SPRINGDALE (KFSM) — The Northwest Arkansas Naturals have named a new manager, as well as a new field staff.
Darryl Kennedy takes over as the new manager of the AA Texas League baseball team and Kansas City Royals affiliate after being promoted from the Wilmington Blue Rocks, according to a Naturals’ news release. He takes over for Mike Rojas, who was the manager last year after Vance Wilson was promoted.
Kennedy will be joined by a whole new field staff, including two from his staff at Wilmington. He is joined by Doug Henry, who will be the pitching coach, and Abraham Nunez, who will serve as the new Naturals hitting coach. They will be joined by former MLB slugger and former Naturals hitting coach Nelson Liriano. This time, he will serve as the Naturals’ bench coach. Justin Kemp will be the certified athletic trainer, and Will Gilmore will be the new strength and conditioning coach.
Kennedy takes over as only the fourth manager in franchise history and has been with the Kansas City Royals organization since 2007. He has served throughout the Royals’ farm system, with stints in Surprise, Arizona; Wilmington, Delaware; Burlington, North Carolina; and Idaho Falls, Idaho.
Kennedy, 49, played in the Texas Rangers farm system for six seasons before ending his career with the San Francisco organization. He began coaching in the Rangers’ farm system in 1998 and stayed until moving to the Royals’ system in 2007.
Kennedy will be one of the guests attending the Naturals Hot Stove Luncheon on Monday at The Apollo on Emma Avenue in Springdale. The event, held in conjunction with the Springdale Rotary Club, will run from 12-1 p.m. Admission to the event is $20 per person and is open to fans.
The Northwest Arkansas Naturals will open at Arvest Ballpark in Springdale on Thursday, April 4, at 6:35 p.m. against the Springfield Cardinals. More information is available on the Naturals’ website.