Ned Yost was hoping the Royals had long memories when they faced the Texas Rangers on Tuesday and Wednesday. In fact, short memories would do because the Rangers’ embarrassing four-game sweep of the Royals took place just last May 6-9.
“Absolutely,” Yost said. “I think that if everybody on our team doesn’t want to extract a little revenge, there’s something wrong with them because that wasn’t a fun series for anybody. I mean I watched it on TV and it wasn’t fun for me.”
The sweep at Texas likely was the last straw for Trey Hillman as manager of the Royals. Three days later, he was dismissed. And so each of these two games is not just another ballgame.
“Go ahead, get ready, boys, get back at ’em. That’s my philosophy,” Yost said.
“I don’t think it’s like a playoff-type mindset but you definitely remember those types of situations when you go in and you have a rough series and you get swept. It’s fresh in their minds and I don’t think they want that to happen again.”
Left fielder Alex Gordon went 3-for-4 and raised his average to .362 in Triple-A Omaha’s 4-1 win over Colorado Springs. Even though Gordon is hitting well and making progress as he converts to the outfield, the Royals brought up infielder Wilson Betemit instead of Gordon on Tuesday. That made sense because Gordon needs to continue playing, not sit on the bench at Kansas City. There’s no spot right now in KC where he could be playing every day unless Mitch Maier was lifted from the outfield and he’s been a solid player as Rick Ankiel’s replacement in center. . . . Left-hander Edgar Osuna is 5-1 for Double-A Northwest Arkansas after pitching eight innings of a 7-3 win over Arkansas. His ERA is 1.21 and, oddly enough, opponents have scored more unearned runs (12) than earned runs (7) during his nine games.
— Dick Kaegel
Alex Gordon’s stay at Triple-A Omaha is going well. He was named Pacific Coast League Hitter of the Week. Gordon posted a .500 average (11-for-22) with three doubles, three homers, 10 RBIs and seven runs. He was also doing well in his conversion to left field from third base and threw out a runner at home plate.
It’s birthday time for the Royals. Jose Guillen turned 34 on Monday and Joakim Soria’s 26th is on Tuesday. . . . David DeJesus’ streak of errorless games had reached 188 games going into Monday night’s game against the Orioles. That was the third-longest streak among active outfielders. The Yankees’ Randy Winn was at 229 games and the Mets’ Jason Bay was at 222. Fourth was DeJesus’ teammate, Mitch Maier, with 165. . . . Who noticed this? Royals PR veep Mike Swanson certainly did. On Sunday, when the White Sox pitched Gavin Floyd against Brian Bannister, it marked the first Floyd-Bannister combination on the Kauffman Stadium mound since 1992. That was when the original Floyd Bannister, Brian’s father, last toed the rubber there for the Rangers in his final season. Actually, it occurred to Brian B. before the game but he didn’t say anything about it. Floyd Bannister pitched for the Royals in 1988-89. . . . Third baseman Mike Moustakas hit a grand slam, his seventh homer on Sunday but Double-A Northwest Arkansas lost at Springfield, 10-9. Left-hander Mike Montgomery took the loss, his first after four wins for the Naturals and Single-A Wilmington.
Surely Zack Greinke is going to catch some luck and maybe even some run support on Friday night against the Rangers. He goes into his seventh start still looking for his first victory. A year ago he was 6-0 with a 0.40 ERA after six starts.
His ERA this year is just 2.27 but the problem is the Royals are averaging just 2.6 runs when he starts a game. By contrast, Luke Hochevar, 3-1, is getting a healthy 6.3 runs a game.
Greinke couldn’t have pitched any better than he did last Sunday at Tampa Bay where he held the Rays to one run in an eight-inning complete game. Ah, but the Royals scored nada and he lost because he centered a slider that Evan Longoria hit out. The Zackmeister threw just 87 pitches and 65 were for strikes. He never reached a 3-ball count.
