(WHITAKER BANK BALLPARK, Lexington, Ky.) Brian Buchanan will be back in 2014 for a second year as manager of the Lexington Legends. The Kansas City Royals announced the 2014 field staff Friday for each of their minor league affiliates, including the Legends.
Buchanan will be joined on the Legends staff by pitching coach Steve Merriman, hitting coach Abraham Nunez and bench coach Glenn Hubbard. Mark Keiser will return for his second year as the Legends' athletic trainer. Aaron Reis will serve as strength and conditioning coach.
"It is a great pleasure to have Brian -- 'Buck' -- back in Lexington," said Legends President/COO Andy Shea. "This is another strong sign of support to the Lexington community and the Lexington Legends from the Kansas City Royals."
Buchanan, a former major league player, has been a manager in the Kansas City system for four years. He was with Idaho Falls of the Pioneer League in 2010 and 2011 before moving to class A Kane County of the Midwest League for the 2012 season and Lexington in 2013, the Legends' first season as the Royals' class A affiliate.
Buchanan was an All-American player at the University of Virginia before being chosen by the New York Yankees in the first round of the 1994 draft. He played in the major leagues with Minnesota (2000-2002), San Diego (2002-2004) and the New York Mets (2005). He played in Japan in 2007 before signing with the Royals and playing for their triple-A affiliate in Omaha in 2008 and 2009.
Merriman served as pitching coach for Idaho Falls of the Pioneer League in 2013, his first year in the Royals' organization. He joined the Royals after serving as pitching coach for the University of Michigan in 2012. He was the Wolverines' hitting coach in the 1995 season and the pitching coach/recruiting coordinator in 2002.
Merriman coached in the New York Mets organization from 2004-06 and in the Arizona Diamondbacks organization from 2007-09. He worked for the Major League Scouting Bureau from 2009 to 2011, serving as an area scout in the Midwest. Merriman also spent time as an associate scout for the Colorado Rockies (2002-04) and was a bullpen catcher and bullpen practice pitcher for the Detroit Tigers (1996-99). Merriman holds a bachelor's of science degree in education from Central Michigan University and a master of education degree in sports administration from Wayne State.
Nunez joins the Legends after one year as the hitting coach at Burlington, the Royals' affiliate in the Appalachian League. He was the hitting coach with the Dominican Royals in 2012.
Nunez played in the major leagues for 12 seasons with the Pittsburgh Pirates (1997-2004), St. Louis Cardinals (2005), Philadelphia Phillies (2006-07) and New York Mets (2008), hitting .242 lifetime as a utility infielder. He batted .285 in 139 games for St. Louis in 2005.
Hubbard, a former National League All-Star as a player, is in his fourth year with the Royals after 21 seasons as a coach in the Atlanta Braves' organization. For 12 seasons, he was the Braves' first base coach under manager Bobby Cox. Before joining the Braves' major league staff in 1999, Hubbard coached at Bradenton (1990), Macon (1991-92, 1994 and 1998) and Richmond (1993, 1995-97).
A 20th-round draft pick of the Braves in 1975, Hubbard played in the majors for Atlanta from 1978 to 1987. He concluded his playing career with Oakland, playing on an American League pennant winner in 1988 and the A's World Series championship team in 1989.
Hubbard was a National League All-Star in 1983. He tied a major league record for second baseman with 12 assists in a game on April 14, 1985.
Keiser enters his fourth year in the Kansas City system. He was the athletic trainer with Burlington in 2011 and Kane County in 2012 before being assigned to Lexington last season. Before joining the Royals, Keiser was a graduate assistant athletic trainer at East Carolina University in Greenville, North Carolina, while earning his Master of Science degree. in athletic training. At ECU, Keiser was primarily responsible for the volleyball, cheerleading, and the men's and women's tennis teams. Keiser graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in athletic training from Ohio University in 2009.
Reis joined the Kansas City system in June 2013 and worked with the Royals' Arizona League team. He was named the 2013 Arizona League Strength and Conditioning Coach of the Year by the Professional Baseball Strength and Conditioning Coaches Society. Reis earned a Bachelor of Science degree in exercise and sports science from the University of Evansville and is pursuing a Master's degree in exercise physiology from Southern Illinois University-Edwardsville.
The Legends open the 2014 season at home Thursday, April 3 against the West Virginia Power.