The Kansas City Royals today announced their Major League coaching staff for the 2021 campaign. Changes to second-year manager Mike Matheny’s staff include the addition of Tony Peña, Jr., as a coach and the return of Rusty Kuntz as the club’s first base coach. Terry Bradshaw (hitting), Larry Carter (bullpen), Cal Eldred (pitching), Pedro Grifol (bench), John Mabry (Major League coach) and Vance Wilson (third base) will all remain in their roles from last season. Rafael Belliard, who served as an infield coach last year, will return to his previous role as a Special Assistant to the General Manager, and Damon Hollins, who filled in for Kuntz as first base coach last year, will also return to his position as a minor league instructor.
Peña Jr. was slated to be the Omaha (AAA) bench coach and serve as the manager at Burlington (Rookie) in 2020, before the minor league season was cancelled. This will be his first year on the Major League staff. His father, Tony Peña, Sr., managed the Royals from 2002-05. Peña Jr., managed Surprise (Rookie) from 2018-19, following an 18-year playing career that included four seasons in the Majors with Atlanta (2006) and Kansas City (2007-09).
Kuntz returns to a familiar role, beginning his third stint as the first base coach in 2021. He was slated to return to the Major League coaching staff last year, but opted out due to the pandemic. He previously held the title from 2012-17 and 2008-10, while he served the organization as a Special Assistant to the General Manager/Quality Control the past three seasons and as the minor league outfield/baserunning coordinator from 2010-12. Prior to his time in Kansas City, Kuntz held various coaching positions with Houston (1987-88), Seattle (1989-92), Florida (1993-2001), Atlanta (2002) and Pittsburgh (2003-07).