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.
Jason Kendall matched Jim Sundberg for number of games caught, 1,927, in Wednesday’s game against the Mariners. That’s sixth on the all-time list. Kendall has sat out just one game this season. What’s the secret to his iron-man approach?
“Right after we signed him, we actually asked him that question and it’s a very simple answer, he said it’s a mindset,” Royals manager Trey Hillman said. “Obviously there’s a lot of physical that goes with that but he expects to play every day.”
The physical maintenance comes with experience. “We’re seeing him throw a lot better now than he did in Spring Training. That’s a process with him. He does a real good job of listening to his body,” Hillman said. Kendall is the only catcher in the Majors to make at least 130 starts in each of the last eight seasons. This should make it nine.
“Just to be brutally honest, if our record was 12-8 instead of 8-12, it’d be easy to give him a day off,” Hillman said.
Second baseman Chris Getz came out of his first rehab game with Triple-A Omaha in good shape. He played nine innings of a 10-inning, 3-2 loss to Albuquerque and had two hits. . . . Left-hander Edgar Osuna finally gave up a couple runs, both on solo homers, but pitched Double-A Northwest Arkansas to a 6-2 win at Springfield. His ERA is 0.78 through 23 innings. Reliever Blaine Hardy worked three hitless innings for the save and has yet to allow a run in 15 innings. . . . First baseman Eric Hosmer doubled and walked in Single-A Wilmington’s 15-5 loss at Salem and has reached base in all of the Blue Rocks’ 19 games. . . . Catcher Wil Myers hit his second three-run homer in two days as Single-A Burlington beat Beloit, 13-3. . . . JoAnne Fluke of Ottawa, Kan., who provides the art of dance to individuals with physical disabilities, was in the Buck O’Neil Legacy Seat on Wednesday.
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.
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
Seems like Dayton Moore was quite serious when he vowed to upgrade the Royals’ defense. Now he’s got three center fielders – Scott Podsednik, Rick Ankiel and David DeJesus – roaming his 2010 outfield. That’s left, center and right, respectively.
And he’s pretty clear that Chris Getz, considered a better glove than Alberto Callaspo, will fill second base. And Jason Kendall supposedly is an improvement over the catching combo of Miguel Olivo and John Buck.
All this leaves Jose Guillen as the DH and Alberto Callaspo in limbo. Guillen will probably grumble because he views himself as a good outfielder and a complete player but, with his bad wheels barking, he didn’t move around all that well last year. Callaspo has to be disappointed because he had a breakout year with a .300 average and a bunch of extra-base hits and now there’s no place to play – not second, not even DH.
That should make for an interesting shakeout during Spring Training.
Ankiel looks forward to being in the middle of that outfield.
“All three of us could play center. I think we’re going to do well,” he said. “Certainly when you look around the league you can compare us with any other team.”
Ankiel indicated Monday that the virtual guarantee that he’d play center field swung his free-agent decision toward the Royals.
“I like center, I think you get a good view of the game, I think it keeps you into the game a little bit more, obviously you can get better jumps being right behind the pitcher,” Ankiel said. “I’ve played all three. They all have their different aspects, different angles but I like center better.”
Moore is happy with his new outfield acquisitions.
“You look at the free-agent pool that existed for the 2010 season and Rick Ankiel and Scott Podsednik are two of the better athletes in that group, period, and that’s not debatable,” he said.
How many players have a restaurant dish named after them? Just a few, probably. And now Joakim Soria has joined that exclusive group.
The Joakim Soria dish was unveiled last week by Maria DeJesus, who operates a Mexican restaurant in Sedalia, Mo. The occasion was the Mexican Restaurant Association’s national convention in Kansas City.
Soria, from Monclova, Mexico, came to a dinner gathering with his wife Karla. He was joined by left fielder David DeJesus and his girl friend Kim for some good food, good mariachi music and some foot-stomping folk dancing. DeJesus (no relation to chef Maria) is the spokesman for the Guadalupe Centers Inc., a Latino support organization which hosted many of the convention sessions.
Manuel de la Vega, the association president, noted that the Soria dish was fashioned after the type of cooking they have in the state of Coahuila. That’s where Soria’s hometown, Monclova, is located. Soria loved it and said he was happy to be with other folks proud of their Mexican heritage.
Oh, by the way, in addition to his gastronomical endeavors, Soria is doing his workouts at Kauffman Stadium to strengthen his entire body. And, nope, no sign of the shoulder problems that hampered him early last season.
He says he’s feeling really good – and full, too, after diving into that Joakim Soria dish.
