Three key components of a coaching staff that led the Augusta GreenJackets to the South Atlantic League playoffs this past summer are expected to return to Lake Olmstead Stadium in 2012.
Manager Lipso Nava and pitching coach Steve Kline will once again lead the GreenJackets, while Nestor Rojas is expected to take over as hitting coach after serving in an interim role last year. The San Francisco Giants’ Single-A minor league baseball team could make an official announcement on the full coaching staff as early as Friday.
The 43-year-old Nava, who led the GreenJackets from worst to first in his rookie season as a professional manager last year, will return for his fifth season in Augusta. He was the team’s hitting coach from 2008 to 2010 and skippered the 2011 team to a Southern Division second-half championship after making up a game and a half on the final day of the regular season to clinch a playoff spot.
Kline, a former Major League pitcher, will spend his fourth season in Augusta. Under his watch, the 2011 GreenJackets finished second in the division with a 3.70 staff ERA.
Rojas began the 2011 season on the disabled list as a player recovering from knee surgery. The 28-year-old Venezuelan was never activated but remained with the team throughout the summer to fill in as an interim hitting coach after Jose Flores left the club for personal reasons at the all-star break.
Garet Havig, who was with the Giants’ short-season team in Salem, Ore. last season, will become the GreenJackets’ new athletic trainer.
Brad Lawson will be Augusta’s strength and conditioning coach in his first year within the Giants organization after spending 2011 with the Cubs’ Double-A Tennessee Smokies.