Minimal changes to Giants' thriving minor-league staff

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Minimal changes to Giants' thriving minor-league staff

The San Francisco Giants have finalized their minor league coaching staff for the 2012 season, the team announced in a press release Wednesday.

Among the minimal changes are three new coaches to the system. Michael Couchee is the new Arizona League Giants pitching coach. Billy Horton, their hitting coach. And Nestor Rojas will be the Augusta hitting coach.

Below is the text contained in the team's press release:

San Francisco's minor league affiliates put together another successful year in 2011 with its farm system producing the third best record (411-352, .539) in all of organized baseball. In addition, the San Francisco Giants were named as Topps 2011 Organization of the Year for thriving with homegrown players in the minor leagues as well as at the Major League level. The organization also received this accolade in 2009. The Giants organization had four of their seven affiliates make the postseason. The Arizona Rookie League Giants took first place in their league for the second-consecutive season although they lost in the finals. The Augusta GreenJackets also advanced to the Championship game, but dropped a best-of-3 series. The Richmond Flying Squirrels made their first postseason appearance during their two-year franchise as they were eliminated in the Eastern League Championship series. After finishing first overall in the North Division the San Jose Giants advanced to the first round of the playoffs.

There have been minimal changes to the Giants managerial ranks as Dave Machemer (double-A Richmond), Andy Skeels (Class A Advanced San Jose), Lipso Nava (Class A Augusta), Tom Trebelhorn (short-season Salem-Keizer) and Jesus Tavarez (Dominican Summer League Giants) will remain at their managerial posts. Bob Mariano, who was the organizations Coordinator of Minor League Hitting Instruction last season, will be swapping positions with Steve Decker as he takes the helm of Triple-A Fresno and Decker becomes the new Coordinator of Minor League Hitting Instruction with the organization. The only new addition to the Giants minor league managerial ranks is Derin McMains, who will be making his managerial debut with the Arizona Rookie League Giants, after spending the previous two seasons as that teams hitting coach.

Steve Kline has been named as the pitching coach for the San Jose Giants as Mike Caldwell, who was with the Arizona League Giants last season, will replace Kline at Augusta. Hector Borg, who was a coach for the Dominican Summer League Giants last year, will serve in the same role with the Salem-Keizer Volcanoes in 2012. The three new additions to the Giants coaching ranks are Michael Couchee (Pitching Coach Arizona League Giants), Billy Horton (Hitting Coach Arizona League Giants) and Nestor Rojas (Hitting Coach Augusta).

Couchee, 54, will be embarking on his first stint within the Giants organization after spending the previous nine seasons with San Diegos minor league chain, one as triple-A Portlands pitching coach and eight as their Minor League Pitching Coordinator. Prior to his time in San Diegos minor league system, Couchee also held the same post as the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheims Minor League Pitching Coordinator for 10 seasons from 1993-2002, following several stints as a pitching coach in that organization. The former pitcher was originally selected in the 19th round of the 1980 First-Year Player Draft by the San Diego Padres and pitched briefly for the big league club in 1983.

Horton, 38, will join the Giants coaching ranks for the first time in his career as he has spent considerable time with many organizations. The former infielder and catcher worked professionally for the Arizona Diamondbacks in numerous roles in 2003 and 2006 as well as with a number of Baseball academies in the Phoenix, AZ area. Horton also played in the minor leagues with the Chicago White Sox as well as the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim.

Rojas, 28, will be returning to the Augusta GreenJackets for a second season as a hitting coach. The Venezuelan native played in the Giants minor league system from 2003-2010, reaching as high as triple-A. During his career, the former catcher played in 256 games, hitting .222 (164-for-739) after signing with the organization in 2003.

Roving instructors and medical staff for the upcoming season include: Fred Stanley - Director of Player Development; Shane Turner Coordinator of Instruction; Bert Bradley Coordinator of Minor League Pitching; Steve Decker Coordinator of Minor League Hitting; Joe Amalfitano Special Assistant; Jim Davenport Special Assistant; Lee Smith Roving Pitching Instructor; Jose Alguacil Roving Infield Instructor; Henry Cotto Roving Baserunning and Outfield Instructor; Kirt Manwaring Roving Catching Instructor; Shawon Dunston - Instructor; J.T. Snow - Instructor; Jay Williams Coordinator of Minor League Trainers; Tony Reale Organizational Physical Therapist; Geoff Head Coordinator of Minor League Strength and Conditioning.

