Teahen, Aviles stay sharp in Triple-A game

Mike Aviles and Mark Teahen weren’t in Sunday’s high-scoring rout at the Mariners’ ballpark but they weren’t idle.

They were left behind in Surprise to play in a Triple-A game, giving shortstop Aviles and would-be second baseman Mark Teahen another chance to work together. Another of manager Trey Hillman’s motives was to give Aviles some swings in a relaxed atmosphere after he’d had a rough 0-for-3 game against the Rangers.

No report on how the fielding went but the hitting went well. Aviles went 3-for-5 with a triple and Teahen was 2-for-5.

Against the Mariners, Alberto Callaspo played the whole game at second and he had a real blast at the plate with four hits including three doubles in the 17-12 win.

Hillman, by the way, gave a hint that there’s a chance the Royals might not open with 12 pitchers and 13 position players after all. Because of three open dates in April, there have been discussions about keeping just 11 pitchers for a while.

“I don’t think it’s going to go there but it has come up – what about the possibility of going 14 and 11?” Hillman said.

As far as the rotation goes, he’s taken the three off days into consideration and concluded the Royals will need a fifth starter at least twice during April.

One more thing. Aviles and Teahen both took batting practice on Sunday morning against left-hander John Bale, the first live BP that he’s thrown since returning to camp after thyroid surgery.

“He threw 25, 26 pitches and the ball got out of his hand better than I anticipated,” Hillman said. “He looked pretty good.”

The Royals will try to get Bale into a game before camp breaks. After undergoing surgery, Bale is regaining strength and weight – he’s up to about 212 after getting down to about 200. But he’s not likely to be ready for the start of the season, at least on the Major League level.

— Dick Kaegel

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