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Royals dismiss Seitzer as hitting coach

Yost says club has potential to produce more runs with homers
KANSAS CITY -- When it comes to assessing the Royals' dismissal of hitting coach Kevin Seitzer on Thursday, there are some key numbers in the final American League batting statistics.

Kansas City ranked fourth in batting average (.265) and third in total hits (1,492), but among the 14 teams, it was 12th in runs scored (676) and tied for last in homers (131).

Manager Ned Yost believes the Royals can score more by powering up. During a news conference at Kauffman Stadium, Yost explained that Seitzer's basic philosophy was keeping the ball in the middle of the field.

"I think we've got a group of young power hitters that are capable of hitting homers," Yost said. "Our offense was built more around singles and doubles, because we've got a big field and we drive the big parts of the gaps. But it's difficult to get three or four singles in a row to score a run. We have to have the ability to open it up a little bit more, use the power that we have to take advantage of a quick strike -- a walk, a base hit, boom! There's three runs instead of trying to mass eight singles or seven singles and two doubles together to score some runs."

Seitzer, a former Royals All-Star third baseman, completed his fourth season as hitting coach this year. No successor was named.

Yost said he'd like to stay within the Royals' organization for Seitzer's replacement. Candidates likely will include Minor League hitting coordinator Jack Maloof, Omaha hitting coach Tommy Gregg and Northwest Arkansas hitting coach Terry Bradshaw.

The rest of Yost's current coaching staff will return -- bench coach Chino Cadahia, pitching coach Dave Eiland, first-base coach Rusty Kuntz and third-base coach Eddie Rodriguez.

The position of bullpen coach has yet to be filled, but the leading candidates are from the Royals' Minor League system -- Omaha pitching coach Doug Henry and Northwest Arkansas pitching coach Larry Carter, who auditioned by splitting the job in the last month of the season. Former bullpen coach Steve Foster left on Aug. 31 to become the Royals' Minor League pitching coordinator.

On Aug. 4, first-base coach Doug Sisson was dismissed and replaced by Kuntz, who held the job previously and was still in the organization.

Seitzer joined the Royals' staff prior to the 2009 season. He played with the Royals from 1986-91 and was an All-Star in 1987, when he batted .323 as a rookie. He also played for Milwaukee and Cleveland and was Arizona's hitting coach in the first half of the 2007 season.

"Just felt like the offense underperformed all year long," Yost said. "Kevin Seitzer has tremendous passion, tremendous energy, worked his tail off, but we just felt like there was more offense in there, so we felt like it was time to make a change."

General manager Dayton Moore joined Yost in discussing other topics concerning the past season and the future.

• Chances of retaining pitcher Jeremy Guthrie, who is a potential free agent: "Jeremy came over here in a deal, performed very well, gave a spark to our rotation, and we'll evaluate that and hopefully can get him back," Moore said.

• Possibility of exercising the $8 million option on closer Joakim Soria's contract after his Tommy John surgery: "We've spoken to Joakim and talked about it," Moore said. "I think instinctively we all know that we'd love to have him back."

• The future of starter Luke Hochevar, who finished 8-16 with a 5.72 ERA: "Dayton and I talk about this a lot," Yost said. "We both believe in Luke Hochevar and so does Dave Eiland. We just think once it clicks for him, he's going to be very successful."

• Whether the necessary funds will be available to compete for free agents, particularly starting pitchers: "I feel confident that we'll be able to compete for winning-type players," Moore said, but declined to discuss a specific payroll budget for 2013.

• Where outfielder Wil Myers, the top-rated prospect in the Royals' organization, fits for 2013: "He's going to be able to compete for a job in Spring Training," Moore said. "Where that goes, we'll see. We're very proud of him. He's a young, talented player."

• On where the Royals stand in terms of being close to having the talent to win a championship: "I think it's going to happen very, very quick," Moore said.

Dick Kaegel is a reporter for

Kansas City Royals