Royals announce 2015 minor league coaching staffs/coordinators

KANSAS CITY, MO (January 9, 2015) - The Kansas City Royals announced their 2015 minor league staff assignments today, also naming their minor league coordinators for the upcoming season.

The leader of the 2014 Triple-A champion Omaha Storm Chasers, Brian Poldberg, returns for his second season at the post after guiding the Storm Chasers to their third Pacific Coast League title in the last four years. The Omaha native also served in the same capacity at Northwest Arkansas (AA) for six seasons (2008-13). Al Nipper joins the Royals' organization as Omaha's Pitching Coach. Nipper comes to the Storm Chasers after working in the Detroit Tigers' organization the past three seasons. He served as the Royals' pitching coach at the Major League level from 2001-02. Tommy Gregg will return for his seventh season as the hitting coach with Omaha. Dave Iannicca will serve as the team's trainer, while Joe Greany returns to the Chasers as the strength and conditioning coach after serving the same role in Wilmington last year.

Northwest Arkansas manager Vance Wilson returns for his second year with the club and his fifth as a manager in the Royals' organization, also serving in the same role at Wilmington (2012-13) and Kane County (2011). Pitching coach Jim Brower returns for his third year with the Naturals, while Brandon Moore joins the organization as the hitting coach. Moore worked in the same capacity last season with the Birmingham Barons, the Chicago White Sox Double-A affiliate. The Naturals' training staff remains the same with Masa Koyanagi and Austin Driggers returning as the trainer and strength and conditioning coach, respectively.

Brian Buchanan moves to Wilmington (A-Advanced) to take over as manager of the Blue Rocks. The veteran minor league manager is in his sixth season in the Royals' organization, previously managing two years with Idaho Falls (2010-11), one at Kane County (2012) and the past two in Lexington (2013-14). He's joined on the bench by long-time pitching coach Steve Luebber, who begins his ninth year in the organization. Abraham Nunez joins the staff at Wilmington as hitting coach after serving in the same role in Lexington last season. James Stone returns for his sixth year with the organization.

Omar Ramirez takes over as manager at Lexington (A) after serving in the same role at Idaho Falls the last three years (2012-14). Ramirez was also a hitting coach in the Royals organization for the three years prior (2009-11). Carlos Reyes becomes the Legends' pitching coach after serving as the organization's rehab pitching coordinator for the previous seven seasons. Damon Hollins joins Ramirez in moving from Idaho Falls, to become the Legends' hitting coach. Veteran coach Glenn Hubbard returns as the bench coach, while Mark Keiser will begin his fifth year in the organization as the trainer.   

The Idaho Falls Chukars (Rookie) will be led by first-year manager Justin Gemoll, who served as the bench coach in Wilmington last season. Gemoll is in his seventh season in Kansas City's organization. Former Royals pitcher Jeff Suppan begins his first year as a full-time coach in the organization, being named the Chukars' pitching coach. Suppan coached at the high school level last year in California after retiring as a player after a 17-year Major League career. Andre David becomes the hitting coach at Idaho Falls after serving in the same role at Northwest Arkansas last season. Robbie Oates returns for his third season as trainer.

Burlington (Rookie) also has a new leader with former bench coach Scott Thorman taking over managing duties. Thorman, a former Major League player, is in his second year of professional coaching. His staff includes Carlos Martinez returning as the club's pitching coach, who has been with the organization since 2001 and newcomer Jesus Azuaje, who comes over from the Los Angeles Dodgers organization to be the Royals' hitting coach. Saburo Hagihara remains with the club as the trainer. 

The Royals will re-boot their Arizona League team (Rookie) in Surprise for the 2015 season, after a one-year hiatus. Former Wilmington manager Darryl Kennedy will assume the role of manager of the Surprise Royals and joining him are Mark Davis and Mitch Stetter as pitching coaches and Nelson Liriano and Willie Aikens as hitting instructors. Aikens (Idaho Falls) and Liriano (Burlington) both served in similar capacities last season, while Davis was the pitching coach at Idaho Falls in 2014. Stetter also coached in the Royals' organization last season.  

A majority of the Dominican Royals' coaching staff remains the same with Victor Baez returning as the field coordinator and Jose Gualdron returning for his second season as manager. Miguel Bernard (coach), Sergio De Luna (coach), Onil Joseph (outfield coach) and Ramon Martinez (infield coach) have all worked with the Royals' Dominican team for multiple years. The newcomer to the staff is pitching coach Gustavo Martinez, a Dominican native who concluded his playing career in Europe recently. Martin Berroa and Manuel Plaza will serve as the team's trainers, while Jose Rosario is the strength and conditioning coach.

Coordinators and Roving positions:
Former Major League bench coach Chino Cadahia begins his fifth year in the organization and his 31st in coaching at the professional level. Cadahia previously served as the bench coach in Kansas City for two seasons, while he also served that role with the Atlanta Braves from 2007-10. He was a part of the Atlanta organization from 1996-2010. His new role will have him help oversee the development of the Royals minor league players as the Senior Coordinator of Player Development. 

Bill Fischer, a former Major League pitching coach with the Reds, Red Sox and Rays will begin his 68th year in professional baseball in 2015 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 43rd season in baseball and 39th with the organization as a Special Assistant to Player Development.

Bill Springman joins the organization as the Advisor to Player Development/Hitting after spending the last 14 seasons in the Minnesota Twins' organization. Springman, who played collegiately at Oral Roberts, also coached at Union High School in Tulsa, Okla.

Larry Carter moves from his role as the pitching coach in Omaha to the club's minor league Pitching Coordinator. Carter will begin his 18th season in the Royals organization including 11 years at the Double-A level, with Wichita (2002-07) and Northwest Arkansas (2008-12). 

Terry Bradshaw begins his 16th season as an instructor in the Royals organization, returning for his third season as the club's minor league Hitting Coordinator. He previously worked as the hitting coach for Charleston (2000), Burlington (2001), Wilmington (2002-03), Omaha (2004-08) and Northwest Arkansas (2009-12). 

Rafael Belliard joined the Royals' coaching staff during spring training last season as a Special Assistant to the General Manager and returns for his second year where he will coordinate minor league infield instruction. A 1995 World Champion with the Atlanta Braves, Belliard spent the previous eight seasons as the infield coach for the Detroit Tigers.

Another long-time Major Leaguer, Milt Thompson, returns for his third year in the Royals organization as the Outfield, Baserunning and Bunting Coordinator. Thompson served in a dual role last season, while also serving as Wilmington's hitting coach in 2014. 

The Royals' minor league training staff will remain the same with Chris DeLucia serving as the Minor League Medical Coordinator and Tony Medina as the Latin America Medical Coordinator. Garrett Sherrill will be the Minor League Strength and Conditioning Coordinator, while Luis Perez will handle Latin America Strength and Conditioning Coordinator Duties. Justin Hahn returns for his second year as the Rehab Coordinator/Physical Therapist, Jeff Diskin is also in his second season as the Cultural Development Coordinator, while Freddy Sandoval, a former Major Leaguer with the Los Angeles Angels, begins his second year as the organization's Mental Skills Coach.