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Royals announce 2015 minor league coaching staffs

The Royals announced their minor league coaching staffs today.  Manager Brian Poldberg returns to Triple-A Omaha, with Vance Wilson once again at Double-A Northwest Arkansas.  Brian Buchanan moves up to High-A Wilmington, with Omar Ramirez taking over for “Buck” at Lexington.  Justin Gemoll moves from a coaching role at Wilmington to the manager’s seat at Idaho Falls.  Scott Thorman, also a bench coach in 2014, is now manager at Burlington.  Summer league action returns to Surprise, Ariz., after a one-year hiatus with Darryl Kennedy resuming a familiar role.  Jose Gualdron is the manager of the Dominican Summer League squad.

A few notes:  Former Royals pitching coach Al Nipper (2001-02) has rejoined the organization as Omaha’s pitching coach.  Two-time Royals Pitcher of the Year Jeff Suppan is entering the professional coaching ranks as the pitching coach at Idaho Falls.  Click here for a full listing of field staffs and coordinators.

Royals announce restructuring of Baseball Operations Department

The Royals and Senior Vice President of Baseball Operations/ General Manager Dayton Moore today announced a restructuring of the Baseball Operations Department.  The redesign of the department starts with the retirement of Dean Taylor from the role of Vice President of Baseball Operations/Assistant General Manager.  Taylor, a veteran of 39 years of Major League service, will continue to serve the Royals as a consultant to baseball operations.

“I can’t thank Dean enough for the contributions he has made to our organization since accepting my invitation to return to Kansas City in 2006,” said Moore.  “His knowledge of the game, its history and the intricacies of the administrative aspects of our sport made him an invaluable part of our success.  I’m thankful he has accepted the role as consultant while also transitioning into retirement.  As for the restructuring, we have promoted several members of our staff and given them more responsibility in their roles of expertise.  I’m confident this group, as well as the others who remain with the department, will continue to work at a high level and make huge contributions to our future success.”

The restructured Baseball Operations Department:
J.J. Picollo – Vice President/Assistant General Manager of Player Personnel
Rene Francisco – Vice President/Assistant General Manager of Major League and International Operations
Scott Sharp – Assistant General Manager/Baseball Operations
Jin Wong – Assistant General Manager/Baseball Administration
Chino Cadahia – Senior Coordinator/Player Development
Kyle Vena – Director Baseball Administration
Ronnie Richardson – Director Minor League Operations
Mike Groopman – Director Baseball Operations/Analytics
John Williams – Director Baseball Analytics/Player Personnel
Daniel Mack – Director Baseball Analytics/Research Science
Chris Getz – Baseball Operations Assistant/Player Development
Phillip Stringer – Baseball Operations Assistant
Nick Relic – Minor League Video Coordinator

Alex Gordon has successful right wrist procedure

Outfielder Alex Gordon underwent successful right wrist extensor retinaculum repair this morning by hand and wrist specialist Dr. Bruce Toby at the University of Kansas Hospital.  While no formal timetable is being announced, the 30-year old Gordon is expected to be recovered in plenty of time for the 2015 season opener against the White Sox on April 6 at Kauffman Stadium.

“Alex reached out just prior to Christmas to report that he was experiencing some right wrist discomfort during his off-season workouts,” said Nick Kenney, Royals’ Head Athletic Trainer.  “We asked him to come to Kansas City after the holiday for an evaluation and it was determined he needed to have this repaired now to avoid any further complications and any delay in his start to the upcoming season.”

Gordon, a two-time American League All-Star, dealt with right wrist irritation just prior to the 2014 All-Star break, but it did not lead to a significant loss of playing time.  He aggravated the area during his winter training sessions which led to this diagnosis and repair.

Royals sign Edinson Volquez to two-year contract

The Royals announced today that the club has signed free-agent right-handed pitcher Edinson Volquez (pronounced: VOHL-kehz) to a two-year contract with a mutual option for the 2017 season. Per club policy, terms of the deal were not disclosed. In a corresponding roster move, shortstop Ryan Jackson was designated for assignment.

Volquez, 31, led Pittsburgh’s staff in wins in 2014, going 13-7 with a 3.04 ERA (65 ER in 192.2 IP), holding opposing hitters to a .235 batting average. His ERA ranked 15th among qualifying National League starting pitchers, while his 7.75 hits allowed per nine innings ranked eighth among the league’s starters. He ended the regular season by tossing a career-best 18.0 consecutive scoreless innings and posted the second-lowest ERA in the N.L. in September (1.08), behind only Chicago’s Jake Arietta (0.97). The righty was 9-1 with a 1.85 ERA after June 23, spanning his final 17 starts of the year.

