SPRINGDALE, Ark. – The Kansas City Royals have announced the 2023 coaching staff assignments for their minor league affiliates today – Friday – and the big-league club has named Tommy Shields as the next field manager of the Northwest Arkansas Naturals. Shields, who served on the coaching staff for the Triple-A Omaha Storm Chasers during the 2022 season, becomes the seventh manager in Naturals’ history.
Shields, 58, takes the helm after rejoining the Royals organization in 2022 as the bench coach for the Triple-A Omaha Storm Chasers. This year will mark his 28th season of professional coaching and his first managerial position with the Royals since spending 2012-2014 in Burlington as the Manager/Special Assignment Scout. His last managerial position was with the Wilmington Blue Rocks (Washington Nationals) during the 2021 season.
Shields was a former 15th round selection by the Pittsburgh Pirates in the 1986 amateur draft out of the University of Notre Dame and he played in the Pirates’ system from 1986-1990. He was traded to the Baltimore Orioles in the spring of 1991 and made his major league debut a year later. Following his stint with Baltimore, he spent 1993-1994 with the Chicago Cubs and opened the 1993 season with the big league club.
Following his playing career, Shields has been a coach, manager, scout, and player development coordinator in the Kansas City Royals, Baltimore Orioles, St. Louis Cardinals, Atlanta Braves, and Washington Nationals organizations. He currently resides in Lititz, Pennsylvania, with his wife, Melonni, and their four kids.
New staff additions include pitching coach Larry Carter, hitting coach Andy LaRoche, and assistant coach Kevin Kuntz, while bench coach Christian Colón, certified athletic trainer Danny Accola, strength and conditioning coach CJ Mikkelsen, and coordinator of clubhouse operations Danny Helmer will all return from the 2022 staff.
Larry Carter returns to Northwest Arkansas to be the pitching coach of the Northwest Arkansas Naturals. He most recently served as the Major League Bullpen Coach for the Kansas City Royals from 2020-2022. Prior to that, Carter served as the Royals Minor League Pitching Coordinator from 2015-2019. This will be his 29th season as a coach and he returns to Arvest Ballpark after serving as the pitching coach for the Naturals from 2008-2012. In 2013-2014 he was the pitching coach for the Omaha Storm…