KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) _ Tom Poquette was fired as hitting instructor of the Kansas City Royals on Thursday.

Poquette, who has worked in the Royals organization for 10 years since a seven-year playing career ended, had been hitting instructor since replacing Greg Luzinski on July 9, 1997.

Poquette, who played parts of five seasons with the Royals, had been a minor league manager and instructor in the Kansas City organization before he was promoted to the big leagues.

General manager Herk Robinson said the club hoped Poquette will stay with the organization in some other capacity.

Manager Tony Muser has been given a one-year contract for next season. Robinson said the rest of Muser's staff probably will be announced by the end of the month.

The Royals ranked near the bottom in the AL in hitting and home runs last season. Their 714 runs were the second-fewest, ahead of only Tampa Bay.