Podsednik gets off to a fast start in Cactus opener

Nice way to get out of the box for new Royals left fielder Scott Podsednik. First inning: Sharp single to right field off Rangers No. 1 starter Rich Harden. Then, promptly, a steal of second base and, when catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia’s throw struck his leg and the ball rolled into left field, it was on to third base. As Jason Kendall, the second batter, hit an excuse-me tap to third base, Podsednik was home.

The Royals had struck first. Alas, the 1-0 lead morphed into a 13-3 deficit, but at least Pod showed something.

“I was kind of nervous today,” he said. “I was more excited than anything. We were all looking forward to this first game and getting out there and playing a little bit. . . . I feel like I’ve been around long enough that I don’t feel like I have anything to go out and prove but we are kind of the new guys in camp so you want to go out and show that you’re ready to go.”

Unfortunately, the Royals pitchers didn’t seem to be quite ready. Kyle Davies and Robinson Tejeda made too many pitches and gave up too many hits and runs but, hey, let’s not panic. They didn’t.

“I didn’t throw as many strikes as I would like to but the one curveball that got hit out wasn’t a bad pitch. It was just middle of the plate, down,” Davies said, noting Saltalamacchia’s three-run blast. “The kind of stuff you work on in Spring Training, for me it’s getting myself in a good position to throw a lot of strikes. I walked one guy and on four straight pitches and you look at and say, well, there’s some stuff to improve on and that’s what Spring Training is for.”

Davies didn’t try to get too fancy in his first outing.

“Pretty much fastballs and changeups today. I threw two curveballs and one of them left the ballpark,” Davies said. “Mostly it was fastballs and my biggest thing in the past has been fastball command so the one thing that I’m stressing in Spring Training is let’s get the fastball over the plate first. Let’s throw 70 percent of them for strikes and that’s what I’m trying to do.”

Tejeda also tried to keep it simple.

“My arm feels good and so far the velocity’s good and I think I’ve got pretty much control on my ball. I haven’t worked a lot on my breaking pitch yet but it looks like it’s going to be there, too,” Tejeda said. “Today I threw the changeup and the slider but I was pretty much working with my fastball.”

–Dick Kaegel.


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