Volquez will begin his 11th Major League season in 2015, after debuting for the Texas Rangers in 2005. The righty is 66-59 with a 4.44 career ERA, holding opponents to a .252 batting average. He was a National League All-Star and finished fourth in the league’s Rookie of the Year voting in 2008 with Cincinnati, posting a career high 17 wins, going 17-6 with a 3.21 ERA and 206 strikeouts in 196.0 innings. He was originally signed by Texas as an undrafted free agent in 2001. Along with the Rangers (2005-07) and Reds (2008-11), Volquez has also pitched for San Diego (2012-13) and Pittsburgh (2014). He has also pitched in the World Baseball Classic twice for the Dominican Republic, helping them win the tournament in 2013.

A native of Barahona, Dominican Republic, Volquez resides in Santo Domingo during the offseason with his wife, Roandy and twin daughters, Eylin and Aylin, who were born November 5, 2013.

Royals secure outright waivers on Casey Coleman, Moises Sierra

The Royals announced today that the club has secured outright waivers on right-handed reliever Casey Coleman and outfielder Moises Sierra. Both players have been assigned outright to Triple-A Omaha, with Coleman having until tomorrow to accept the assignment or elect free agency. Coleman was designated for assignment on December 15, with Sierra designated on December 16.

Royals, outfielder Alex Rios agree to one-year deal with mutual option for 2016

The Royals announced today that the club has signed free-agent outfielder Alex Rios to a one-year contract with a mutual option for the 2016 season. Per club policy, terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Rios, 33, spent the 2014 season with the Texas Rangers, batting .280 with 30 doubles, eight triples, four homers and 17 stolen bases in 131 games. His eight triples tied for fourth-most in the American League, while he ranked second in the league with a .333 batting average (45-for-135) during day games. He also batted .325 (40-for-123) with a .545 slugging percentage against left-handed pitching. Rios got off to a hot start last season, leading the league with a .335 average (84-for-251) through games on June 10, which included a 12-game hitting streak from May 17-29.

A two-time All-Star (2005-06 with Toronto), Rios will begin his 12th Major League season in 2015, after debuting for the Blue Jays in 2004. He’s a career .278 hitter with 352 doubles, 61 triples, 165 homers and 244 stolen bases in 1,586 games. The veteran outfielder ranks 24th among active players in hits (1,680), 21st in doubles (352), 10th in triples (61) and seventh in outfield assists (90). He is one of three active players with at least 300 career doubles, 50 triples and 150 home runs, along with Carlos Beltran and Jimmy Rollins. Rios set career highs in several categories in 2012 with the White Sox, batting .304 with 25 homers and 91 RBI and a .516 slugging percentage. He tied for third in the American League with 42 steals in 2013, splitting time between Chicago and Texas.

A native of Coffee, Ala., Rios graduated from San Pedro Martin High School in Guaynabo, Puerto Rico, before being selected 19th overall by Toronto in the 1999 June Free Agent Draft. He resides in Guaynabo during the offseason with his wife, Carla, and children, Alex and Alessandra.

Royals release Peguero, trade Giavotella to Angels for RHP Brian Broderick

A busy week of roster moves continued today for the Royals.  The club requested release waivers on outfielder Carlos Peguero, who spent the majority of 2014 at Omaha.  That put KC’s 40-man roster at 39.  The Royals then traded infielder Johnny Giavotella to the Angels for right-handed pitcher Brian Broderick.  Giavotella was designated for assignment on Thursday when the club added RHP Kris Medlen.  Broderick pitched in the Majors with Washington in 2011.  He will not be on the Major League roster.

Royals Marathon to Air Christmas Eve on FOX Sports Kansas City

The votes are in. On Wednesday it’s time to relive some of the highlights of a memorable Royals season.

FOX Sports Kansas City will replay five of the most memorable regular-season Royals games of 2014 on Christmas Eve. Fan votes determined the first four, and the playoff clincher will cap off the marathon.

Royals Christmas Eve Marathon — Wednesday, Dec. 24 on FOX Sports Kansas City
Times Central | Programming available in the Royals television footprint

12 p.m. May 17: Royals 1, Orioles 0
Danny Duffy has a no-hitter for 6 2/3.

2 p.m. June 3: Royals 8, Cardinals 7
Eric Hosmer drives in the winner in the ninth as Royals complete a two-game sweep.

4 p.m. Aug. 11: Royals 3, A’s 2
Jarrod Dyson flips upon catching final out, and super fan Sung Woo Lee holds up the W after the win, as Royals move into first in the AL Central.

6 p.m. Sept 15: Royals 4, White Sox 3
In the 9th, Dyson scores as a pinch runner on steal and wild pitch, Terrance Gore scores as pinch runner on infield single from second.

