By Sarah Bosso
Official Lexington Legends Press Release
WHITAKER BANK BALLPARK (Lexington, KY) - The Kansas City Royals today announced their 2018 minor league staff assignments and minor league coordinators for the upcoming season, and the Legends will once again be led by Scott Thorman, who is in his second year as manager.
Mitch Stetter will serve as the Legends' pitching coach for the third straight season and Jesus Azuaje will return for his second season as Lexington's hitting coach. The 2018 season will see the return of bench coach Glenn Hubbard, who enters his fifth season in his position with the Legends. Certified athletic trainer, Saburo Hagihara, and strength and conditioning coach, Jon Ervin, will also return for their second seasons with the Legends.
"We are thrilled to have Scott back for another season as the Legends manager," said Legends President/CEO Andy Shea. "Scott's tremendous leadership will be an asset to have back in the Legends dugout as he did a phenomenal job with our team last year. He and his coaching staff relate very well with the players, our fans and this community, and we look forward to what they can do on the field in 2018."
Thorman was the manager at rookie-level Burlington of the Appalachian League from 2015-16, and was the bench coach in Burlington in 2014. He was a first-round pick by the Atlanta Braves in 2000, and played for the Braves in 2006 and 2007. He played for the Royals triple-A affiliate in Omaha in 2009 and 2010. A first baseman and outfielder, Thorman played for Canada in the 2006 World Baseball Classic and the 2008 Beijing Olympics. He resides in Kitchener, Ont.
Hubbard joined the Royals organization in 2011. He spent 21 seasons as a coach in the Atlanta organization, including 12 years as the Braves' first base coach under manager Bobby Cox. Before joining the Braves' major league staff in 1999, Hubbard coached at Bradenton (1990), Macon (1991-92, 1994 and 1998) and Richmond (1993, 1995-97).
A 20th round draft pick of the Braves in 1975, Hubbard played in the majors for Atlanta from 1978 to 1987. He concluded his playing career with Oakland, playing on an American League pennant winner in 1988. Hubbard was a National League All-Star in 1983. He tied a major league record for second basemen with 12 assists in a game on April 14, 1985.
Stetter is in his fourth full year as a coach in the Royals system. He was a pitching coach with the Arizona League Royals in 2015 before joining the Legends last year. After playing in college at Indiana State, he was selected by Milwaukee in the 16th round of the 2003 draft. He reached the majors with the Brewers from 2007 through 2011. He set a Brewers record in 2009 by recording 15 consecutive outs on strikeouts. He had a 4-1 record in 71 appearances for Milwaukee in the 2009 season. He is a great nephew of Gene Tormohlen, who played for the NBA's St. Louis and Atlanta Hawks.
Azuaje will return for his second season as Lexington's hitting coach, after serving in the same role with Burlington from 2015-16. After an 11-year playing career in the minor leagues plus two seasons in Italy, Azuaje served as a coach in the Seattle organization, where he was the manager of the Arizona League Mariners in 2011 and 2012. He moved to the Los Angeles Dodgers organization and served as Latin America field coordinator there before joining the Royals with the Burlington assignment in 2015.
Hagihara is in his ninth year in the Royals' organization. He had been on the Burlington staff for four years after three seasons with the Arizona League Royals. Previously, he was an athletic trainer for Ohlone College and two high schools in the San Francisco Bay area. A native of Tokyo, Hagihara earned a bachelor of science in exercise science from State University of New York at Cortland, and completed his master's degree in kinesiology at San Jose State University.
Ervin will enter his second season with the Legends after after serving in the same role with Burlington from 2015-16. Ervin received his Bachelor's degree in health and exercise science from the University of Oklahoma. During his senior year, he worked at Youth Performance Training Facility in Norman, conducting speed and agility training camps for youth. Before transferring to OU, Ervin played baseball for Southern Arkansas University, and from 2008-2010 he played for Seminole State College, where his team reached the Junior College World Series.
About the Lexington Legends
The Legends, class-A minor league affiliate of the Kansas City Royals and a member of the South Atlantic League, have been bringing family-friendly entertainment to Central and Eastern Kentucky since 2001. In 2017, the Legends were the recipients of the Minor League Baseball Community Service Award, named after the longtime SAL president, John Henry Moss. A total of 77 former Legends have reached the Major Leagues including Ben Zobrist, Hunter Pence, Jose Altuve and J.D. Martinez.