Closer Joakim Soria has had no problems with the shoulder that troubled him early last season, according to manager Trey Hillman.
“He’s looked real good, he really has,” Hillman said after Saturday’s workout. “I tried to not to badger him but I’ve asked him probably three times how his body feels without getting specific about the shoulder but he says he feels very good. His command has been very good, his mechanics have been very free and easy. So far so good with him.”
One of Hillman’s goals is to keep Soria out of the two-inning save situations that he converted five times last year. A six-out save usually runs up so many pitches that Soria isn’t available the next day.
“You might still see the four-out but I’d like to stay away from the six-out,” Hillman said.
The Royals accelerated their schedule on Saturday afternoon, fearful that predicted rain would strike before the workout was finished. But the forecasters were way off. The Royals finished in mid-afternoon under sunny skies. “About an hour ago it was supposed to be blowing 35 or 40 miles an hour with the rain right behind that,” Hillman said. “I’m glad they missed, I’m glad we were able to stay out on the field. Really, in my opinion, we’ve already had enough adjustment days. This has been more like Florida Spring Training early on than Arizona.” Earlier the Royals had to adjust the schedule three straight days because of chilly, wet weather. . . . Rain is still forecast for Sunday. The Royals are scheduled to move into Surprise Stadium for batting practice at 9 a.m. MT as the city of Surprise holds a FanFest for the public. At 12:30, a home-run contest is scheduled between Minor League players from both of the complex teams. The Royals will use Mike Moustakas, who had 16 homers for Class A Wilmington; Ernesto Mejia, who led the Venezuelan Winter League with 14, and Scott Thorman, who whacked 20 in the Pacific Coast League last year. The Texas Rangers will deploy Justin Smoak, Chad Tracy and Mitch Moreland who combined for 54 homers last year. Tracy is the son of Colorado Rockies manager Jim Tracy. . . . The Royals’ pitching schedule for the intrasquad games on Tuesday and Wednesday has been adjusted. On Tuesday, Luke Hochevar, Aaron Crow, Adam Bostick and Edgar Osuna each will throw two innings and Danny Duffy and Francisco Rosario each will throw one inning. On Wednesday, the two-inning pitchers will be Brian Bannister, Dusty Hughes, Carlos Rosa, Bruce Chen and Nelson Payano with Josh Rupe going one inning. The “innings” won’t necessarily be three-out innings. “We’ll monitor it by pitches,” Hillman said. “Typically it can go 15 per inning. If it goes to 17, if we feel like a guy’s conditioning is OK, we might let him go 17 to get through a hitter or something.”
— Dick Kaegel