The Kansas City Royals announced two additions to their major league coaching staff on Wednesday night, promoting Damon Hollins to first base coach and Keoni DeRenne to assistant hitting coach.
Hollins, who played four major league seasons for the Braves, Dodgers and Rays, has been coaching in the Royals' minor league system since 2010. He filled in for Rusty Kuntz when the legendary first base coach opted out of the 2020 season due to the COVID-19 pandemic, then got reps at the position again in Sept. 2021 as Kuntz coached from the dugout. With Kuntz stepping away from coaching and taking over as the Royals' general manager of quality control, Hollins will now replace him on a full-time basis.
DeRenne had an 11-year professional playing career, spending time in the Braves, Yankees, Diamondbacks, Red Sox and Phillies organizations while also spending three seasons in independent ball. He spent the first seven years of his coaching career in the Pirates organization, served as the Cubs' Triple-A hitting coach in 2019 and was named the Royals' assistant minor league hitting coordinator in 2020. He earned praise for his role in turning around the Royals' minor league offensive performance this season, with top prospects Nick Pratto and MJ Melendez among the players who saw the biggest jumps in performance. With both players being candidates to reach the big leagues in 2022, DeRenne could be instrumental in helping them transition to the next level.
While John Mabry, who served as the Cardinals' hitting coach when Matheny managed in St. Louis, is on the Royals' staff in a general assistant coaching role, the team has not had an official assistant hitting coach since Matheny took over as manager, so DeRenne will be filling a new role on the major league staff.