The Kansas City Royals announced their 2014 minor league staff assignments, promoting three managers within the organization. Northwest Arkansas (AA) manager Brian Poldberg was named to the same position at Omaha (AAA), replacing Mike Jirschele, who was named Major League coach with Kansas City last week. Wilmington (A-Advanced) manager Vance Wilson will take over managerial duties at Northwest Arkansas, while Surprise (Rookie) manager Darryl Kennedy will assume Wilson’s former role with the Blue Rocks next season.
Poldberg, a resident of nearby Carter Lake, Iowa, completed his sixth season at Northwest Arkansas in 2013. The only manager in Naturals history, Poldberg led the club to a Texas League championship in 2010 and earned the Dick Howser Award in the same season. He spent the 2004-07 seasons serving on the Royals’ Major League staff as the bullpen coach (2004-05), first base coach (2006) and third base coach (2007). Joining Poldberg in Omaha will be pitching coach Larry Carter, hitting coach Tommy Gregg, athletic trainer David Iannicca and strength coach David Kathmann.
Wilson, who makes his home in Springdale, Ark., the home of the Naturals, just completed his second season as the manager at Wilmington and third in the Royals’ organization, after debuting as the manager with Kane County (A) in 2011. His staff at Northwest Arkansas will consist of pitching coach Jim Brower, hitting coach Andre David, athletic trainer Masa Koyanagi and strength coach Austin Driggers.
Kennedy returns to Wilmington after four seasons as the manager at Surprise. He also served as skipper of the Blue Rocks in 2008 as well as managing at Burlington (2007) and Idaho Falls (2009) within the organization as well as at Frisco (2005-06), the double-A affiliate of the Texas Rangers. His staff includes pitching coach Steve Luebber, hitting coach Jose Castro, bench coach Justin Gemoll, athletic trainer James Stone and strength coach Joe Greany.
Brian Buchanan will begin his second season at Lexington and fifth in the Royals organization after previously managing at Kane County (2012) and Idaho Falls (2010-11). He will be joined on the bench by pitching coach Steve Merriman, hitting coach Abraham Nunez and bench coach Glenn Hubbard as well as athletic trainer Mark Keiser and strength coach Aaron Reis.
The Royals announced that their 2014 Rookie League affiliates will be Idaho Falls in the Pioneer League and Burlington in the Appalachian League. KC will not field a minor league team in Surprise, Ariz., during the 2014 season.
Manager Omar Ramirez led Idaho Falls to the Pioneer League championship this season and will be in his third year at the helm of the Chukars in 2014. His staff will consist of pitching coach Mark Davis, hitting coach Damon Hollins, bench coach Julio Bruno, coach Willie Aikens and athletic trainer Robbie Oates.
Manager Tommy Shields returns to Burlington for his third season managing the Rookie-level Royals. Shields led Burlington to the Appalachian League championship series in 2012. His staff will include pitching coach Carlos Martinez, hitting coach Nelson Liriano, first-year bench coach Scott Thorman and trainer Sab Hagihara. Thorman comes to Kansas City after spending 11 seasons in the minor leagues as a player, retiring in 2011. He played two seasons (2009-10) in the Royals’ system at Omaha as well as parts of two seasons in the Major Leagues with the Atlanta Braves (2006-07).
The Royals’ Dominican Academy will be led by field coordinator Victor Baez and staff members Rafael Roque, Juan Guadron, Miguel Benard, Ramon Martinez, Onil Joseph and trainers Martin Berroa, Manny Plaza and strength coaches Jose Rosario and Reymundo Sido. The manager of the Dominican Royals will be named at a later date.
Kansas City’s Coordinators and Roving positions for 2014 include Field Coordinator Tony Tijerina, Advisor to Player Development Chino Cadahia, Senior Pitching Advisor Bill Fischer, Special Assistant to Player Development/Hitting Jack Maloof, Special Assistant to Player Development John Wathan and Special Assistant to the General Manager/Pitching Coordinator Steve Foster. Terry Bradshaw will be the hitting coordinator and Milt Thompson will be the outfield/bunting/base running coordinator. Other organizational positions include Chris DeLucia as medical coordinator, Tony Medina as Latin America medical coordinator, Garrett Sherrill as strength and conditioning coordinator, Luis Perez as Latin America strength and conditioning coordinator, Justin Hahn as rehabilitation coordinator/physical therapist, Carlos Reyes as rehabilitation pitching coach, Jeff Diskin as cultural development coordinator, Nick Leto as manager of Arizona operations, Will Simon as minor league equipment manager and Freddy Sandoval as mental skills coach. New to the organization are Sandoval and Hahn, while Diskin begins his first full season in the Royals’ organization. Sandoval played eight seasons in the minor leagues within the Los Angeles Angels’ system, reaching the big leagues for parts of the 2008 and 2009 seasons. Hahn, a physical therapist from Lakeville, Minn., was the Royals’ physical therapist fellow in 2013, working out of the complex in Surprise, Ariz. Diskin, who started his position as the cultural development coordinator last June, is a former teacher and varsity baseball coach at Pembroke Hill School in Kansas City.
— Royals Media Relations —