The Royals went a little overtime on Friday, going almost four hours as they worked on bunting drills, executing bunt plays as well as defending against them.
Manager Trey Hillman wasn’t very happy with the Royals’ bunting game last season.
“We emphasized it last year as well and then we went into the season and we didn’t perform it very well,” he said. “I know that we’re teaching it right and we’re paying attention to detail. It can be concentration, it can be adrenaline and sometimes it’s just flat-out whether we have the ability to do the job.”
On Saturday, the Royals will have an unusually late starting time, 12:30 p.m. MT. That’s three hours later than normal to allow time for lab work associated with player physicals.
Outfielder Jose Guillen, recovering from the ingrown big toe nail that he yanked out, did conditioning drills on Friday but then Hillman told him to back off. “As much as he wants to be out here and go through everything, it’s counterproductive right now,” Hillman said. They’ll evaluate his ability to work out daily….A planned two intrasquad games has been reduced to one, on Sunday. The Monday game has been scrapped. The first exhibition game is on Wednesday, a charity game against the Rangers….Infielder Tim Hulett, claimed on waivers from the Mariners, reported on Friday. He didn’t have far to travel; the M’s camp is just a few miles down the road.
— Dick Kaegel
The Royals acquired a second baseman on Thursday but no, not Orlando Hudson. It was Tug Hulett, claimed off outright waivers from the Seattle Mariners.
Hulett will report to the Royals’ camp on Friday. To make room on the 40-man roster, the Royals designated left-handed pitcher Neal Musser for assignment.
Last season Hulett, 26, broke into the Majors in 30 games with the Mariners, batting .224 (11-for-49). A left-handed batter, he spent most of the summer with Triple-A Tacoma and hit .298 with 14 homers and 47 RBIs in 91 games.
Second base is his primary position but he’s also played shortstop and third base.
Manager Trey Hillman doesn’t slot Hulett into the battle for second base which already features Alberto Callaspo, Willie Bloomquist and Mark Teahen.
“I wouldn’t count him out because I don’t know what’s going to happen but it’s certainly not a priority with me with what we already have and are looking at there,” Hillman said.
Hulett’s father, infielder Tim Hulett, played 12 seasons in the Majors for the Chicago White Sox, Baltimore Orioles and St. Louis Cardinals. Tim Hulett, born in Springfield, Ill., went to Auburn University.
Musser, 28, was 3-5 with a 4.34 ERA in 36 games last season for Triple-A Omaha. He appeared in just one game for the Royals but, in 2007, he was in 17 games with a 4.38 ERA and a 0-1 record.
Hudson, a free agent sometimes linked to the Royals, remained unsigned although the Los Angeles Dodgers were talking to him.