The Royals shook up their on-field staff Saturday by firing first-base coach Doug Sisson and replacing him with Rusty Kuntz. Manager Ned Yost announced the move prior to the game against the Texas Rangers at Kauffman Stadium.
By BOB DUTTON
The Kansas City Star
“Rusty has been in this organization a long time,” Yost said. “We felt that a change was warranted, and we brought Rusty back. Doug did a great job for us, but we felt a change was needed.”
Sisson was not immediately available for comment.
Yost dismissed Sisson in a meeting Saturday morning and told the players of the move in a closed-door meeting prior to batting practice. Kuntz was in uniform by the time the club took batting practice.
“It should be a smooth transition,” Kuntz said. “My biggest fear is being back in the coaching box. Standing there (in batting practice), it looks like the ball is coming off the bat at 1,000 miles an hour.
“Hopefully, in the next couple of days, I can get back up to speed with that.”
Sisson, 48, is leaving the organization. He spent the last 11/2 seasons as the club’s first-base, outfield and base-running coach. He spent the three previous years as the organization’s minor-league coordinator.
Kuntz, 57, returns to a position he held prior to Sisson joining the big-league staff. He spent the 11/2 years as a special assistant to the general manager with an emphasis on coaching outfield, bunting and base-running throughout the organization.
“Rusty is one who made Alex Gordon into a left fielder,” Yost said. “He’s been with (Jarrod) Dyson (in the minors). He’s been with (Lorenzo) Cain.”
Sisson began his professional coaching career in 1991 but had not held a big-league job until promoted to replace Kuntz after the 2010 season. He made an immediate impact last season; the Royals led the majors with 53 outfield assists and stole 153 bases.
This season, the Royals are again leading the majors with 28 outfield assists, but the base-running success has tailed off — just 77 bases, which put them on pace to finish with 119.
Kuntz played seven seasons in the majors before starting his coaching career in 1987 with Houston. He also spent time with Seattle, Florida, Atlanta and Pittsburgh before joining the Royals’ staff in 2008.