The Kansas City Royals have announced the organization's minor league staff assignments for the upcoming 2018 campaign, the fiftieth in franchise's history. Manager Brian Poldberg is set to return to Omaha for his fifth season as skipper, with Pitching Coach Andy Hawkins, Athletic Trainer Dave Iannicca and Strength and Conditioning Coach Phil Falco all coming back as well. 2017 Kansas City Royals Assistant Hitting Coach and 2008-09 Omaha Royals outfielder Brian Buchanan will serve as the squad's Hitting Coach.
"We are thrilled to have Poley, Hawk, Dave and Phil return for the 2018 season, and also welcome Brian back to Omaha," said Storm Chasers President and General Manager Martie Cordaro. "All five bring extensive knowledge and experience, and we look forward to working with them and the Kansas City Royals organization during our 50th Season in Franchise History this year."
Poldberg will be the second-longest tenured skipper in Omaha franchise history, behind Mike Jirschele's 14-year reign. He enters the 2018 season with 283 managerial victories with the Storm Chasers, the third-highest total in franchise history behind only Jirschele (995) and Jack McKeon (298). Poldberg led the Storm Chasers to the 2014 Triple-A National Championship in his first season as skipper, joining McKeon as the only managers in franchise history to win a league title in their first year at the helm. 2018 will mark Poldberg's 19th season as a minor league manager, and owns a career record of 1,158-1,199.
Hawkins comes back for his third tour as Storm Chasers Pitching Coach. Omaha hurlers last season finished fourth in the Pacific Coast League in strikeouts, which was also the third-highest single-season total in franchise history. Prior to joining the Storm Chasers at the start of 2016, he served as Bullpen Coach for the Texas Rangers from 2008-15. He also boasts 14 seasons of Major League experiences, having pitched with the San Diego Padres (1982-88), New York Yankees (1989, 91) and Oakland Athletics (1991), accumulating an 84-91 record and 4.22 ERA (731 ER/1558.1 IP).
Buchanan joins the Storm Chasers for his first season after serving as Kansas City Royals Assistant Hitting Coach last year. In 2016, he was the Hitting Coach for Double-A Northwest Arkansas, helping lead the Naturals to a Texas League Championship Series appearance, and has also served as a manager in the Royals minor league organizations over six seasons, most recently High-A Wilmington (2015). A seven-year Major League veteran, Buchanan was a member of the 2008-09 Omaha Royals squads, totaling 98 games played between those two campaigns.
Iannicca and Falco return for their eighth and second seasons with the Storm Chasers, respectively. 2018 also marks Iannicca's 12th season in the Royals organization, while Falco previously served as the Strength and Conditioning Coach with the Atlanta Braves from 2008-16.
Following the Royals Exhibition Game presented by SAC Federal Credit Union on March 26, the Storm Chasers begin 2018 regular season Pacific Coast League play at Werner Park on Thursday, April 5. The Omaha Storm Chasers have been the Triple-A affiliate of the Kansas City Royals since the franchise's first game on April 18, 1969, and is the longest-running Triple-A affiliation in Minor League Baseball.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.