Steve Foster is leaving his role as the Royals bullpen coach, effective Saturday, to become a special assistant to general manager Dayton Moore and the organizations minor-league pitching coordinator.
By BOB DUTTON
The Kansas City Star
Senior pitching advisor Bill Fischer and minor-league pitching coaches Doug Henry and Larry Carter will serve as bullpen coach for the remainder of the season.
Its absolutely a good move for me, Foster said. For impact, for level of influence and for being able to teach. Thats what I enjoy doing. I think Im going to have a larger circle of influence.
Foster, 46, became the bullpen coach prior to the 2010 season after serving the three previous seasons as the Marlins bullpen coach. He replaces Rick Knapp as the minor-league pitching coordinator. Knapp is leaving the organization.
Steve made an incredible difference building continuity within our major-league bullpen, Moore said. We are excited about the positive impact and influence Steve will have as he transitions to this important position in our minor league system.
The Royals made the move now to permit Foster a brief rest before reporting Sept. 16 to Surprise, Ariz., for the start of the Instructional League.
Its a great move for the organization, manager Ned Yost said. Weve had great pace of development among our position players. The pace of development among our pitchers has slowed a bit.
Fosty is a guy we think can get the program rolling in the right direction again. He knows exactly what we need at this level and how to develop it.
Fischer will serve as bullpen coach through Monday before Henry and Carter will split the duty for the remaining games. Fischer, 81, was the organizations minor-league pitching coordinator during 2007-10. He is completing his 65th year in pro baseball.
Henry, 48, spent the last three seasons as pitching coach at Class AAA Omaha after rejoining the organization in 2008. Carter, 47, is in his 15th season with the Royals and his 11th as pitching coach for their Class AA affiliate, currently Northwest Arkansas.
Foster said he hopes his move leads to becoming a major-league pitching coach.
If someone asked me what my hearts desire was, he admitted, thats what I would say to be a major-league pitching coach. I think this is a good step, to be (in charge of) handling all of the pitchers in the minor leagues.
Doubleheader today The Royals and Twins are scheduled for a doubleheader today after steady rain Friday prompted the seasons first postponement at Kauffman Stadium. The doubleheader will start at 3:10 p.m.
It will be a true doubleheader two games for the price of one admission. The second game will start approximately 30 minutes after the opener concludes but not prior to 6:10 p.m.
Both teams plan to use Fridays scheduled starting pitchers in the opener: Royals left-hander Will Smith (4-6 with a 5.55 ERA) and Twins right-hander Cole DeVries (3-5 and 4.68). Saturdays previously scheduled starters will pitch the nightcap: Royals right-hander Luke Hochevar (7-12 and 4.93) and Twins right-hander Liam Hendriks (0-7, 6.02). Both games will be carried by the Royals Radio Network, including KCSP (610 AM), but neither game will be televised by Fox Sports Kansas City.
Fridays rain also prompted a late-afternoon decision to postpone the scheduled ceremony to induct former groundskeeper George Toma into the Royals Hall of Fame.
No makeup date has been announced.
Initially, the Royals planned to shift the ceremony inside the Hall of Fame building beyond the left-field wall before opting instead for a postponement.
Toma was to become the 25th inductee since the Hall began in 1986 with the induction of pitcher Steve Busby and outfielder Amos Otis.
Piña expected back
Catcher Manny Piña is likely to be recalled Saturday along with David Lough or another outfielder. The move will provide the Royals with the flexibility of three catchers on their roster.
Piña, 25, is batting .278 with five homers and 25 RBIs in 49 games, primarily at Northwest Arkansas, since returning from surgery to repair torn cartilage in his right knee.
The injury occurred Feb. 22 when his cleats caught in the dirt on a practice field at the clubs complex in Surprise, Ariz. Catcher Salvy Perez suffered the same injury, except to his left knee, on March 13.
Piña made his major-league debut last season when he went three for 14 in three games.
Outfielders Wil Myers and Bubba Starling joined All-Star Futures Game starting pitchers Jake Odorizzi and Yordano Ventura among those cited Friday by the Royals as the player- and pitcher-of-the-year recipients for their eight minor-league affiliates.
The complete list with statistics through Thursday that include a players performance this season across all levels:
Class AAA Omaha: Myers, 21, (36 homers, 106 RBIs, .306) and Odorizzi, 22, (15-5, 3.03 ERA).
Class AA Northwest Arkansas: infielder Christian Colón, 23, (6-36-.301) and right-hander Michael Mariot, 23, (6-3, 3.26).
Class A Wilmington: outfielder Whit Merrifield, 23, (8-43-.258) and Ventura, 21, (3-7, 3.73).
Class A Kane County: outfielder Jorge Bonifacio, 19, (10-61-.282) and right-hander Angel Baez, 21, (6-5, 3.17).
Short-season Idaho Falls: outfielder Ethan Chapman, 22, (0-23-.314) and left-hander Sam Selman, 21, (5-3, 2.11).
Short-season Burlington: Starling, 20, (10-33-.275) and left-hander Colin Rodgers, 18, (3-1, 2.05).
Rookie Surprise: outfielder Alexis Rivera, 18, (3-34-.341) and left-hander Matt Tenuta (3-5, 4.58).
Dominican academy: infielder Wander Franco, 17, (2-38-.315) and right-hander Miguel Almonte, 18, (8-2, 1.75).
Nearly 20 years and counting
The Royals came within a two-out RBI single in the eighth inning Thursday of registering their first back-to-back shutouts in nearly 20 years: Sept. 29-30, 1992 in 2-0 and 4-0 victories at California.
Dennis Rasmussen and Rick Reed pitched complete-game shutouts. Rasmussen beat Hall of Famer Bert Blyleven.
The achievement likely didnt seem particularly impressive at the time because it had only been a week (Sept. 21-22) since the Royals posted successive 3-0 victories over Seattle at then-Royals Stadium.
Luis Aquino, Bill Sampen and Jeff Montgomery combined for the first one. Chris Haney pitched a complete game in the follow-up and beat Randy Johnson.
Heres a stat that bounced around Twitter and the internet early Friday after the Royals completed a three-game sweep over the Tigers. (Not sure who had it first.)
The Royals are a combined 7-21 against the American Leagues three last-place teams: 4-8 against Minnesota; 2-6 against Toronto; and 1-7 against Seattle.
Again everyone else, the Royals are 52-50.
Short-season Burlington met Johnson City on Friday in a decisive third game in the first round of the Appalachian League playoffs.
Starling and Terrence Gore hit homers Thursday in helping the Royals to a 4-2 victory that evened the best-of-three series at 1-1. Fridays game was in Burlington. Johnson City is a Cardinals affiliate and the leagues two-time defending champions.
Fridays winner will play either Danville (Braves) or Elizabethton (Twins) in a best-of-three championship series, which starts Saturday.
It was 23 years ago Friday Aug. 31, 1989 that Bret Saberhagen became the only pitcher in franchise history to win seven games in a single month. He pitched eight innings in a 3-0 victory over Detroit at then-Royals Stadium.
Saberhagen improved to 17-5 en route to a 23-6 record that produced his second Cy Young Award. The 23 victories also remain a franchise record.