September 2009

Half-price tickets available for Zacks home farewell

Zack Greinke won’t leave Kauffman Stadium without a flurry of activity.

Greinke, pushing for the American League Cy Young Award, will make his final Kansas City appearance at 1:10 p.m. CT on Sunday against the Twins and the Royals announced a “Zack Pack” ticket promotion for the game.

Starting immediately, fans can buy half-price tickets for all seats priced $33 or less excluding the $7 Fountain Seats. In addition, all Field Box, Field Plaza, Outfield Box and Loge Level tickets purchased with the office include $5 in additional value for use at concession and retail outlets at the stadium.

Also, the first 10,000 fans aged 21 or older on Sunday with receive a “Greinke for Cy” T-shirt from Miller Lite. The club is also encouraging fans to wear those T-shirts or other Greinke garb and bring small signs of support at the season’s last home game which is not being televised.

The Majestic Team Store, located near Homeplate Gate C, will offer Greinke items, except jerseys, for a 23 percent discount in honor of his uniform number.

This won’t be the last start for Greinke, who has a 15-8 record and the Majors’ best ERA of 2.08. His finale is scheduled for Saturday, Oct. 3, at Minnesota.

In his last five starts, Greinke has allowed just one earned run in 35 innings for a 0.26 ERA while holding opponents to a .155 average. His record in those games is 3-0.

He’s been particularly effective this year at Kauffman Stadium, posting a 1.73 ERA at home. That’s by far the best home mark by any American League pitcher. He’s 9-3 with four no-decisions in 16 starts at Kauffman.

–Dick Kaegel

Royals official: No agreement yet with Aaron Crow

A top Royals official said no agreement has been reached yet with the club’s No. 1 draft pick of 2009, right-handed pitcher Aaron Crow.

That came after a report by ESPN’s Buster Olney that Crow was on the verge of signing a Major League deal that would pay him between $3 million and $4.5 million.

“Apparently Buster Olney knows something we don’t know,” said J.J. Picollo, Royals assistant general manager-scouting and player development.

“There’s nothing to report on, there’s no confirmed deal or anything. We’ve picked up the talks with them the last couple of days and that’s about it. We’re working at it.”

But Picollo said the Royals are pushing to get something done on Thursday or Friday so that Crow could begin play in the Arizona Instructional League which opens on Monday. Crow is represented by the Hendricks brothers of Houston.

“I’ve maintained all along that we’re going to work a deal out, it’s a matter of when. But I think it’ll work itself out. I’ve never lost faith in this whole thing,” Picollo said.

Crow, from the University of Missouri and Wakarusa, Kan., was the 12th overall pick in this year’s First-Year Player Draft. He was drafted in 2008 by the Washington Nationals but did not sign, reportedly turning down a $3.5 million offer.

He was not subject to the Aug. 17 signing deadline this year because he had played independent pro ball and had no college eligibility remaining. Major League Baseball ruled that he and first-round supplemental pick Tanner Scheppers were exempt.

That relieved the Royals of deadline stress – they had gone to the final minutes to sign 2007 first-round pick Mike Moustakas and 2008 first-round Eric Hosmer – and negotiations with Crow continued.

In 2008 for Missouri, Crow was the Big 12 Conference Pitcher of the Year and a Golden Spikes Award finalist after going 13-0 with a 2.35 ERA in 15 starts. He had 127 strikeouts and logged 43 consecutive scoreless innings that season.

He throws a mid-90s fastball and a sharp slider.

So the negotiations are continuing and Instructional League players are to report to Surprise, Ariz., on Sunday and begin play on Monday.

“Once there’s a yes, I think things will happen fast because they know we have a timetable to work with,” Picollo said.
–Dick Kaegel

No trip to St. Loo leaves a void in 2010 schedule

For folks who enjoyed traveling to St. Louis for the Royals’ annual invasion of Mound City, there’s a void in 2010. No trip to Busch Stadium on the schedule for the first time since 2005.

Instead, the Royals’ National League road games will be at Cincinnati, Atlanta and Washington, not exactly just down the Interstate.

The Cardinals have never seemed real attached to having Kansas City come in. The games really don’t cause the same sparks that they do in Kansas City. Maybe St. Louis is still glum over 1985, the mere sight of Royals uniforms reminding Cardinals fans of that World Series loss.

All three KC at St. Loo games this year were sellouts but these days the Cardinals can sell out almost any game. Next year, though, they’ll have the challenge of marketing the A’s and the Mariners, their AL visitors along with the Angels.

At least the Cardinals will be in Cowtown next year. Too bad about the St. Louis omission for KC folks, though.

— Dick Kaegel

Hillman pleased with Moores latest endorsement

For the first time since general manager Dayton Moore once again said that Trey Hillman was his choice as manager for 2010, the skipper himself was back in the dugout on Friday. He’s been away for four days for his father-in-law’s funeral.

Moore noted last Monday, as he discussed his own extension by the Royals through 2014, that he was pleased with Hillman’s job. Moore had already said several times this summer that Hillman would return next year. And Hillman again responded happily.

“I’ve said it several times but it’s very nice to have a boss that believes in you,” Hillman said. “Believes in your track record, believes in what you do here regardless of what the record is this season.

“I don’t think anybody could have ever imagined it would be as challenging as it has been with some of the things that have happened this season but it’s not anything I lose any sleep over.”

No surprise, considering Moore’s continuous endorsements, that Hillman was pleased about his boss’ contract extension.

“Whether I’m here or not, I’m happy for the organization because it provides stability at the top and that’s what this organization needs,” he said.

–Dick Kaegel

Meche scratched from start; Tejeda to face Angels

Gil Meche has been scratched as the Royals’ starter on Friday night against the Los Angeles Angels. Reliever Robinson Tejeda was named to replace him.

Meche has a fatigued right shoulder, the Royals reported. He had been bothered by back problems earlier and was slow coming around since being activated from the disabled list. In his four starts since returning he had a 2-1 record with one no-decision and an ERA of 8.14. Meche lost his last game at Seattle, surrendering seven runs in four innings.

This will be Tejeda’s first start this season but the 48th of his career. He’s made 29 relief appearances this year with a 1-1 record and 4.07 ERA. In his last four games, he’s strung together 7 2/3 shutout innings and given up just one hit.

— Dick Kaegel