KANSAS CITY -- One of the subtle offseason moves the Royals made was promoting Double-A Northwest Arkansas hitting coach Brian Buchanan to the Major League staff to assist hitting coach Dale Sveum.Just who is Buchanan? He is a 43-year-old former outfielder/first baseman for the Twins, Padres and Mets who originally
KANSAS CITY -- One of the subtle offseason moves the Royals made was promoting Double-A Northwest Arkansas hitting coach Brian Buchanan to the Major League staff to assist hitting coach Dale Sveum.
Just who is Buchanan? He is a 43-year-old former outfielder/first baseman for the Twins, Padres and Mets who originally was drafted by the Yankees. In parts of five seasons, he hit .258 with 32 home runs.
Buchanan managed in the low Minors for the Royals beginning in 2010 with stops in Idaho Falls, Kane County and Lexington before he became the hitting coach for Northwest Arkansas last season.
Here's a quick Q&A:
MLB.com: Did you see this promotion coming?
Buchanan: I really didn't. I got a call a few weeks ago from [Royals assistant general manager] J.J. [Picollo], and he asked if I was interested in a job on the big league staff. It's not like you're going say, "No, I'd rather keep riding buses." I said yes pretty fast.
MLB.com: What went through your mind when the promotion was offered?
Buchanan: [I was] very excited. For personal reasons, you obviously want a chance to get back to the big leagues. I'm really looking forward to it and to get started.
MLB.com: What's your relationship like with Sveum?
Buchanan: Obviously, I knew about Dale as a player and as a manager. We have gotten along well professionally in Spring Training. I wouldn't say we're best buddies, but we share many philosophies about hitting, and I can't wait to start working with him.
MLB.com: Do you know what your role will be?
Buchanan: I think that will get worked out through time, whether it's taking a lot of early BP with the guys or time in the cage or analyzing pitchers through film, whatever they need me to do.
MLB.com: You seem to have had some instant success last season with prospect Hunter Dozier, who seemed to take a huge step offensively. What was the key to his turnaround?
Buchanan: He is easy to work with. He's a big, strong kid with a great work ethic, so that makes it easy. We just tried to focus on him staying on top of the ball and hitting more line drives, just stressed to keep the ball out of the air and more so about driving the ball. I only had him a month before he got promoted, so I can't take that much credit. It was him.
MLB.com: Any basic hitting tenets you adhere to?
Buchanan: I would say I'm big on staying inside the ball and driving it with full [arm] extension. Every big leaguer you see with some pop has great extension through the zone.
MLB.com: Your wife, Jill, has a very famous father ...
Buchanan: Yes, my father-in-law is John Havlicek. Jill and I both went to the University of Virginia and met there, though we were just friends until much later when we started dating. He's just a normal guy, normal father-in-law. He just happens to be in the [Basketball] Hall of Fame.
Jeffrey Flanagan has covered the Royals since 1991, and for MLB.com since 2015. Follow him on Twitter @FlannyMLB.