KANSAS CITY -- Catcher Vance Wilson didn't make the Royals' roster last Spring Training, but he apparently made a good impression. Wilson was named manager of the Royals' Class A Kane County team for the 2011 season.
Wilson was the only new manager as the Royals announced their staffs for seven Minor League clubs on Tuesday. He'll manage the Kane County Cougars as the Royals move their Midwest League affiliate from Burlington, Iowa, to Geneva, Ill.
After undergoing reconstructive elbow surgery and missing virtually all of the 2007 and 2008 seasons, Wilson signed in '09 with Double-A Northwest Arkansas to catch and help handle the team's promising young pitchers.
"It was pretty apparent this was a guy that could manage in the Minor Leagues and potentially could be a guy that could be on the big league staff sometime down the road," said J.J. Picollo, assistant general manager-scouting and player development. "He has great leadership qualities about him, he's got a great way of communicating. I really think our pitchers benefited by throwing to him in '09, and he taught a lot of our hitters in Double-A how to be a professional."
Wilson was invited to Major League camp last spring, but did not make the club and decided to retire as a player.
He kept in touch with the Royals and has been coaching in the Arizona Instructional League this fall.
"He did a great job there," Picollo said. "It's not often that you start a guy at a full-season club. As a first-year manager, it'll be a challenge for him, but I just think with his experience and his personality, he'll do a great job with it."
As a backup catcher, Wilson played parts of eight seasons in the Majors with the New York Mets and Detroit Tigers, batting .250 in 403 games.
Mike Jirschele, who served as the Major League club's interim first-base coach in the final month last season, will return to manage Triple-A Omaha for the ninth consecutive season and 12th season overall. Also back are pitching coach Doug Henry and hitting coach Tommy Gregg. The team will be moving into a new ballpark.
Brian Poldberg, who has led Northwest Arkansas to the playoffs in each of his three seasons, will be back with the Naturals, along with pitching coach Larry Carter and hitting coach Terry Bradshaw.
The staff assignments:
TRIPLE-A OMAHA -- Mike Jirschele, manager; Doug Henry, pitching; Tommy Gregg, hitting; Dale Gilbert, trainer.
DOUBLE-A NORTHWEST ARKANSAS -- Brian Poldberg, manager; Larry Carter, pitching; Terry Bradshaw, hitting; Dave Iannicca, trainer.
CLASS A WILMINGTON -- Brian Rupp, manager; Steve Luebber, pitching; Justin Germoll, hitting; Mark Stubblefield, trainer.
CLASS A KANE COUNTY -- Vance Wilson, manager; Jim Brower, pitching; Damon Hollins, hitting; James Stone, trainer.
CLASS A (ROOKIE) IDAHO FALLS -- Brian Buchanan, manager; Jerry Nyman, pitching; Omar Ramirez, hitting; Masa Koyanagi, trainer.
CLASS A (ROOKIE) BURLINGTON, N.C. -- Nelson Liriano, manager; Bobby St. Pierre, pitching; Jon Williams, hitting; trainer to be announced.
CLASS A (ROOKIE) ARIZONA -- Darryl Kennedy, manager; Carlos Martinez, pitching; Carlos Reyes, pitching/rehab; Andre David and Julio Bruno, hitting; Tony Medina, trainer.
ROVING POSITIONS -- Tony Tijerina, field coordinator; Bill Fischer, senior pitching advisor; Jack Maloof, special assistant and hitting coordinator; Rusty Kuntz, special assistant to general manager/player development; Mark Davis, pitching coordinator; Chris DeLucia, medicial coordinator; Ryan Stoneberg, strength and conditioning; Tim Scheierman, rehab coordinator.
Dick Kaegel is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.