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February 2018
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Royals announce 2018 Minor League coaching assignments

The Kansas City Royals have announced their 2018 minor league staff assignments and minor league coordinators for the upcoming season.

Affiliates:

Omaha manager Brian Poldberg returns to lead the Storm Chasers for a fifth season, including the 2014 Triple-A championship in his first year. He will be joined on the bench by pitching coach, Andy Hawkins, who is returning to Omaha for his third season after serving as the bullpen coach of the Texas Rangers the previous seven seasons. Brian Buchanan will serve as Omaha’s hitting coach after a one-year stint as the Royals’ Major League assistant hitting coach. Buchanan is entering his ninth year in the organization, including a six-year run as manager at Idaho Falls (2010-11), Kane County (2012), Lexington (2013-14) and Wilmington (2015), and one year as the hitting coach at Northwest Arkansas. Dave Iannicca will return as the club’s certified athletic trainer for the eighth straight season, and Phil Falco will return for his second season as the strength and conditioning coach after serving in the same role at the Major League level with the Atlanta Braves for the previous nine seasons.

Northwest Arkansas will welcome a new manager, as Mike Rojas, son of Royals Hall of Famer, Cookie Rojas, joins the organization after spending last season as the manager of Detroit’s Triple-A affiliate. He previously served as the Major League bullpen coach with the Seattle Mariners from 2014-15 and with the Detroit Tigers from June, 2011 through 2013. He began his managerial career in 1992 with the Chicago White Sox, and has managed at every level in the minor leagues since, while working for the White Sox, Astros, Reds and Tigers organizations. Steve Luebber will return as pitching coach for the third straight season after serving in the same role at Advanced-A Wilmington for the previous nine years. Leon Robertsenters his second season as the Naturals hitting coach. Roberts played 11 seasons in the Major Leagues as an outfielder, including his last two seasons (1983-84) in Kansas City. Certified athletic trainer Masa Koyanagi will return for his 11th season with the Royals and seventh in his current role. Jarret Abell will return for his second season as the Naturals’ strength and conditioning coach after serving in the same role at Advanced-A Wilmington (2016), Class-A Lexington (2015) and Rookie level Idaho Falls (2014).

Wilmington will welcome back manager Darryl Kennedy, who previously managed the Blue Rocks in 2008 and 2014, and managed the Royals’ Arizona League team in Surprise from 2015-17. He will be joined on the bench by new pitching coach Doug Henry, who enters his 11th year in the Royals’ organization, including the last five as the Major League bullpen coach. Abraham Nunez returns to the Blue Rocks for his fourth season as hitting coach, while Chris Widger will serve as bench coach for the third consecutive season. James Stone enters his seventh year as the club’s certified athletic trainer. Will Gilmore will return for his second year as strength and conditioning coach, after serving in the same role at Class-A Lexington (2016) and Rookie level Idaho Falls (2015).

Lexington will be led by Scott Thorman, who is in his second year as manager, after managing at Rookie level Burlington from 2015-16. Mitch Stetter will serve as the club’s pitching coach for the third straight season. Jesus Azuaje will return for his second season as Lexington’s hitting coach, after serving in the same role with Burlington from 2015-16. Bench coach Glenn Hubbard enters his fifth season in his position with Lexington. Certified athletic trainer, Saburo Hagihara, and strength and conditioning coach, Jon Ervin, will also return for their second seasons with the Legends after previously working in those same roles at Burlington.

Idaho Falls will be led by manager Omar Ramirez, who enters his 10th season in the Royals’ organization, including the last three seasons as manager between Burlington (2017) and Lexington (2015-16). Former Royals pitcher Jeff Suppan will return as pitching coach for his fourth season with Idaho Falls. Damon Hollins, in his eighth season with the Royals, will return for his second season as the Chukars’ hitting coach, while also serving as an assistant outfield, base running and bunting coordinator. Justin Kemp will remain the club’s certified athletic trainer for the third straight season.

Burlington will welcome new manager Brooks Conrad, who played parts of six seasons in the Majors with Oakland (2008), Atlanta (2009-11), Milwaukee (2012), Tampa Bay (2012) and San Diego (2014). Carlos Martinez, in his 17th year in the Royals’ organization, will serve as Burlington’s pitching coach for the seventh straight season. Nelson Liriano returns for his second stint as hitting coach in Burlington, where he previous held this title in 2014 and served as manager from 2009-11. The former 11-year Major Leaguer is entering his 17th season as a coach in the Royals’ organization, including the last three as hitting coach in Surprise. Daniel Accola enters his second season as the certified athletic trainer.

