18 March 2008

Games also underway for farmhands

With the first Pipeline Royals on the Farm report of the season not far around the corner -- April 4, I think -- the games have started in minor league camp.

AAA Omaha -- The first of 13 spring games was Friday with the Royals dropping a 10-4 contest to Oklahoma, the Rangers' AAA affiliate. Neither the team nor the Omaha World-Herald site note what pitcher(s) got beaten around in the game, but Brian McFall had a homer as did minor league free agent pickup Juan Richardson for the O-Royals. Richardson played last season in the Cardinals and hit for an .882 OPS at AA, altho he is 29 years old. He hurt Wichita several times, and I assume should make the AAA roster as a 3B. He and Chris Lubanski each had 3 RBIs with another Richardson homer part of Saturday's 10-2 win over Pads AAA affiliate Portland. Mike Stodolka also homered in the win as Ben Hendrickson and Matt Wright did the yeoman's work on the mound. McFall struck again Sunday, as did minor league FA pickup Brian Buchanan, in an 8-4 win over M's AAA affiliate Tacoma. Righty Devon Lowery had a nice day with just one run on two hits over four innings, with three walks and three Ks. Lefty Jason Cromer pitched three scoreless with 2 Ks after that. Tyler Lumsden started Monday's game vs. Tacoma and got shelled for 4 runs in the 1st in a 7-3 O-Royals loss. He pitched two scoreless after that, as did lefty Anthony Bradley. McFall had an RBI double and Richardson added a sac fly for Omaha. The Royals were set to play Oklahoma again today.

AA NW Arkansas -- The new Naturals have gotten off to a nice start this spring at 3-1. They dropped their opener and first ever unofficial game, 7-4, to Rangers AA affiliate Frisco Friday with the big news for NWA being a bases-loaded 3-run double by DH Kiel Thibault. The Naturals bounced back to trounce San Antonio (Pads' AA) by a 14-4 count Saturday as Thibault led the way with 4 hits and 3 RBI. Julio Pimentel and Matt Peterson had nice pitching outings for NW Arkansas in the win, and 1B Miguel Vega homered with 4 RBI in the win. Chris McConnell also homered for the Naturals. Thibault homered again Sunday in a 3-1 win over the M's AA affiliate from West Tennessee. Jeff Fulchino and Mike Connolly pitched seven scoreless while Rayner Oliveros allowed the only run in his 2 IP. Speedy CF Derrick Robinson also stole a base with 2 hits and an RBI for the Naturals. The Naturals repeated the feat Monday with a 7-3 win over the Diamond Jaxx. Carlos Rosa allowed a run on 2 hits and a walk over 4 IP and C Matt Morizio and LF Brett Bigler had 2-RBI hits in the late frames to provide the margin of victory. Ivor Hodgson, Patrick Green and Chris Hayes followed Rosa on the mound with Hodgson and Green allowing West Tennessee's other 2 runs. NW Arkansas was set to play Frisco again today.

The lower levels have started their 13-game spring training schedule as well but, so far, I haven't found that anyone has cared to write about any game results.

As far as the major-league Royals go, they lost to the A's yesterday, 6-2, as Brian Bannister got beaten around again. I'm not worried despite his 8.49 spring ERA, as he's been quoted that he's trying some new things. He got beaten around last spring and pitched pretty well when they started to count. I am concerned about lefty reliever Ron Mahay, who got hit for 3 runs (2 ER) on a hit and 3 walks in 1/3 IP versus the A's. He chipped in a wild pitch and the Star notes he has allowed runs in 4 of 6 spring appearances thus far. Billy Butler was 0-2 in his first game back from the flu but Gathright and Pena had 2-hit games. Mike Sweeney played his first game against the Royals and was 0-3 with a walk and 3 left on base for his old buddies across the way. In other news, Miguel Olivo was quoted in the Star (paraphrased, actually) that he's recovered from his groin but won't rejoin the lineup until at least Thursday.

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