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Nationals announce 2015 Minor League staff: Rick Ankiel back with organization

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There were one or two surprises and a few promotions in the Washington Nationals' press release announcing the coaching staffs for their minor league affiliates. The big surprise? Rick Ankiel rejoins the organizaton as a "Life Skills Coordinator" apparently.

Joy R. Absalon-USA TODAY Sports

The Washington Nationals announced their 2015 Minor League staff this afternoon with a press release which detailed some of the promotions and new additions. On the promotion end, Paul Menhart, who spent his ninth season with the organization as the pitching coach at Triple-A Syracuse in 2014, will start his 10th season as the new Minor League Pitching Coordinator, replacing Skip Williams in the role with Williams now a "Senior Advisor for Player Development".

Michael Barrett, who managed the Nats' Gulf Coast League affiliate, "will take an increased role as 'Catching Coordinator' and remain the GCL manager.

Bob Milacki is joining the organization as the Triple-A pitching coach after six seasons in the Phillies' organization.

Also new to the organization are Tommy Shields, who comes on as a "Co-field Coordinator" after working in the Royals' system, and Jerad Head, who will "serve as a coach during Extended Spring Training and [with] the Rookie-Level Gulf Coast League Nationals."

The big news in the press release, however, is the addition of former Nats' outfielder Rick Ankiel as a "Life Skills Coordinator" who will, "... draw on his vast experience as a player to help mentor Nationals farmhands."

Ankiel, 35, joins the Nationals after an 11-year major league career that included two seasons in Washington which saw him post a .236/.292/.377 line with 30 doubles, 14 HRs and several highlight reel defensive plays in the outfield.

Ankiel, who played for the Cardinals, Royals, Braves, Nats, Astros and Mets over the course of his career, put up a combined .240/.302/.422 line as a position player after starting his career as a highly-regarded pitching prospect in St. Louis. He ended his major league playing career in 2013.

Here is the complete list of the Nationals' Minor League Staff for the 2015 season:

Minor League Staff