Alex Gordon hit his second home run for Triple-A Omaha in a 9-2 loss to Oklahoma City. . . . Left-hander Mike Montgomery won his Double-A debut, going 5 2/3 innings and giving up two hits and one run in Northwest Arkansas’ 3-1 win over Springfield. He struck out eight and walked four. Third baseman Mike Moustakas hit in his eighth straight game (13-for-29, .448) with his sixth home run and is .420 overall. . . . Right fielder Jamar Walton eased his 1-for-26 start with a homer, double and two RBIs but Single-A Wilmington lost to Salem, 11-3. . . . Outfielder Rene Oriental is 10-for-25, .400, in a six-game hitting streak for Single-A Burlington.
Rick Ankiel might get back into center field when the Royals open a three-game series at Chicago on Monday night. He hasn’t been in the starting lineup for eight straight games because of what’s termed a mild right quad strain.
It’s the first quad problem that Ankiel has had as a pro and manager Trey Hillman didn’t want to risk further injury on the artificial turf of Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg. But if it’s suitably warm in Chicago, he might turn Ankiel loose on the natural grass of U.S. Cellular Field.
Hillman used Alex Gordon at first base for the last three innings of Saturday night’s game and says he might see more duty there as needed. For the time being, Gordon is sitting the bench as Alberto Callaspo takes over third base now that Chris Getz is back at second base. . . . Blake Wood seems to be getting on track as Triple-A Omaha’s closer. He picked up back-to-back saves against Iowa to reach five for the season. Kila Ka’aihue hit his seventh homer in a 2-1 win over Iowa. . . . Right-hander Tim Melville, a fourth-round draft pick in 2008, was banged for nine runs in four innings as Single-A Wilmington lost to Winston-Salem, 10-5. Melville is 1-3 with an 11.88 ERA. . . . There were 20 walks, including 13 by Single-A Burlington pitchers, in the Bees’ 9-6 win over Quad Cities. Right-hander Tyler Sample, KC’s third-round draft pick in 2008, got his first win despite issuing six walks in five innings. He gave up just two runs.
Third baseman Alex Gordon is back.
The Royals announced early Saturday morning that Gordon is re-joining the club, coming off the disabled list while second baseman Chris Getz goes on it.
Getz went on the 15-day disabled list, retroactive to Thursday, with a strained right oblique. This was a sharp turnaround from manager Trey Hillman’s hope expressed on Friday night that Getz would be back in a day or two.
Getz was scratched from the Royals’ lineup just prior to the Royals’ 10-3 loss to the Twins on Friday night. He was batting just .209 in the Royals’ first nine games.
Gordon suffered a broken right thumb while sliding headfirst into second base on March 6 against the Texas Rangers at Surprise, Ariz. He spent seven games in injury rehabilitation with Single-A Wilmington, then was dispatched to Triple-A Omaha just on Thursday.
He joined the Omaha club at Albuquerque, played one game, and was flying to Minneapolis, scheduled to arrive at Target Field around game time (12:10 p.m. CT).
The Spring Training injury was a big setback for Gordon, who had struggled last season. He underwent major hip surgery in April and had some difficultly when he returned. But in training camp, he appeared to be in excellent shape when the injury occurred.
Gordon was Omaha’s designated hitter in Friday night’s 8-1 win at Albuquerque and went 3-for-4 with a home run. For Wilmington, he batted .235 (4-for-17) with three doubles.
Third baseman Alex Gordon will be out for three to four weeks with a broken right thumb, the Royals announced Sunday morning.
Gordon was injured on a headfirst slide as he was thrown out attempting to steal second base in Saturday’s game against the Texas Rangers.
“I slid in the second (inning) and felt something. Kept playing and after the game they looked at it and wanted to do an X-ray and found out the tip of it was broken,” Gordon said.
Royals spokesman Mike Swanson described the injury as a “minimally displaced fracture of the right thumb.”
The injury opens the way for Alberto Callaspo and Josh Fields to jump into the third-base picture. Callaspo is already is jeopardy of losing the second-base job to Chris Getz. Fields, obtained from the White Sox with Getz in a trade, is without a regular lineup spot.
