Mike Jirschele returns for his third stint as manager of the Omaha Storm Chasers as the Royals announced their 2023 minor league field staff. Jirshcele, who is in his 32nd year with the organization, previously managed in Omaha from 1995-97 and from 2003-13, and spent last year as bench coach for the Northwest Arkansas Naturals.
Jirschele will be joined at Triple-A by pitching coach Dane Johnson, who was with the Storm Chasers last year, and hitting coach Bijan Rademacher, who spent the last two years in the Diamondbacks organization. Chris Nelson will serve as assistant hitting coach after serving on the coaching staff for Columbia last season.
Tommy Shields will get his first chance to manager, taking over the Northwest Arkansas Naturals (Double-A) after spending last year as the bench coach for Omaha. He takes over for Chris Widger, who left the organization and is managing in the Frontier League. Former Royals bullpen coach Larry Carter joins the Naturals as pitching coach, Andy LaRoche joins the staff as hitting coach after serving in Quad Cities last year, and Christian Colón will serve as bench coach.
Brooks Conrad returns to manage the Quad Cities River Bandits (High-A) for the second year in a row. Joining him are hitting coach Ryan Powers, pitching coach Derrick Lewis, and bench coach David Noworyta. Powers was an assistant hitting coach in Omaha last year, while Lewis was pitching coach at Northwest Arkansas, and Noworyta was the assistant hitting coach for the Bandits.
Tony Peña Jr. returns as manager of the Columbia Fireflies (Low-A) with pitching coach John Habyan also returning. Matt Schmidt will come on as bench coach after working with the Arizona Summer League team last year. Ari Adut joins the organization as a hitting coach after working in High-A for the Philadelphia Phillies organization.
Jesus Azuaje moves from Columbia hitting coach to manage the Arizona Summer League team, a league he once managed in the Mariners organization. On his staff will be co-pitching coaches Julio Pimentel, Jesús Delgado, and Mark Davis, hitting coaches Andre David, Ramon Castro, and Alejandro Gomez, and assistant coach Miguel Bernard.
The Royals will have two Dominican Summer League teams with Ramón Martínez and Sergio De Luna at the helm. José Veras and Christopher Marte will serve as pitching coaches, with Wilson Betemit Sr. and Fernando Martínez as hitting coaches, and Joel Rivera as an assistant hitting coach. Quilvio Veras Sr. and Onil Joseph will serve as bench coaches with Jesus Atencio as an assistant coach.
The Royals also announced a number of minor league development staff hires this week, including the hiring of Paul Menhart as a pitching advisor. The former Blue Jays pitcher worked as a coach in the Nationals organization for 15 years and was their pitching coach when they won a title in 2019. Former Royals pitcher and scout Nate Adcock was named assistant director of pitching performance/scouting and Drew Saylor was named director of hitting performance. Former Omaha Storm Chasers manager Scott Thorman also moves into a front office role, serving as Minor League field coordinator.