Wilmington, DE -- The Kansas City Royals have announced that Jamie Quirk will return for a second season as manager of the Wilmington Blue Rocks in 2017. Also coming back are former Major Leaguer Abraham Nunez as hitting coach, pitching coach Charlie Corbell and athletic trainer James Stone. Will Gilmore is the only new addition to the staff and will serve as strength and conditioning coach.
The 62-year-old Quirk played in 18 Major League seasons for the Royals, Brewers, Cardinals, White Sox, Indians, Yankees, Orioles and Athletics. Originally drafted by Kansas City in 1972, Quirk turned in three tours of duty for the Royals as a player (1975-76, 1978-82 and 1985-88), winning a World Series with the club in 1985. Overall, Quirk batted .240 with 43 homers, 247 RBIs and 544 hits in 984 career Major League games.
He began his coaching career with Kansas City, and served on the Royals Major League staff for eight seasons as a bullpen coach (1994-95) and then the bench coach (1996-2001). In 2002 Quirk served as bullpen coach for the Rangers, he then went to Colorado as bench coach (2003-08), to Houston as bullpen coach (2009-11) and then to the Cubs as bench coach (2012-13). In 2014 he joined the Padres organization and managed San Diego's Advanced-A affiliate in his first season, and then split 2015 between Double-A and Triple-A before coming to the Blue Rocks last year.
"I'm looking forward to being back in Wilmington," Quirk said. "I'm familiar with our ballpark and the league. Even though the players change the ballparks don't and you can adjust to how different parks play. Also, I know the travel after last year and how the players responded to it. There's nothing better than experiencing something and learning from it."
Quirk lives in Kansas City with his wife Anna. They have three grown children.
The 2017 campaign will be the third in Wilmington for Nunez and his seventh overall as a coach. He helped lead Wilmington to its first Mills Cup Championship Series appearance in over a decade in 2015. The 40-year-old Dominican Republic native played in parts of 12 seasons as a Major Leaguer, including a two-year stint just up I-95 from Frawley Stadium with the Phillies. His best year came in 2005, when he batted .285 in 139 regular season games, and helped lead the Cardinals to the National League Championship Series.
Corbell will be in his second season with the Rocks and the Kansas City organization. He came to the Royals from Miami, where he spent nine seasons with the Marlins organization--the last two as minor league pitching coordinator. The 56-year-old Texas native pitched for seven seasons in the San Francisco and Oakland systems. Corbell went 54-42 with a 3.67 ERA in 870.1 career innings, and reached Triple-A in 1987 and 1988.
Stone is back for his sixth season in Wilmington. He was named the Carolina League Athletic Trainer of the Year in 2015. Stone has been with the Royals organization since 2010, and was also the New York-Penn League Athletic Trainer of the Year in 2006 (while with the Jamestown Jammers of the then Florida Marlins). Gilmore spent last season as the strength and conditioning coach for the Low-A Lexington Legends and joined the Royals organization in 2015.
"Having a coaching staff together for a second season is huge," Quirk said. "We know each other a year better and I know how Charlie and Abraham think and vice versa. Being cohesive in how we approach things is great for the players. Even though every team and year are different, we know as a coaching staff what works and what doesn't. The players that repeat the level will be comfortable on how we go about things and the new ones will follow suit. It's good when players are comfortable and know a system."
Wilmington opens its season at Frawley Stadium on Thursday, April 6 against the Potomac Nationals. Season seats, mini plans and group packages for the Blue Rocks' 25th season are on sale now. For more information, please see the team's website at BlueRocks.com.