Although Gordon is projected to be ready to play by Opening Day, he won’t be able to throw or bat during his recovery, making the date of his return to games uncertain.
The injury came as a bitter blow to Gordon, who was rounding into great shape after being hampered by hip surgery last season.
“Just coming off the (hip) injury and now having this (stinks),” Gordon said.
Get ready to point the rabbit ears on top of the ol’ TV set. Fox Sports Kansas City will beam out 142 Royals games this season.
They’ll get warmed up with a couple of Spring Training telecasts – the first on Tuesday, March 23, when the Cubbies are at Surprise Stadium. That will go live at 3:05 p.m. CT and then re-air in prime time, 8 p.m. CT. The second game will be at 7:05 p.m. CT on Friday, April 2, when the Royals are in Arlington, Texas, for a game against the Rangers.
Then will come 140 regular-season games starting with Opening Day against the Tigers on Monday, April 5, at Kauffman Stadium. There will be 69 road games and 71 home games telecast. In addition to the Fox schedule, ESPN will carry the Royals’ July 4 game against the Angels from Anaheim, Calif.
The Fox telecasts will be preceded by a 30-minute pre-game show, Hy-Vee Royals Live, and followed by the Boulevard Royals Live show with Joel Goldberg as host.
Manager Trey Hillman wants to find spots to play Alberto Callaspo but he indicated that outfield is not likely. “We’re going to have to figure out a way. You don’t want to leave a .300 hitter sitting on your bench and one that had the slug that Alberto did,” Hillman said. “Thankfully he’s got some utility value. He looked real good at third base, he’s had some history of playing some outfield although once we signed Scott Podsednik and Rick Ankiel, in my mind that could of took Callaspo out of the mix.” But Callaspo could play at second behind Chris Getz or third behind Alex Gordon or be used as a DH. “We’re not going to leave that bat sitting on the bench very often,” Hillman said.
. . . The Royals will play some sort of simulated games on March 1, 2 and 3 as they loosen up for the first exhibition game against the Rangers on March 4. . . . Hillman doesn’t think Aaron Crow, the Royals’ top draft pick last year, would be considered for this year’s Major League bullpen. The former Mizzou right-hander is likely to be in the Minors somewhere as a starter. “With an arm that good and stuff that good, from a development background, my preference would be for him to continue to throw as many pitches as possible,” Hillman said. . . . Shortstop Yuniesky Betancourt, who reported to the Surprise Complex earlier in the month, is back after returning home to the Dominican Republic for a short visit. Only a few position players have not yet been spotted in camp, including Callaspo, Jose Guillen and non-roster utility player Wilson Betemit. The first full-squad workout isn’t until Tuesday. . . . Zack Greinke will meet with the media after Saturday’s workout. Supposedly this will be his only give-and-take with reporters this year except on days he pitches. Greinke values his time and doesn’t want his Cy Young celebrity to interfere with his work.
— Dick Kaegel
So now it’s a real deal. The Royals have traded Mark Teahen and cash to the White Sox in exchange for second baseman Chris Getz and third baseman Josh Fields.
The Royals announced the trade on Friday, a day after the report was widely circulated.
Teahen, who played both infield and outfield for the Royals, could replace Jermaine Dye as the White Sox right fielder or take over at third base. The White Sox declined their option on Dye’s $12-million contract for 2010.
Just how Getz and Fields would fit into the Royals’ plans remains to be seen. The Royals’ incumbents at those players’ prime positions are .300 hitter Alberto Callaspo at second base and projected star Alex Gordon at third base.
Getz, 26, was Chicago’s primary second baseman last season although he was slowed by a sports hernia which required surgery on Oct. 2. He’s reported about ready to resume his baseball work.
Callaspo gave the Royals a big season at bat, eventually swinging No. 5 in the lineup. No only did he hit .300 but he hit the first 11 home runs of his career with eight triples, 41 doubles and 73 RBIs. But the Royals want to improve their defense, which ranked last in the American League, and Callaspo had 17 errors last season.