8 p.m. Sept. 26: Royals 3, White Sox 1
The Royals clinch their first playoff berth since 1985.

Click here for more on each game..

The Royals Christmas Eve marathon will be available on FOX Sports Kansas City and FOX Sports Midwest in western and central Missouri, Kansas, Nebraska and Iowa. DirecTV subscribers will find it on channel 671 and Dish on channel 418 or 412-08.

It’s the third straight year FSKC has shown a Royals Christmas marathon. The first four games will be shown in two hour windows, with the final game in three hours.

Royals sign RHP Kris Medlen to a two-year contract with mutual option for 2017

The Royals announced today that the club has signed free-agent right-handed pitcher Kris Medlen to a two-year contract with a mutual option for the 2017 season. Per club policy, terms of the deal were not disclosed.  The Royals will announce a corresponding roster move later today.

Medlen, 29, missed the 2014 season, recovering from “Tommy John surgery” after suffering an elbow injury during Spring Training.  In his only full season as a starting pitcher (2013), the righty went 15-12 with a 3.11 ERA (68 ER in 197.0 IP), with his 15 victories tied for sixth-most in the National League.  He finished the 2013 season with a flurry, earning N.L. Pitcher of the Month honors in September, posting a 4-0 mark with a 1.00 ERA and a .197 opponents average in his last five starts.  He dropped a 2-0 decision at Philadelphia on April 4, 2013, which snapped a Major League record of 23 consecutive regular season starts that the Braves won, dating back to May 23, 2010.

Medlen has been used as a both a starter and reliever during his time with the Braves, going 34-20 with a 2.95 ERA in 152 career appearances and 61 starts.  He opened the 2012 season in the bullpen, but was moved to the rotation on July 31, and went 9-0 with an 0.97 ERA in his 12 starts. He became the first Braves pitcher to post a sub-1.00 ERA and post at least eight victories in his first 10 starts of the season.  Since the beginning of 2010, Medlen’s .674 winning percentage (31-15) ranks third behind Clayton Kershaw (.702) and Max Scherzer (.701) among pitchers with at least 40 decisions.
A native of Artesia, Calif., Medlen was selected by Atlanta in the 10th round of the 2006 June Free Agent Draft.  He resides in Duluth, Ga., with his wife, Nicole, son, Max and newborn daughter, Penelope.

Royals celebrate the holiday season by giving back

The Royals have helped with several charitable causes this holiday season, including:

  • B5JeyowCYAAZ6OcPitcher Yordano Ventura delivered gift-wrapped presents and books to students at his former school in Samana, Dominican Republic.  The event was part of a Major League Baseball Players Association initiative.  Ventura’s visit helped to underscore the importance of education and encouraged youth to stay in school.  He shared his life story, read a passage from a book and delivered gift-wrapped holiday presents and new books (photo credit – MLBPA).
  • The Royals Alumni Association is donating a total of $25,000 this holiday season.
    The following 19 programs received donations from the Alumni Association: Assists Foundation, Big Brother/Big Sisters, Blue Springs Elks Foundation, Children for Peace, Cross Points Church, Grace Church, Hope House, House of Hope, Macedonia Baptist Church, Marillac Center, Medical Missions Foundation, Operation Breakthrough, Ozanam, Project Walk, Rachel House, St. Anne’s Episcopal Church, St. Francis Xavier Catholic Church, Welcome House and the Wounded Warriors.
    Throughout the year, Royals Alumni donate their time to help raise money for the foundation to help area families in need.  The two largest fundraising events are the Royals Alumni Batting Practices at Kauffman Stadium and the Royals Alumni Fantasy Camp located in Surprise, Ariz.  The Royals Alumni Association is made up of former players, managers, trainers and coaches.
  • Royals Charities announced funding of more than $1.2 million in 2014 to 104 501(c)(3) organizations and governmental entities in the Kansas City area that support children, education, youth baseball/softball and the military.
    The 2014 total includes four special grants made possible by funds raised during the club’s postseason run.  Recipients of the postseason grants are Community Services League, Kansas City (Mo.) Public Schools, Warriors’ Best Friend Foundation and Samuel U. Rodgers Health Center.
    All 501(c)(3) organizations operating in the Kansas City area that support children, education, youth baseball/softball and the military are welcome to apply for a Royals Charities grant.  The deadline for the spring grant cycle is set for March 1, 2015.
    Organizations can learn more about applying for Royals Charities funding and the grant application process by visiting http://www.royals.com/grants or http://www.royals.com/royaltyfields for field renovation projects and directing questions to royalscharities@royals.com.
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