SALT LAKE CITY -- Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim assistant general manager of scouting and player development Scott Servais announced Friday that Keith Johnson will return to manage the 2012 Salt Lake Bees. Alongside Johnson, and also returning to Salt Lake, will be hitting coach Jim Eppard, pitching coach Erik Bennett, trainer Brian Reinker and strength and conditioning coach Josh Fields.
Johnson, 40, enters his second season as manager of the Bees, leading the team to a franchise-best .983 fielding percentage and capturing the club's 4,000th Triple-A win in 2011.
Prior to Salt Lake, he served a two-year managerial stint with Single-A Rancho Cucamonga (2009-10) and one season as manager of Single-A Cedar Rapids (2008), both in the Angels organization. He has compiled a 273-289 (.486) record in four seasons as a manager and has reached the playoffs three of those four seasons.
The former infielder enjoyed a 12-year professional playing career including organizational stints with the Los Angeles Dodgers (1992-1998, 2001), Arizona Diamondbacks (1999) and Anaheim Angels (2000, 2002-2003).
Johnson is a native of Hanford, Calif. and currently resides in Salt Lake City with his wife Malena and their four children.
Eppard returns for his 10th season in both the Angels organization and with the Bees in 2012. Under Eppard's direction in 2011, Jeff Baisley became only the 10th player in franchise history to reach 100 RBI in a season and also ranked fourth in the PCL with 163 hits. In addition, Angels outfield prospect Jeremy Moore totaled a league-high 18 triples and became just the second player ever in the PCL to record 15 or more doubles (24), triples, home runs (15) and stolen bases (21) in one season. Eppard and his wife LouAnn, are the parents of one daughter, Hannah, and reside in Rapid City, S.D.
Bennett, entering his 17th season with the Angels organization, returns to the Bees for a fifth season. Bennett's work with Salt Lake's pitching staff led to the advancement of midseason free-agent signee Jerome Williams to the Angels, where he appeared in 10 games (six starts) finishing with a 4-0 record and a 3.68 ERA. His production led to a new contract with the Angels in 2012. Reliever Michael Kohn recorded 12 saves in 2011, tying for sixth on the franchise record list with 20 total saves for the Bees. Bennett, a Yreka, Calif. native, his wife Teresa and new baby daughter Teagan call northern California home.
Columbus, Ohio native Brian Reinker also returns for his fifth season in Triple-A baseball with the Bees and his 10th in the Angels organization. Josh Fields, a Virginia native, returns to Salt Lake and the Angels organization for his third season.