Getz, a left-handed batter who hit .262 as a rookie in 2009, played just 107 games with 18 doubles, four triples, two homers and 32 RBIS. But he adds another Royals’ need with speed on the bases. He had 25 steals in 27 attempts.
Fields, also 26, had an impressive rookie season in 2007 when he hit 23 homers and drove in 67 runs while batting .244 in 100 games for the Sox. But Joe Crede reclaimed the third-base job in 2008 and Fields lost out to Gordon Beckham this year.
However, it’s possible that Beckham could move into the Sox’s vacated second-base spot with Teahen playing third base.
Because Fields also has played first base, he could fill a role behind Billy Butler if the Royals decide not to tender Mike Jacobs a contract.
Teahen, 28, gives the Sox versatility. Aquired from the A’s by the Royals in the three-club 2004 Carlos Beltran deal, he played third base in 2005 and 2006, then switched to the outfield when Gordon took over at third base in 2007. Teahen has played right field as well as left and center and first base. Oddly enough, he began 2009 season as the starting second baseman but had to return to third base in early April when Gordon underwent hip surgery.
In his five seasons with Kansas City, Teahen batted .269 in 676 games with 59 homers, 24 triples, 146 doubles and 293 RBIs. His career on-base percentage is .331.
Teahen, a left-handed batter who hits to all fields, this year had a .271 average with 12 homers, 50 RBIs in 144 games, including 99 starts at third base, 31 in right field and three at second.
The cash given up by the Royals will help the Sox pay the expected raise Teahen can be expected to get in salary arbitration. He earned $3.575 million this year and could get into the $5-million range next season. By contrast, Getz made $401,000 and Fields made $410,000 this year and they are not eligible for arbitration.
Now that the Royals have traded for Yuniesky Betancourt to fill their shortstop need and Ryan Freel to help in the outfield and infield, nothing seems bubbling.
General manager Dayton Moore was asked if more deals might be in the works before the deadline and he was noncommittal.
“At this time of year, it’s active, it’s unpredictable and things can pop up nightly as rosters change due to other trades and injuries and so forth. But right now we’re just monitoring our team and needs of others,” Moore said.
The Royals really need to do is add some offensive production to a club that has been running last in the American League in that vital category called runs scored.
What the Royals are not likely to do is part with the likes of pitchers Zack Greinke and Luke Hochevar, first baseman Billy Butler, third baseman Alex Gordon or closer Joakim Soria – the young core of their club.
“We need to hang on to our good young players as most clubs try to do so any deal we make would be centered around holding on to our good young players,” Moore said.
Vet pitcher Gil Meche isn’t likely to be on the market either although his current back woes would likely dull any interest anyhow. Brian Bannister has emerged as an effective pitcher and, at 28, he’s not really in the “super youth” category. Still, the most common names being floated, as usual, are outfielder David DeJesus and infielder-outfielder Mark Teahen.
“As you know, I won’t talk about the specifics but we’ll always be open to good baseball deals that help our team today and long-term,” Moore said.
The Royals designated for assignment shortstop Tony Pena Jr. and optioned center fielder Mitch Maier to Triple-A Omaha on Thursday.
The moves cleared roster space for shortstop Yuniesky Betancourt and third baseman Alex Gordon. Both are coming off the disabled list and will be in the starting lineup for Friday night’s game against the Tampa Bay Rays.
Pitcher Sidney Ponson reported from his injury rehabilitation assignment but remained on the disabled list.
The Royals listed their starting rotation for the Tampa Bay series. Brian Bannister will start the Friday night opener, followed by All-Star Zack Greinke on Saturday night and Luke Hochevar on Sunday.
The club will further evaluate the status of Gil Meche, who left his last start because of a back spasm.
In addition, shortstop Luis Hernandez cleared waivers and accepted an assignment to Triple-A Omaha. He had been designated for assignment by the Royals