Surprise will welcome new manager Tony Pena Jr., whose father managed the Royals from 2002-05. He last played affiliated ball with Charlotte (AAA) in the White Sox’s organization in 2013. Mark Davis will return for his 13th year in the Royals’ organization and his third straight as pitching coach in Surprise. Rehab pitching coordinator Carlos Reyes returns for his 11th season in the organization and third straight with Surprise. Andre David enters his 20th season in the Royals’ organization, serving as Surprise’s hitting coach, including a stint last season in Burlington. He will be joined in that role by Ramon Castro, who enters his first season as a full-time coach, and Willie Aikens, who enters his eighth season as a coach in the Royals’ organization, including the last three in Surprise. Gavin Grosh returns for his second season as certified athletic trainer after spending the previous five seasons in the Mets’ organization.

The Dominican Royals return Victor Baez as the field coordinator. Miguel Bernard and Ramon Martinez, who enters his 12th season in the organization, will serve as managers. Rafael Feliz and Julio Pimentelwill serve as pitching coaches, and Onil Joseph and Wilson Betemit will serve as hitting coaches. Quilvio Veras will be the bunting and base running coach, and Sergio De Luna and Pedro Rosario will also serve as assistants on the staff. Nevan Dominguez will be the trainer, and he’ll be assisted by Alessandro Bertozzo, Martin Berroa and Manuel Plaza. Jose Rosario and Severino Ventura return as strength and conditioning coaches.

Coordinators and Roving positions:

Senior Coordinator of Player Development Chino Cadahia begins his eighth year in the organization and his 34th in coaching at the professional level. Cadahia previously served as the bench coach in Kansas City for two seasons (2012-13), after serving in that role with the Atlanta Braves from 2007-10. He was a part of the Atlanta organization from 1996-2010.

Eddie Rodriguez returns for a second season as the Royals’ minor league field coordinator after spending the previous three seasons in the San Diego Padres’ organization. He spent the previous six seasons with the Royals (2008-13), most recently as the club’s third base coach from 2011-13.

Bill Fischer, a former Major League pitching coach with the Reds, Red Sox and Rays, will begin his 71st year in professional baseball in 2018 as senior pitching advisor. Fischer, who re-joined the organization in 2007, also worked with the club from 1975-78 and in 1984.

John Wathan, a former player and manager for the Royals, returns for his 46th season in baseball, and 42nd with the organization, as a special assistant to player development.

Harry Spilman enters his fourth year as a special assistant to player development. He came to the Royals’ organization in 2015 after holding a similar title with the Texas Rangers from 2009-14.

Larry Carter will begin his 21st season in the Royals’ organization and his fourth as the club’s minor league pitching coordinator. His time with the Royals includes 11 seasons at the Double-A level with Wichita (2002-07) and Northwest Arkansas (2008-12), two seasons with the back-to-back Triple-A champion Omaha Storm Chasers (2013-14), two seasons at Advanced-A Wilmington (2000-2001) and two seasons at Class-A with Charleston (1999) and Lansing (1998).

Jason Simontacchi joins the Royals’ organization as assistant pitching coordinator, after spending the last five seasons at various levels in the St. Louis Cardinals’ organization. He was originally selected by Kansas City in the 21st round of the 1996 Draft and played four seasons in the Majors with St. Louis (2002-04) and the Washington Nationals (2007).

Rafael Belliard joined the Royals’ coaching staff during Spring Training in 2014 as a special assistant to the general manager and returns for his fifth year in that role. He will also coordinate minor league infield instruction for the fourth straight season.

J.C. Boscan enters his second season as the Royals’ minor league catching coordinator. He played in parts of 19 seasons in the minors, most recently in 2015 with Triple-A Omaha. Boscan also played in parts of four seasons in the Majors with Atlanta (2010-12) and the Chicago Cubs (2013).

The Royals’ minor league medical staff will remain the same with Chris DeLucia serving as the minor league medical coordinator and Tony Medina as the Latin American medical coordinator. Garrett Sherrillwill be the minor league strength and conditioning coordinator. Justin Hahn returns for his fifth year as the rehab coordinator/physical therapist.

Will Simon will be the minor league equipment manager for the 12th straight season, working with the player development, international operations and amateur scouting departments to supply equipment and apparel throughout the minor league system and the Dominican Academy. Jeff Diskin is in his fifth season as the cultural development coordinator. Monica Ramirez will begin her second season in her role as Royals’ education/ESL & Latin American initiatives coordinator, after serving in a consulting role in the past. Tim Bavester enters his first season as a full-time assistant video coordinator, after serving as an intern the previous three seasons.

Read more: Kansas City Royals
PRESS RELEASE WRITTEN BY ROYALS MEDIA RELATIONS; COURTESY MLBpressbox.com

 

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