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Royals announce 2022 coaching staff, add Damon Hollins to coach first base

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Rusty Kuntz will step down from his coaching position.

Detroit Tigers v Kansas City Royals Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images

The Royals announced they will return most of their coaching staff for the 2022 season under manager Mike Matheny, although first base coach Rusty Kuntz will step down from the first base coach position to be replaced by Damon Hollins. The Royals are also adding Keoni DeRenna to the staff as an assistant hitting coach. Cal Eldred will return as pitching coach with Terry Bradshaw as hitting coach. Vance Wilson will serve as third base coach with Larry Carter at bullpen coach. Pedro Grifol continues as bench coach with John Mabry serving in an unspecified coaching role. Tony Pena, Jr., who served as a coach on the staff this season, will be re-assigned to manage in the minors.

Hollins spent four years as a big league outfielder with the Braves, Dodgers, and Devil Rays. He spent a year in Japan before finishing his career in the Royals organization as an outfielder for Omaha. The 47-year old has spent 13 seasons with the Royals, previously serving as a hitting coach at Kane County, Burlington, Wilmington, and Idaho Falls. He filled in for Kuntz at first base coach in 2020 when health concerns over the pandemic prevented Rusty from traveling with the team.

Keoni DeRenna is a Hawaii native who was a standout at the University of Arizona before an eight-year professional career in the Braves, Yankees, Diamondbacks, Red Sox and Phillies organizations as an infielder. He began coaching in 2012 serving as a hitting instructor in the Pirates and Cubs organization and even serving as manager of the Pirates’ Dominican Summer League team in 2013. He joined the Royals in 2020 as an assistant hitting coordinator, part of the changes the Royals made with their minor league development that has drawn rave reviews for the progress prospects made at the Alternate Site that year. His father is a former minor leaguer and sports biomechanics expert, and his great-grandfather is Wilbur Cooper, who is the all-time leader in wins in Pirates history.

Rusty Kuntz, who has tried to retire before, will transition into a front office role, admitting that the length of the season was wearing on him.

Mike Matheny returns for his third season with the Royals after managing them to a 100-122 (.450 winning percentage) record in 2020-21.