Royals hire Gibbons as bench coach, Seitzer as hitting coach

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Former Toronto manager John Gibbons returned to the majors Monday when he was hired by the Kansas City Royals to be their bench coach.

The Royals also hired Kevin Seitzer, who was an All-Star third baseman with Kansas City and is still popular in the area, as hitting coach. He was fired last July as Arizona's hitting coach.

Dave Owen, the Royals' bench coach last season, will become the third-base coach. Seitzer replaces the fired Mike Barnett.

With Gibbons and Seitzer, Royals manager Trey Hillman added a wealth of big league background to his staff. Hillman was the only major league manager last year who had neither coached nor played in the big leagues, and always bristled when anyone suggested his lack of experience might be a drawback.

The Royals went 75-87 in the AL Central, one game ahead of Detroit.

"I'm very pleased with the amount of energy and overall baseball experience we've been able to add to our major league staff with John Gibbons and Kevin Seitzer," general manager Dayton Moore said.

"John's recent American League experience as the manager of the Toronto Blue Jays will be a tremendous asset to Trey and the rest of the coaching staff," he said.

The 46-year-old Gibbons managed the Blue Jays for parts of five seasons before being fired in mid-June. Toronto went 305-305 under him.

The Blue Jays hired Gibbons to manage in 2004 after firing Carlos Tosca late in the season. Gibbons was fired on June 20 and former Blue Jays manager Cito Gaston took over.

Gibbons takes over the spot held by Owen, one of Hillman's good friends. Owen had been Hillman's bench coach with the Nippon Ham Fighters in Japan and they were classmates at Texas-Arlington.

The 46-year-old Seitzer hit .295 in a 12-year major league career. He batted .323 with 15 home runs for Kansas City in 1987 and was runner-up to Mark McGwire for AL rookie of the year.

Seitzer was an All-Star with both the Royals and the Milwaukee Brewers. He is part-owner of a baseball instructional facility in the Kansas City area.

"He was an exciting player and fan favorite during his days as a Royal, and possesses the same amount of passion and energy as a coach," Moore said. "He, too, will be a great asset to our staff with his knowledge of hitting and the ability to communicate information to the players."