Royals manager Ned Yost looked to his past Thursday after deciding to shake up his coaching staff by dismissing third-base coach Eddie Rodriguez and bench coach Chino Cadahia.
Yost tapped Dale Sveum, fired earlier this week as manager of the Chicago Cubs, to fill one of two vacancies. Whether Sveum will serve as bench coach or infield coach will be determined later.
“He’s a superb infield coach,” Yost said. “He’s been a third-base and a bench coach for me. He was also a hitting coach at Milwaukee, and he excelled at all of those positions.”
Sveum, 49, served three seasons under Yost in Milwaukee and stepped in as interim manager when Yost was fired late in the 2008 season. Sveum spent the last two years as the Cubs’ manager.
“You don’t want to get out of the game,” Sveum said earlier this week, “unless you want to be away for a long time. I love baseball and love being a part of it.”
Yost said the rest of his staff will return for 2014: Pitching coach Dave Eiland, hitting coach Pedro Grifol, outfield/first-base coach Rusty Kuntz and bullpen coach Doug Henry.
Rodriguez, 54, departs after four seasons with the Royals, including the last three as third-base coach and infield coach.
Cadahia, 55, spent the last two years as bench coach but missed the final month of the regular season on personal leave because of a private family matter.
The Royals plan to offer Cadahia another position, as yet undetermined, within the organization. Rodriguez is leaving the club.
Eiland, 47, joined the staff prior to the 2012 season; Grifol, 43, was promoted last June from a minor-league role; Kuntz, 58, rejoined the on-field staff in August 2012; Henry, 49, just completed his first year.
Yost said Sveum’s specific duties will be determined once the club fills its remaining vacancy. The Royals appear to be focusing their search for that position on candidates not currently in the organization.
“We’ve got an idea,” Yost said, “but we’re still working on it.”
Sveum had a 12-year playing career as an infielder for seven clubs from 1986-99. He began his coaching career in 2001 by serving three years as manager of Class AA Altoona in the Pittsburgh system.
Boston hired Sveum to serve as third-base coach in 2004. After two years, he joined Yost’s staff in Milwaukee as third-base coach for 2006, shifted to bench coach in 2007 and back to third-base coach in 2008.
Sveum replaced Yost as Milwaukee’s manager for the final 12 games in 2008 and guided the Brewers to their first postseason appearance in 26 years. Yost said Sveum “had nothing to do” with his ouster.
“Not at all,” Yost said. “When I hired him, Robin Yount told me that (Sveum) would be the best coach I ever had. And he was. He was phenomenal.”
Sveum remained with Milwaukee after it hired Ken Macha as manager in 2009. Sveum spent three seasons as the Brewers’ hitting coach before becoming the Cubs’ manager on Nov. 18, 2011.
The Cubs were 127-197 under Sveum in two seasons.
“He did a great job of developing in Milwaukee,” Yost said, “in developing our young infield with Prince Fielder and Rickie Weeks. He pays meticulous attention to detail, and he’s got managerial experience.
“He fits (for the Royals) in a number of different ways.”
Royals closer Greg Holland was picked as Major League Baseball’s Delivery Man of the Month for September after registering 11 saves in 12 attempts while allowing one run and seven hits in 15 innings.
Holland previously won the award in July and is just the fifth reliever to win twice in the same year since the award’s inception in 2005.
The others: Tampa Bay’s Rafael Soriano (May, July and August 2010), Arizona’s J.J. Putz (May and September 2011), Cincinnati’s Aroldis Chapman (July and August 2012) and Pittsburgh’s Jason Grilli (April and May 2013).
Holland is also just the second Royals pitcher to win the award. Joakim Soria was the recipient in September 2008 and September 2009.