Padres Promote Ryan Christenson To Associate Manager

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The Padres announced their coaching staff for the 2023 season this afternoon. There are a few shakeups for Bob Melvin’s second season leading the San Diego dugout.

Ryan Christenson has been given the title of associate manager. The 48-year-old joined Melvin in making the jump from the A’s to the Padres last offseason. Christenson had been Melvin’s bench coach in Oakland from 2018-21 and took on that same role for his first season in San Diego. He now earns a bump in title to associate manager, though his position as Melvin’s top lieutenant seems unchanged.

Filling the role of bench coach is Ryan Flaherty, who’s going into year four on the San Diego staff. He also gets the title of offensive coordinator, essentially taking on the hitting coach duties vacated when Michael Brdar was poached by the Tigers at the start of the offseason. San Diego will go without anyone assuming the traditional “hitting coach” title.

The 36-year-old Flaherty has spent the past two seasons as a quality control coach. He drew interest from the Mets in their bench coach search last offseason, but the Friars denied New York’s interview request. One year later, the former Orioles infielder gets both that title and the lead hitting responsibilities in San Diego.

He’ll be joined on staff by assistant hitting coaches Scott Coolbaugh and Oscar Bernard. The 56-year-old Coolbaugh joins the Friars after two years as the lead hitting instructor with the Tigers. He’d also previously served as hitting coach in Baltimore and Texas and an assistant role with the White Sox. He brings plenty of coaching experience to help Flaherty in his first crack as offensive coordinator.

Bernard, meanwhile, gets promoted to the MLB staff after seven years as San Diego’s minor league hitting coordinator. The 39-year-old spent some time as a player and instructor in the Cubs’ minor league system before joining the Friars in 2016. It’s the first big league staff job for the Dominican Republic native. Also joining the group is catching coach Brian Esposito. The 43-year-old spent last season managing the Friars’ Low-A affiliate in Fort Wayne.

The rest are holdovers from last season. Ruben Niebla is back for a second year as pitching coach, pairing with bullpen coach Ben Fritz. Matt Williams and David Macias will coach the bases and defense — Williams the infield, Macias the outfield — with Peter Summerville and Herberto Andrade as coaching assistants. Former big league managers Bryan Price and Mike Shildt will reassume the advisory roles they manned in 2022.

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