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Familiar faces return to Royals' Minor League staffs

Stability will run all the way through the Royals organization next year, when most of the team's Minor League affiliates will have familiar staffs. The club announced the coaching staffs for all of its Minor League teams Friday, and six of the seven afilliates will have a returning manager.

That theme is most evident at Triple-A Omaha, where manager Mike Jirschele -- a four-time winner of the Dick Howser Award for contributions to the farm system -- will be back for his 11th straight season with the Storm Chasers. Jirschele will have a familiar lieutenant in hitting coach Tommy Gregg, returning for the fifth straight season.

The Storm Chasers will have a new face in pitching coach Larry Carter, who's beginning his 16th consecutive season in the Kansas City organization. Trainer Dave Iannicca and strength and conditioning coach Joey Greany will be back in their respective capacities to flesh out the staff.

Brian Poldberg -- the only manager the Double-A Northwest Arkansas franchise has ever known -- will return for his sixth consecutive season. Poldberg has led the Naturals to the playoffs in four of his five seasons, and he'll have a new pitching coach in former big leaguer Jim Brower next season.

Nelson Liriano, beginning his 12th season in the organization, will be the Double-A hitting coach, and Masa Koyanagi and David Kathmann will handle the training and conditioning roles.

Former big leaguer Vance Wilson will be back for his second year as the manager of the Royals' Class A Advanced affiliate in Wilmington. Wilson led the Blue Rocks to the playoffs last season, and he'll have a returning pitching coach in Steve Luebber. Julio Bruno will be the team's hitting coach, and trainer James Stone and strength and conditioning coach Adam Vish round out the staff.

The 2013 campaign will mark the first season for the Royals' new affiliate in the South Atlantic League, and Brian Buchanan will serve as the manager for the Class A Lexington Legends. Buchanan previously spent one season managing Kane County and two in Idaho Falls for the Royals.

Jerry Nyman, who was the pitching coach in Idaho Falls last season, will be the pitching coach in Lexington, and Justin Gemoll will serve as the hitting coach. Buchanan's staff will be completed by trainer Mark Keiser and by strength and conditioning coach Nate Dine.

Omar Ramirez will be back to manage Idaho Falls, and Steve Merriman will be his pitching coach. Damon Hollins -- who has coached in the organization for three seasons -- will be the hitting coach. The Royals have yet to announce a trainer or a strength coach for the Idaho Falls affiliate.

Tommy Shields led rookie-level Burlington to the championship series in the Appalachian League last year, and he'll be back to reprise his role in 2012. Carlos Martinez will return as the pitching coach, and hitting coach Abraham Nunez will be promoted from the Dominican Summer League.

Darryl Kennedy will be back to manage the team's rookie-league squad in Surprise, Ariz., for the fourth straight season, and Mark Davis will be back to reprise his role as pitching coach. Hitting coach Pedro Grifol and former postseason hero Willie Aikens will also be part of the staff.

Victor Baez will be back for his sixth year as the field coordinator at the Royals' Dominican Academy, and former infield coach Ramon Martinez will serve as the manager of the team there.

The Royals will also have a lot of familiar faces roving among affiliates next season. Tony Tijerina will be in his third season as the Minor League field coordinator, and former big league pitching coachBill Fischer will be back to serve as the Royals' senior pitching advisor.

Terry Bradshaw -- former hitting coach at both Double-A and Triple-A within the Kansas City organization -- will be the team's Minor League hitting coordinator. And Steve Foster, formerly the team's big league bullpen coach, will be the team's Minor League pitching coordinator.

Glenn Hubbard will serve his third season as the team's infield coordinator, and former catcher and Royals manager John "Duke" Wathan will be back as a special assistant to player development and scouting. Wathan will be in his 41st season in pro baseball and his 37th with the Royals.

Spencer Fordin is a reporter for
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