SPRINGDALE, Ark. -- The Kansas City Royals announced that veteran skipper Brian Poldberg will be returning to Northwest Arkansas for a sixth consecutive season to manage the Naturals in 2013. Poldberg has led the Naturals to the playoffs in four of his five seasons, and was named an All-Star in 2010 and 2011. Poldberg's staff will include pitching coach Jim Brower and hitting coach Nelson Liriano.
In his 30 seasons with the Kansas City Royals organization, the 55-year old Poldberg has served as a Minor League player, roving instructor and Minor League manager. In addition, he spent time the Major League staff, where he served as the third base coach under former Royals skipper Buddy Bell during the 2007 season. That stint capped four consecutive seasons on the Royals' Major League staff that saw him coach first base during the 2006 season and serve as the bullpen coach during the 2004-05 seasons.
The Carter Lake, Iowa, resident began his baseball career in 1980 as a catcher playing in the New York Yankees farm system. He went on to play six years in the Minor Leagues, reaching Triple-A with the Omaha Royals in 1985. He is a graduate of Emporia (Kan.) State University and owns a bachelor's degree in business administration.
Poldberg's career Minor League managerial record now stands at 822-836. With more than 1,600 games worth of Minor League managerial experience, including playoffs, Poldberg is not only the Texas League's most-tenured active skipper, but one of the more experienced managers in all of the Minor Leagues.
Joining Poldberg will be pitching coach, Jim Brower. Brower comes to the Naturals after two seasons with the Kane County Cougars, the Royals former Class A Affiliate in Geneva, Ill. Brower pitched for nine seasons in the Majors, starting in 1999 with the Indians, Reds, Expos, Giants, Braves, Orioles, Padres and Yankees. The right-hander led the Majors with 89 appearances in 2004 with San Francisco. Brower finished his Major League playing career with an ERA of 4.67 with 574 innings pitched.
Hitting coach Nelson Liriano is also new to the Naturals staff, but is entering his 12th year with the Royals organization. Liriano spent last season as a hitting coach for the Surprise Royals, the organization's Rookie-level team in Surprise, Ariz. Preceding his year in Surprise, Liriano served as manager of the Burlington Royals for three seasons, leading that club to a playoff appearance in 2010. Liriano played for 11 Major League seasons, including part of the 1991 season with the Royals, having made his Major League debut in 1987 with Toronto. Liriano ended his playing career batting .260 with 25 home runs and 240 RBIs in 823 games.
The Naturals will welcome back athletic trainer Masa Koyanagi, who will be joined by David Kathmann as the strength and conditioning coach.
Koyanagi will be serving in his sixth season as a trainer in the Royals' system. Prior to his time in the Royals' organization, Koyanagi spent the 2007 season on the staff of the Tampa Bay Rays, where he served as an interpreter for former Major League infielder Akinori Iwamura. He also served as an athletic trainer in the Milwaukee Brewers organization for four seasons, from 2003-2006. In 2006, he served as the trainer for the champion Japanese squad in the World Baseball Classic. He resides in Peoria, Ariz., with his wife and two daughters.
Kathmann is joining the Naturals for his third season in the Royals organization, after receiving his master's (2011) and bachelor's degrees (2009) in exercise science from Berry University, where he was strength and conditioning coach for the baseball position players from 2009-2010, as well as assistant strength and conditioning coach for all sports teams from 2008-2009.
In a related announcement, Kansas City revealed that former Naturals coach, Larry Carter will spend his 16th season with the Royals as pitching coach for the Pacific Coast League runner-up Omaha Storm Chasers. The Naturals 2012 batting coach, Terry Bradshaw, will also take a new position as the Royals Minor League hitting coordinator.
The Northwest Arkansas Naturals are the Double-A Texas League affiliate of the Kansas City Royals and play at state-of-the-art Arvest Ballpark, located in Springdale. The 2013 home opener is Thu, April 4. Please visit our website, nwanaturals.com online, for information on season tickets and ticket plans.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.