"It's good to be back," Hillman said on Wednesday. "I was here during the reconstruction [of Kauffman Stadium], and it's one of the most beautiful parks that there is."
• Shop for postseason gear
Hillman went 152-207 in just over two seasons with the Royals, getting dismissed 35 games into the 2010 season. He was let go by general manager Dayton Moore just before some of the Royals' top prospects reached the Majors. Eric Hosmer, Salvador Perez and Mike Moustakas made their debuts in 2011.
"I was never bitter about the decision because I know because of the numbers of years as a manager, you're accountable for the wins and losses and you assume that responsibility with the position, and if you're not prepared to assume that responsibility, you shouldn't be a manager in baseball," Hillman said. "There was no hard feelings. I was with a wonderful group of people. "
Hillman, 53, spent last season as a special assistant in Major and Minor League operations with the Yankees -- a job he took after he worked for three seasons as the bench coach under Don Mattingly with the Dodgers. Hillman also managed for five seasons in Japan, where he led the Hokkaido Nippon-Ham Fighters to a championship in 2006.
Hillman spent 13 years managing and coaching at the Minor League level in the Yankees system (1989-2001), and he also served as director of player development for one season with the Rangers ('02). He played three seasons of Minor League Baseball in Cleveland's system from 1985-87 before serving as a scout for the organization from 1987-88.
While Hillman enjoyed his time in Kansas City, he has no desire to manage again.
"I was hoping to be the manager here until the cavalry got here, so to speak," he said. "We knew it was going to be a process that was going to take several years. Dayton and I discussed that in the interview stage. It didn't quite happen in the timetable you're held accountable for as a manager, and I understand that. I was sad to go, sad to be asked to leave. I still have a lot of great friends here with the Kansas City Royals and stay in touch with several front-office guys and field guys, too. It's a great staff and a great organization."
Brian McTaggart is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, Tag's Lines. Follow @brianmctaggart on Twitter and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.