It is now obvious to Royals first baseman Eric Hosmer, in retrospect, that he allowed an early run of tough hitting luck to undermine his entire season.
By BOB DUTTON
The Kansas City Star
I think it started out as some bad luck, he said. After that, I felt I had to change things. When I look at it now, I should have realized how much time was left in the season and that there was no reason to change anything.
A strained right rotator cuff, suffered last week in Detroit, ended Hosmers season prematurely, but theres no hiding the disappointing numbers: A .232 average with just 14 homers and 60 RBIs in 152 games.
He regressed, manager Ned Yost agreed, but hes going to (rebound). Absolutely. He got into some bad mechanical areas. Started pressing. Started listening to too many people. Started changing too many things. His swing got long. It got loopy. It got violent.
Its been my experience that when kids go through this, they battle and battle, but when youre trying to make changes in the middle of the year, it just doesnt happen. The worse it gets, the harder you try, and that only ensures that it gets even worse.
The hope is Hosmer recalibrates in the off-season.
You go home, Yost said, and you just want to sit, but youre thinking all of the time about things. Then you start your winter program. You start hitting. You start working and get back to you do well. After a break, your mind relaxes; your body relaxes.
You start to get back on track again, and you come back better because of the experience youve been through and the process youve got through.
Plans call for Hosmer to return to Kansas City in a few weeks to get his shoulder reevaluated by Dr. Vincent Key, the clubs primary physician. Barring a setback, Hosmer should be able to start his off-season program on schedule.
Obviously, this wasnt the year I wanted to have, he said. All I can do is learn from it and use it to make me better. Thats what I want to do.
Left fielder Alex Gordon is one of 10 nominees for the Hutch Award, which is given annually to a player who best exemplifies the honor, courage and dedication of former manager and pitcher Fred Hutchinson.
Gordons teammate, Billy Butler, was last years recipient.
Hutchinson was 45 when he died from cancer in 1964. His brother, Dr. Bill Hutchinson, founded The Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle.
The winner of this years award will be announced later this fall.
The other nominees are Felix Hernandez, Ryan Ludwick, Brandon McCarthy, Logan Morrison, Jake Peavy, Dan Uggla, Rickie Weeks, Ryan Zimmerman and Barry Zito.
Winning by losing
There is one silver lining for the Royals in closing out the season with a 2-9 skid: They wont lose their first-round pick in next Junes draft if they sign a free agent who declined a qualifying offer from his former club.
That might not be insignificant since the Royals are expected to shop the free-agent market this winter in search of help for their rotation.
The new labor agreement, in the interest of competitive balance, protects teams with the first 10 picks in the first round from losing their selection if they sign a player who declined a qualifying offer.
The Royals, after finishing 72-90, will pick eighth overall in next years draft. They would, in such a circumstance, surrender their second-round pick.
Picks are determined through teams records with the team with the worst record drafting first. The previous years record is used to break ties.
Class AAA Omaha outfielder Wil Myers is one of 12 nominees for the MiLBY award as the minor-league player of the year. The awards are sponsored by MiLB.com.
Myers, 21, was previously picked as the minor-league player of the year by Baseball America and USA Today. His grand slam against Roy Oswalt, who pitched briefly for Round Rock before joining Texas, is one of 12 candidates for Home Run of the year.
Online balloting is being conducted at http://atmilb.com/QQkVCg.
Omaha outfielder Derrick Robinson was one of nine players honored with a minor-league Gold Glove for defensive excellence. The selections were made from players in the 10 full-season leagues.
It was 27 years ago today Oct. 5, 1985 that the Royals won their sixth division title in 10 years by rallying from a four-run deficit for a 5-4 walk-off victory over Oakland on Willie Wilsons two-out single.
The Royals, by winning, maintained a two-game lead over second-place California with one game remaining.