HOUSTON, TX — The Houston Astros announced today the club’s three minor league coordinators, two roving instructors and the medical staff for the 2013 season. The Astros coordinators are Paul Runge (field coordinator), Dyar Miller (pitching coordinator) and Ralph Dickenson (hitting coordinator). Craig Bjornson, who spent the 2012 season as the bullpen coach on the Astros Major League staff, will serve as a roving pitching instructor, while Jeff Albert will serve as the roving hitting instructor. Brendan Verner (strength and conditioning coordinator), Jamey Snodgrass (medical coordinator) and Daniel Roberts (rehab coordinator) make up the club’s minor league medical staff.
Runge returns for his third season as the club’s minor league field coordinator. Prior to joining Houston’s organization, Runge compiled 14 years of minor league managerial experience, all coming in Atlanta’s system, which included three Appalachian League Championships while managing rookie-level Danville (2005-06, 2009). Runge also enjoyed an eight-year Major League playing career with Atlanta from 1981-88.
Miller joins the Astros from St. Louis, where he served as the Cardinals bullpen coach in 2012. Prior to joining the Cardinals Major League staff, Miller served as the organization’s minor league pitching coordinator for four seasons from 2008-11. Miller’s playing career lasted 17 seasons (1968-84), which included nine Major League seasons with four different MLB clubs. He joined the coaching ranks in 1985 and has served as a coach, a pitching coach, a bullpen coach or a roving pitching instructor over the last 28 seasons (1985-2012). The 2013 season will be Miller’s 46th consecutive season working in baseball.
Dickenson will serve as the minor league hitting coordinator, a position he’s held for 19 seasons (1990-92, 1995-2009) for six different clubs throughout his coaching career. Dickenson joins the Astros organization from Toronto, where he served the last three seasons as a hitting coach in the Blue Jays minor league system. Dickenson played six seasons in the minors after being a supplemental first-round selection by Minnesota in 1969. The 2013 season will be Dickenson’s 36th season as an instructor at the professional or collegiate level.
Bjornson returns to the Astros organization as the roving pitching instructor after spending his 2012 season as the bullpen coach on the club’s Major League coaching staff. The 43-year-old Bjornson, who is bilingual, has 14 years of experience in professional baseball, mostly serving as a pitching coach in the minor leagues. Bjornson had a three-year playing career (1991-93) in the Astros system after being signed as an undrafted free agent out of Nicholls State in Louisiana.
Albert joins the Astros organization after spending his last five years (2008-12) as a hitting coach in the Cardinals minor league system, including the last four years with Class A Palm Beach. Albert played collegiate baseball at the Division II and Division III levels and played professionally in independent leagues. Albert completed his graduate degree in Exercise Science at Louisiana Tech University, where he was involved in various baseball training research studies. He is also a certified strength and conditioning specialist from the National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA).
Verner served as San Diego’s assistant strength and conditioning coordinator at the minor league level in each of the last two seasons. He also has six years of experience as a strength and conditioning coach or an assistant strength and conditioning coach in Cleveland’s (2004-05, 2007-09) and Pittsburgh’s (2010) minor league systems. Verner is a graduate of Cleveland State University with a Master of Arts in Exercise Science and is a certified strength and conditioning specialist and a registered strength and conditioning coach.
Snodgrass returns to serve as the club’s medical coordinator for the third consecutive season. Snodgrass has been working as a trainer in the Astros system since 1999, having also made stops at Class A Auburn (1999-2000), Class A Michigan (2001-02), Double A Round Rock (2003-04) and Double A Corpus Christi (2005-10).
Roberts returns to his role as the organization’s rehab coordinator for the third consecutive season. Roberts is based out of the Astros Spring Training complex in Kissimmee, FL, where he assists injured and recovering Major and minor league players with the medical rehabilitation process. Prior to joining the Astros in 2011, Roberts served as an assistant athletic trainer at Charleston Southern University.