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Royals announce 2022 minor league coaching staffs

Yes, there will be a minor league season.

Kansas City Royals v Detroit Tigers
Tony Pena #1 of the Kansas City Royals looks on against the Detroit Tigers during the game at Comerica Park on July 7, 2009 
Photo by Mark Cunningham/MLB Photos via Getty Images

The Royals announced 2022 minor league coaching assignments, with much of the staff returning from last year. Omaha will have a new manager to replace the retiring Brian Poldberg, with Scott Thorman promoted to Triple-A after leading the Double-A Naturals last year. Thorman played for the Storm Chasers in 2009 and 2010. Brian Buchanan will serve as hitting coach in Omaha while Dane Johnson will serve as pitching coach and Tommy Shields as bench coach. The Royals are also adding an assistant hitting coach at each level, with Ryan Powers filling that role with the Storm Chasers, after previously serving as a minor league video assistant.

Chris Widger moves up to Double-A Northwest Arkansas after leading High-A Quad Cities last season. Widger led the Bandits to a 77-41 record in 2021, the fourth-best record by any minor league team. Former Royals third base coach Mike Jirschele will serve as his bench coach, with Derrick Lewis serving as pitching coach, Abraham Nunez serving as hitting coach, and Royals post-season hero Christian Colon tabbed as assistant hitting coach.

The new skipper at Quad Cities will be Brooks Conrad, who managed at Low-A Columbia, and won a title in 2019 with Low-A Lexington. His pitching coach is Steve Luebber with hitting coach Andy LaRoche and assistant hitting coach David Noworyta. Kevin Kuntz, son of former Royals coach Rusty Kuntz, will also serve as a coach on the staff.

Tony Pena, Jr. moves back to minor league managing after spending last year as coach with the Royals. He will lead the Low-A Columbia Fireflies with Jesus Azuaje serving as hitting coach and John Habyan as pitching coach, with Chris Nelson as the assistant hitting coach and Glenn Hubbard as bench coach.

Omar Ramirez returns to manage the Arizona Royals, with Mark Davis and Carlos Martinez as pitching coaches, Julio Pimentel as rehab pitching coach, Andre David as bench coach, Ramon Castro as hitting coach, Miguel Bernard and Alex Liddi as assistant hitting coaches, and Matt Schmidt as an assistant coach.

The Royals also announced the return of many of their minor league coordinators and support staff, including advisers Rafael Belliard, Chino Cadahia, Harry Spilman, and John Wathan, director of performance science John Wagle, and minor league coordinators Jason Simontacci, Drew Saylor, Victor Baez, Eddie Rodriguez, J.C. Boscan, Justin Kemp, Jarret Abell, and Jason Nichols. Mitch Stetter, Jeff Suppan, Nick, Jackson, and Derrick Robinson, will also be helping out with minor league development.

Despite the Major League lockout, the minor league seasons are scheduled to proceed, although with no players currently on 40-man rosters.