ALSO NOTABLE: DeJesus is continuing his charitable work around Kansas City. On Wednesday, Nov. 11, he’ll head a Royals contingent that will serve Thanksgiving meals to homeless and poverty-stricken men, women and families at the City Union Mission’s two facilities. This is the fourth time the Royals have provided and served the meals. Royals Hall of Famer Frank White will head a group serving at the Family Center and DeJesus will be at the Men’s Center. . . . Although he’s traded to the White Sox, Mark Teahen will follow through on his annual fashion show and dinner to benefit the YMCA Challenger effort to build a ballpark and sports facility for physically-challenged kids. “I do want to make it clear that I’m going to see through the whole Challenger deal in Kansas City. That is important to me and I think it’s part of what I’ve been able to do in Kansas City,” he said. That event will be on Jan. 16 at Union Station and Teahen believes his now former teammates will again pitch in and model clothing in the show. That’s around the time of the Royals FanFest so many of them will be in town. Teahen said the project needs another $300,000 to get the construction underway. . . .
GM Dayton Moore, in his press briefing after the Teahen deal, said he wasn’t concerned about dealing with (and possibly strengthening) an AL Central foe: “This is the fourth deal that we’ve completed with Kenny and the White Sox and we’ve just got to focus on our baseball team and what makes us better. We’re not in a position to worry a whole lot about what the White Sox are doing or the other clubs. We’ve got to do what we have to do to put our best team on the field.” Kenny, of course, is Sox GM Kenny Williams. This deal brought infielders Chris Getz and Josh Fields. The other swaps brought outfielder Paulo Orlando (for pitcher Horacio Ramirez, Aug. 9, 2008), first baseman Ross Gload (for pitcher Andrew Sisco, Dec. 16. 2006) and pitchers Tyler Lumsden and Danny Cortes (for pitcher Mike MacDougal, July 24, 2006). Orlando hit .261 for Single-A Wilmington this year; the others are gone. . . . Getz, in a teleconference with reporters, noted: “I was actually being platooned, I wasn’t playing much against lefties. I hope I’m in a situation where I can get more at-bats against lefties. Who knows how it’s all going to play out?” Getz, a left-handed batter, hit .265 (82-for-310) against righties, .246 (16-for-65) versus lefties. . . . Fields, who popped 23 homers in his rookie season of 2007, believes swinging in more wide-open Kauffman Stadium might help him: “You get to a big park and you start disregarding the home run and take good relaxed swings at balls and take what you get. You actually become a better hitter in a bigger park instead of just trying to hit home runs all the time.”
— 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.
If Mark Teahen has been traded to the White Sox, he did not know about it Thursday morning as he headed to work out at the Royals’ complex in Surprise, Ariz.
A report by Bill Madden in the New York Daily News said the White Sox had agreed to send second baseman Chris Getz and third baseman Josh Fields to the Royals in exchange for Teahen. The premise was that Teahen would replace Jermaine Dye, expected to leave the Sox as a free agent, in right field.
But, as of 10 a.m. CT Thursday, Teahen hadn’t heard anything from the Royals.
“Nope,” Teahen said. “My text messages have been blowing up the last 30 minutes or so but until I hear something from a team official, to me it’s just another one of those rumors. I don’t know if it’s just because it’s the first of the offseason or if it’s in print or whatever but it seems to have gotten more people’s attention than previous rumors.”
Messages to Royals officials for comment were not immediately returned.
Teahen was headed to the Royals’ complex for exercises to strengthen his back.
“I heard the rumor was the Red Sox first thing this morning but maybe they just had the wrong Sox,” Teahen said wryly.
Teahen, who came to the Royals as a third baseman in the 2004 three-team Carlos Beltran trade, shifted to right field in 2007. Ironically, he tied Dye’s Royals record of 17 outfield assists that season.
In 2008, he played both corner outfield positions as well as the infield. This year, he began the season as the starting second baseman but soon shifted to third base as injured Alex Gordon’s replacement. When Gordon returned, Teahen played primarily in right.
This year he batted .271 with 12 homers, 50 RBIs in 144 games.
Getz was the White Sox’s regular second baseman, batting .261 with two homers and 31 RBIs in 107 games. Although second baseman Alberto Callaspo hit .300 for the Royals, the club is interested in an upgrade defensively.
Fields hit .222 with seven homers and 30 RBIs in 79 games. He lost the regular third-base job to Gordon Beckham.
Teahen frequently was the subject of trade rumors in the last offseason too so he’s used to it.
“Right up to the World Series there wasn’t much talk but I’m glad they didn’t waste any time. First thing in the morning and they’re on it,” he said.
“I really haven’t debated getting traded. I felt like I did a good job in the role the Royals wanted me in this year. But I understand the way the pay scale goes and if I get paid more, it’s tough for the Royals to hold on to a guy like me. I figured I’d be in some more rumors this offseason, I didn’t figure they’d start on the first day of the offseason like this.”
Teahen made $3.575 million this year and is again eligible for arbitration.
“I’ve just got to assume I’m coming back to the Royals and if something changes, I’ll go from there,” he said.