04 March 2008

Short note

***One of the biggest stories out of Surprise for the Royals has been the flu, which has taken its toll on several players, including Luke Hochevar, Ryan Shealy, Justin Huber, Chris Lubanski, Chin-Hui Tsao and others. Other than Angel Sanchez's groin pull, luckily that's been the only other big thing keeping anyone out of the lineup.

Four days after the first win of the spring Friday, the Royals are 2-3 going into today's game versus defending NL champ Colorado. Zack Greinke, Carlos Rosa and Julio Pimentel got beat around Saturday in a 15-7 loss to Texas, Yabuta gave up another run in his second appearance and Dusty Hughes also got credited with an earned run in his spring debut, although he also served up a grand slam with the runs going to Pimentel. Ron Mahay was the only Royals pitcher not to give up a run. Gordon, Teahen and NRI guy C Ken Huckaby had 2-hit games for KC. In Sunday's rematch, the Royals lost by a run as Joel Peralta gave up 2 runs in the 9th. Brian Bannister had a rough outing in giving up 4 runs (3 ER) on 7 hits over 3 innings. Kyle Davies gave up only 1 run in 3 IP so had a decent outing, and the best news of the day was Luke Hochevar had another solid, scoreless outing in 2 IP. DeJesus and Ross Gload had 2-hit games and Mario Lisson hit a wind-aided homer. The Royals followed that up by getting a 9th inning comeback of their own Monday vs. the White Sox and RP Boone Logan. John Bale made his case for that lefty rotation spot to be filled with a hitless 3-inning outing and Jorge de la Rosa did his best effort to take himself OUT of the running by giving up 5 runs on 5 hits over 1 1/3 IP. I know everybody says the spring stats and games don't matter, and I agree to some extent, but they've gotta use some way to evaluate who gets the #4 and #5 rotation slots and who makes the cut in the bullpen. De la Rosa going out and getting shelled (which we've seen many a time when it counts) can't make a good case for his inclusion in the rotation. Other than that it was all good for KC as Yabuta finally had a scoreless outing in his third go-round. Mahay allowed a run but Soria locked down the win with a scoreless inning. Probably the biggest offensive news Monday was a 3-steal game from Joey Gathright as Trey Hillman looks set on putting Gathright's speed to good use, which I like to see (looking at today's in-progress box score, Gathright has 2 more steals today!). No Royal had more than 1 hit in the game as the 11 hits came from 11 different guys. Mark Teahen had the game-winning hit in the 9th.

Several media articles coming out of Royals camp have speculated the Royals' 13-man positional opening-day crew is pretty much set, although it remains to be seen if Jose Guillen's banned substances suspension will be upheld by Selig. I think it would be a shame coming off another 90-loss season if everybody had their spots in hand without chance at losing them in spring. The case has been made to give Justin Huber a shot, which I'd support, but he'd have to prove he can stay on the field and not get injured....plus prove he can play adequate outfield to warrant playing time out there.

Nice to see the Royals have a late 8-4 lead on the Rocks. Lubanski hit an RBI triple, Callaspo picked up his first Royals roundtripper with a 2-run shot in the 4th, Gathright has walked, tripled and scored 2 runs along with his 2 SBs, plus threw out a runner at third in the outfield. The bad thing is Brett Tomko got touched up for 3 runs over 4 IP, including serving up 2 longballs, and Brian Lawrence also gave up another run.

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