The Phillies have set their minor league coaching staffs for 2012 and the biggest news is that there is no change at Lehigh Valley. It was long thought that Ryne Sandberg, who took over the IronPigs last season, would be a one-year wonder before moving to the ranks of a major league manager. Sandberg was again passed over for the Cubs job and also interviewed for the Cardinals job, but didn't get either opportunity, so his misfortune is the Phillies good fortune.
Sandberg, who guided the IronPigs to their first ever playoff appearance in 2011, will return with the same staff that he had last season. Sal Rende will serve as hitting coach, while Rod Nichols stays on as pitching coach.
Reading lost manager Mark Parent, who took a job on Robin Ventura's coaching staff with the White Sox, so Dusty Wathan will take over in Baseballtown. Wathan managed the Clearwater Threshers the past two seasons and will have hitting coach Frank Cacciatore and pitching coach Bob Milacki on his staff. Cacciatore has been at Reading for the past five seasons and Milacki will be starting his third.
Wathan, like Sandberg and Parent, is well respected within the organization and many people around baseball believe he will ascend to be a major league manager at some point down the road.
Chris Truby makes the jump from Lakewood to Clearwater to take over Wathan's former spot. Hitting coach John Mizerock and pitching coach Dave Lundquist will stay on in their respective positions with the Threshers.
Mickey Morandini begins his second season as a minor league manager, moving from short-season Williamsport to Lakewood. Morandini received rave reviews for his work with young players last season and is also seen as a potential major league manager at some point down the road.
Lakewood coach Greg Legg will enter his 31st straight season in the Phillies organization and fifth straight at Lakewood in 2012. The staff will be rounded out by pitching coach Les Lancaster, who served as pitching coach in the Gulf Coast League last season.
At Williamsport, first-year manager Andy Tracy takes over for Morandini. Tracy was a fan favorite in his three seasons at Lehigh Valley and played last season at Triple-A Reno before retiring after the season. The Phillies immediately offered Tracy a job in the organization.
Jorge Valendia, who was a coach on Morandini's staff last season and played with Tracy at Lehigh Valley in 2010, takes over as the Phillies assistant field coordinator. Valendia's replacement has not yet been named. Aaron Fultz joins the organization and will serve as Tracy's pitching coach.
The Gulf Coast League coaching staff remains unchanged. Roly de Armas will return for the sixth straight season in the GCL and ninth overall to manage the GCL Phillies. Hitting coach Kevin Jordan and pitching coach Steve Shrenk will both also return.
The rest of the minor league coordinators - Mike Compton (field coordinator), Steve Henderson (hitting coordinator), Gorman Heimueller (pitching coordinator), Doug Mansolino (infield coordinator) and Ernie Whitt (catching coordinator) will all return to their duties. Former major league Andy Abad joins the organization to serve as the Phillies minor league outfield/baserunning coordinator.