The only three Royals players unsigned are shortstop Mike Aviles, first baseman Billy Butler and outfielder Mitch Maier.
The club announced Saturday that six players had signed contracts: pitchers Julio Pimentel and Robinson Tejeda; catcher Brayan Pena; first baseman Ryan Shealy; second baseman Alberto Callaspo, and outfielder Shane Costa.
— Dick Kaegel
What was this? John Buck was wearing a Florida Gators baseball jersey during the Royals’ conditioning drills on Monday morning. He stuck out like an orange-and-blue sore thumb.
Not only that. The uniform number was 43, a replication of teammate Ryan Shealy’s garb when he played for the Gators. Shealy is the No. 1 Gators fan in the KC clubhouse, or maybe any clubhouse. And he lockers next to Buck.
“He was supposed to get me a sweatshirt and he never did,” Buck said. “Since I love Ryan so much, when I pull a prank I want to make him happy.”
Oh, sure. This was a little payback. Buck didn’t get his Gators sweatshirt as promised so he ordered a jersey himself and wore it, just to aggravate his buddy.
To be sure he wouldn’t break any team rules, Buck got permission from skipper Trey Hillman for the prank. Shealy said appreciated any exposure his beloved Gators can get.
Shealy was asked if his No. 43 had been retired at Florida.
“Not yet,” he said. “But it’s hanging in a Gators’ bar, the Swamp across from the stadium.”
Iin other news: Wednesday’s first game against the Texas Rangers will count in the Cactus League standings. Originally, the Royals’ schedule indicated that the charity game would not count. But, upon further review and this may have gone right up to the Commissioner’s Office or the Supreme Court, it was decided that the game would count in the standings and the stats would count as well. Hey, it could have an effect on the Cactus League championship. . . . Spring Training records usually don’t mean Bo Diddley but, in 2003, the Royals had their best record ever in Arizona (19-10) and that was the year they held first place for a long time and finished in third place at 83-79, their last winning record. . . .Luis Silverio, the Royals’ former third base coach and now a special operative in the organization, stopped by camp for a visit and some meetings. After returning to his KC home, he’s off to Jupiter, Fla., where he’ll be a coach for the Dominican Republic team in the World Baseball Classic. The D.R. will play in Puerto Rico. Then he’ll be back to Arizona to help coach the Minor Leaguers.
— Dick Kaegel