The leader of the defending Pacific Coast League champion Omaha Storm Chasers remains intact, as 2011 Mike Coolbaugh award winner Mike Jirschele returns to his managerial post for a 10th-consecutive season. The Wisconsin native also managed the club from 1995-1997 and is a four-time winner of the Dick Howser Award (1992, 1994, 2005 and 2011). Doug Henry will tutor the pitchers at Omaha for the third straight season while Tommy Gregg will serve his fourth season as the hitting coach. Dave Iannicca and Joey Greany will serve as the trainer and strength and conditioning coach, respectively.
The Northwest Arkansas Naturals return Brian Poldberg at the helm for the fifth straight season. Poldberg has led the Naturals to the playoffs in each of his four seasons and was named an All-Star in 2010 and 2011. Poldberg's staff will include 2011 All-Star pitching coach Larry Carter, who enters his 15th season in the Royals organization and 11th at the Double-A level, and 2010-11 Texas League All-Star Terry Bradshaw, who will tutor the hitters at Double-A for the third consecutive year. Masa Koyanagi and George Timke will work as the trainer and strength and conditioning coach, respectively.
Vance Wilson will jump a level and serve as the manager of the Class-A Advanced Wilmington Blue Rocks in 2012 after leading the Kane County Cougars to the playoffs last season in his debut season as a skipper. Steve Luebber will remain as the pitching coach while former big league outfielder Damon Hollins will be the hitting coach. Trainer James Stone and strength and conditioning coach Adam Vish round out Wilson’s staff.
The Royals will begin their second season with the Kane County (Ill.) Cougars as the club’s Midwest League (A) affiliate. Kane County will be managed by Brian Buchanan, who skippered Idaho Falls in 2010 and 2011. Jim Brower returns as the Cougars pitching coach. Julio Bruno, the hitting coach for Surprise in 2011, will serve in that same capacity on Buchanan’s staff. Mark Keiser and David Kathmann will serve as the trainer and strength and conditioning coach, respectively.
Omar Ramirez, who was the hitting coach for Idaho Falls in 2011, will be on the bench as the manager of the Chukars in 2012. Jerry Nyman will serve as the Chukars pitching coach for the second straight campaign. Justin Gemoll will tutor the hitters at Idaho Falls after filling the same role in 2011 at Wilmington (A-Advanced). Nathan Dine joins the Royals organization as the strength and conditioning coach. The Chukars trainer has yet to be announced.
Tommy Shields joins the Kansas City system as the manager with Burlington (R) in the Appalachian League. Shields spent the last seven seasons as the Atlanta Braves minor league infield coordinator. Carlos Martinez will be the pitching coach after working in the same position for Surprise in 2011. Jon Williams will work with the hitters. Trainer Adrian Ramon and strength and conditioning coach Richard White both join the Royals organization and round out Shields’ staff. Ramon comes to the Royals from Florida Gulf Coast University.
The Royals rookie league squad in Surprise, Ariz., will be managed by Darryl Kennedy for the third straight season. Kennedy’s staff will include Mark Davis, who returns as a pitching coach for Surprise after a season as the minor league pitching coordinator; pitching coach/rehab coach Carlos Reyes, who joined the Royals in 2008; hitting coaches Andre David and Nelson Liriano; coach and former Royals postseason hero Willie Aikens; trainer Saburo Hagihara; and strength and conditioning coach Luis Perez, who also serves the club as the Latin American strength and conditioning coordinator.
Victor Baez will work his fifth year as the Dominican Academy field coordinator. Under the direction of manager Jose Mejia, the remainder of the staff includes Rafael Roque (pitching); Abraham Nunez (hitting); Ramon Martinez (infield); Onil Joseph (outfield); Sergio de Luna (coach); Martin Berroa (trainer); Raymundo Sido (trainer); and Jose Rosario (strength and conditioning coach).
Coordinators and Roving positions:
Tony Tijerina enters his sixth year with KC and his second as minor league field coordinator.
Bill Fischer, a former Major League Pitching Coach with the Reds, Red Sox and Rays, will work his 65th year in professional baseball in 2012 as Senior Pitching Advisor. Fischer, who re-joined the organization in 2007, also worked with the club from 1975-1978 and in 1984.
2012 will be Jack Maloof's fifth season with the Royals as a special assistant to player development and minor league hitting coordinator.
Rusty Kuntz, after serving in 2008-2009 and for the final four months of 2010 on the Royals Major League staff as first base coach, will work his second season as special assistant to general manager/player development.
Rick Knapp, who served as the Major League pitching coach of the Detroit Tigers the last three seasons, joins the Royals as the minor league pitching coordinator.
Glenn Hubbard, a 10-year Major League veteran and a coach for the Atlanta Braves for 21 seasons, returns for his second year as the club’s infield coordinator.
John Wathan returns for his 40th season in baseball, his 36th with the Royals, as a special assistant to player development/scouting.
Chris DeLucia will serve his third season as the minor league medical coordinator in 2012.
Sean McQueeney joins the Royals organization as minor league rehab coordinator and physical therapist. He was most recently with the Seattle Mariners organization.
Tony Medina is the Latin America medical coordinator after working the last eight years as a trainer at various levels.
Garrett Sherrill returns to the Royals after two seasons with the San Francisco Giants and will serve as the minor league strength and conditioning coordinator, taking over for Ryan Stoneberg who was promoted to the Major League position.
Luis Perez, as mentioned above, will serve as the Latin America strength and conditioning coordinator in addition to working for Surprise.
Nick Leto and Will Simon return as the manager of Arizona operations and minor league equipment manager, respectively.
Alvin Cuevas returns for his fifth season as manager of Dominican operations.