Royals manager Trey Hillman was interested to hear about Zack Greinke’s fascination with samurai swords. Greinke was given one by Mizuno, the Japanese equipment firm, for winning the AL Cy Young Award. Hillman, of course, is well-acquainted with the Japanese culture after five years of managing the Hokkaido Nippon Ham Fighters.
“Being over there for five years I have a little more feel for how much respect that exudes on who it’s given to,” Hillman said. “What does Zack think about it?”
He was told Zack thought it was “way cooler” than the Cy Young trophy.
“Way cooler? I hope he doesn’t break it out in the clubhouse,” Hillman said.
Bo Jackson used to fire arrows from a crossbow in the Royals’ clubhouse, sinking them into a target parked perilously close to the shower room entrance. No one was skewered, thankfully, as they toweled off. Anyway, Hillman didn’t seem anxious to have a samurai sword on the premises.
Greinke, by the way, will get half of that gap filled in the right side of his mouth where two teeth were pulled last week. The wisdom tooth won’t be replaced, of course, but its broken neighbor that also had to be extracted will be. . . . Here’s how Hillman looks at the Tigers’ signing of outfielder Johnny Damon: “Arguably he had one of his best years ever last year. Some people are going to argue that it was the ballpark (new Yankee Stadium) that he was playing in (or) his comfort level and the support cast that was around him playing for the Yankees. Even with Johnny being a veteran at the age he’s at, I wouldn’t discount anything that he brings to that team in a bigger ballpark. He’s a guy that’s been making adjustments his whole career. He’s needs to flatten that swing out a little bit and hit more line drives instead of those fly balls over that short porch in Yankee Stadium. He’ll make the adjustment. That’s the way we’ll approach him – another dangerous tool for Jim Leyland in that lineup.” . . . Catcher Vance Wilson was given the day off on Sunday to recover from the aching back he experienced during Saturday’s workout. . . . Most of the position players who are in camp early to train voluntarily took the day off on Sunday.