Trey Hillman was hired Friday as manager of the Kansas City Royals, taking over a long-struggling team that hasn't been to the playoffs since winning the 1985 World Series.

Hillman, currently managing the Nippon Ham Fighters in the Japan World Series, spent 13 years managing in the New York Yankees' minor league system and three times was a manager of the year. But Royals general manager Dayton Moore said he did not move quickly because the Yankees job came open Thursday when Joe Torre declined a one-year offer to stay in New York.

"We knew what we wanted to do long before Joe Torre decided to step down," Royals general manager Moore said Friday in a teleconference.