SPRINGDALE, Arkansas (KNWA/KFTA) – The Kansas City Royals announced the 2022 fielding staff for their minor league branches on January 14, and the major league club has named Chris Wedger to be the field manager for Northwest Arkansas Naturals. Wedger, who led the High-A Quad Cities’ river bandits to the High-A Central Championships in 2021, will become the sixth manager in franchise history.
Wedger Wedger, 50, is entering his fourth managerial season within the Kansas City Royals. He led Kansas City’s High-A to a record 77-41 in 2021. He was recognized as the High-Level Central League Manager of the Year and 2021 Major League Baseball Manager of the Year, and is the second Royals minor league manager to receive America’s Honor baseball.
The former player began his managerial career with Rookie-level Burlington in 2019 and led the B-Royals to the decisive third game in the Appalachian League Championship series after serving as bench coach for the Wilmington Blue Rocks from 2016 to 2018. Before joining the Royals’ Widger managed the independent Camden Riversharks (Atlantic League) league in 2015 and was their coach from 2012 to 2014.
Prior to his management, he played in the major tournaments for parts of 12 seasons and won the 2005 World Championships as a member of the Chicago White Sox. Widger was drafted into the third round of the 1992 Major League Draft by the Seattle Mariners and played with the Sailors (1995-1996, 2000), Montreal Expos (1997-2000), New York Yankees (2002), St. Louis Cardinals (2003), White Sox (2005-2006) and Baltimore Orioles (2006).
Wedger will be joined in Northwest Arkansas by coach Derek Lewis, batting coach Abraham Nunez, assistant batting coach Christian Colon and bench coach Mike Gershel, while certified athletic trainer Danny Akula and strength and conditioning coach C.J. Mikkelsen will direct the Naturals field team. Danny Helmer will again serve as the club’s operations coordinator.