7, 2023, before opening Jackson® Field™ with a six-game homestand against the West Michigan Whitecaps from April 11-16.
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