The Kansas City Royals have named former Seattle Mariners manager Don Wakamatsu and long-time Omaha Storm Chasers manager Mike Jirschele to the Major League coaching staff. Wakamatsu will serve as the Royals’ bench coach and catching instructor after working as a special assignment scout for the New York Yankees during the 2013 season. Jirschele, who has managed KC’s Triple-A affiliate in Omaha since 2003, will carry the title of Major League coach. Dale Sveum, who was added to the Major League staff on October 3, will serve as third base coach and also oversee infield instruction.
With the most recent hires, the Royals have finalized their coaching staff for the 2014 season. Wakamatsu, Jirschele and Sveum will join manager Ned Yost’s coaching staff along with returnees Dave Eiland (pitching), Pedro Grifol (hitting), Rusty Kuntz (first base/outfield/baserunning) and Doug Henry (bullpen). Head athletic trainer Nick Kenney and the entire Royals’ training staff will also return for the 2014 season.
Wakamatsu served as the manager of the Mariners for the 2009 season and a majority of 2010 and was the Toronto Blue Jays’ bench coach in 2011-12, before taking his most recent position within the Yankees’ scouting department. He has also been on coaching staffs with the Texas Rangers (2003-07) and Oakland A’s (2008). He was selected to be a coach for the American League during the 2009 All-Star Game in St. Louis by Tampa Bay manager Joe Maddon.
Jirschele has been in the Kansas City Royals’ organization since 1992 and has been the manager of the Omaha Storm Chasers for the last 11 seasons. He led Omaha to the Triple-A Championship this season as well as the Pacific Coast League title for the second time in the last three years. He has also won three-consecutive Northern Division titles in the PCL. The 1994 Sporting News Minor League Manager of the Year returned to the Omaha dugout in 2003 after serving as the Royals’ coordinator of instruction from 1999-2002. Jirschele managed Omaha from 1995-97 before being named infield instructor for the Royals’ minor league system in 1998. He also managed Wilmington (1994), Rockford (1993) and Gulf Coast (1992). He led the Blue Rocks to the Mills Cup Championship in 1994, finishing with a 94-44 record while earning Carolina League Manager of the Year honors. He was also named Gulf Coast League Manager of the Year in 1992. The long-time minor league skipper was a 2011 inductee into the Central Wisconsin Baseball Hall of Fame and the 2011 Mike Coolbaugh Award winner for outstanding baseball work ethic, knowledge of the game, and skill in mentoring young players on the field. He has accumulated 1,208 career victories at the minor league level, including 995 at Omaha.