San Francisco Giants media services contributed to this report

Early offense, six strong from Cueto lift Giants past Braves in finale

Early offense, six strong from Cueto lift Giants past Braves in finale

BOX SCORE

SAN FRANCISCO -- The blisters on Johnny Cueto's middle and index fingers that limited his effectiveness in his last few starts haven't yet completely healed.

But the two-time All-Star is learning to pitch with them.

Cueto threw six strong innings and Brandon Crawford drove in three runs as the San Francisco Giants defeated the Atlanta Braves 7-1 on Sunday.

Cueto (5-4) bounced back from his roughest stretch as a Giant. He was 0-3 with a 4.33 ERA in his previous four starts.

"They're not bothering me like they were before," Cueto said through a translator. "I'm just getting used to it but I have to continue pitching until they get better."

The Giants won their third straight home series and posted their 11th victory in 18 games overall.

Crawford's two-run single highlighted a four-run second against R.A. Dickey (3-4) that made it 6-0.

Matt Kemp had three hits for Atlanta. But the Braves couldn't get much going against Cueto, who allowed one run on six hits and a walk. Cueto struck out eight, including five in a row at one point.

"He did what he needed to do to get us out," Kemp said. "We had chances to score runs and we didn't. I think in this series we really didn't do a good score of scoring runs."

Dickey allowed a season-high seven runs (six earned) on six hits and five walks in six innings.

"This can be a challenging place to throw because of the wind because it swirls so much," Dickey said.

Eduardo Nunez and Gorkys Hernandez each had two hits for the Giants. Joe Panik tripled to start the second-inning burst.

Cueto had two productive at-bats, bunting a runner to second in the second inning and driving in a run with a sacrifice fly in the third.

"It's always nice to have a lead and I thought Johnny was the sharpest he'd been this year," Giants catcher Buster Posey said. "Hopefully it's something he can build on. The changeup was working really well and his command of the fastball was really good."

Posey was 0 for 2 with two walks. He hasn't struck out in 55 consecutive plate appearances.

FUN FACTOR:
The Giants scored the game's first run when Nunez came around from third when a knuckleball glanced off catcher Kurt Suzuki glove in the bottom of the first. The play was ruled a passed ball. Asked if he had any empathy for the plight of his counterpart, Posey said "Yes, no question. It's not fun to hit, it doesn't look fun to catch, either."

FANCY FIELDING:
Hernandez made a diving catch in the gap in left-center robbing Emilio Bonifacio of an extra-base hit with one out in the seventh inning.

TRAINER'S ROOM:
Braves: 2B Brandon Phillips left in the fifth for pinch-hitter Jace Peterson. Phillips fouled a ball off his foot in his last at-bat in the third.

Giants: LHP Madison Bumgarner will start his throwing program on Friday, manager Bruce Bochy said. Bumgarner will start out playing catch and make five rehab starts. The 2014 World Series MVP suffered a separated left shoulder in a dirt biking accident. "The progress is happening," Bochy said. "I think he sees light at the end of the tunnel." ... Slumping rookie INF Christian Arroyo was out of the lineup on Sunday and his playing status appears uncertain. Arroyo, who turns 22 on Tuesday, is 0 for 19 in his last five games. "I'll talk to him, about what his situation is," Bochy said. "I'm definitely planning on giving him a couple of days" off.

UP NEXT:
Braves: RHP Julio Teheran will make his first career start against the Angels in Anaheim on Monday. He is 3-9 with a 5.63 ERA in 15 career interleague starts.

Giants: LHP Matt Moore will face the Nationals for the second time in his career. He was with Tampa Bay when he gave up two runs in five innings against Washington in 2012.

Giants lineup: Posey catching, Nunez at third base against Braves

Giants lineup: Posey catching, Nunez at third base against Braves

The Giants look to win two straight against the Braves and Bruce Bochy has made a few changes to the lineup Sunday.

Atlanta Braves (21-26)

1. Ender Inciarte (L) CF
2. Brandon Phillips (R) 2B
3. Nick Markakis (L) RF
4. Matt Kemp (R) LF
5. Matt Adams (L) 1B
6. Kurt Suzuki (R) C
7. Rio Ruiz (L) 3B
8. Dansby Swanson (R) SS
9. R.A. Dickey (R) P

San Francisco Giants (21-30)

1. Denard Span (L) CF
2. Eduardo Nunez (R) 3B
3. Brandon Belt (L) 1B
4. Buster Posey (R) C
5. Brandon Crawford (L) SS
6. Justin Ruggiano (R) RF
7. Joe Panik (L) 2B
8. Gorkys Hernandez (R) LF
9. Johnny Cueto (R) P