SURPRISE, Ariz. — Only two days until the 34 pitchers and seven catchers on the Royals’ spring roster are scheduled to report, but nearly all of them are already taking part in unofficial conditioning workouts.
By BOB DUTTON
The Kansas City Star
The first official full-squad workout is Friday.
Got lots of requests for a picture of the Royals’ new practice caps after mentioning them online and in a report Friday from camp. So here it is.
More pictures from camp will be available once the galaxy’s best baseball photographer, John Sleezer, arrives early next week. He can’t get here soon enough – for all of us.
We’ll also have our camp preview in Sunday’s paper, which will include complete roster information and a capsule comment on all 61 players. It should be posted online later at www.kansascity.com/royals.
On to the questions:
@sodpro: what's your guess on the top 3 in the batting order?
I think the Royals would like a lineup that starts with Alex Gordon, Alcides Escobar and Eric Hosmer, but that depends on Hosmer bouncing back to his 2011 form. If not, I think Gordon stays in the No. 3 slot.
Who then bats leadoff is anybody’s guess.
@JJamesD: What about Donnie Joseph breaking camp on the big league roster? Seems like we need more lefties in the bullpen.
Really hard to see Joseph on the opening day roster; I mean, a lot would have to happen – although I think he could get a look at some point later in the season.
I just don’t see a shortage of lefty bullpen guys. Tim Collins is a lock, and there’s a good chance that Bruce Chen opens the season as a long reliever. Other possibilities include Francisley Bueno and Everett Teaford.
@MoFoBulldogg: Bob, what hotspots do you recommend in AZ? Any favorite bars or restaurants?
Can’t say from personal experience but have been told by co-workers in previous years the High Octane Lounge on Bell near the intersection with Grand is a memorable experience. Not far from some rental-car locations. Impossible to miss.
My own dining choices are regrettably mundane since Wright Thompson and Jeff Passan left The Star for ESPN and Yahoo!
@Joe_Volz: Is there a can’t miss prospect in the draft this year?
Am sure one will emerge. Right now, Stanford pitcher Mark Appel, who didn’t sign last year with Pittsburgh, seems a likely No. 1, but that could change. Whatever happens, I doubt that can’t-miss guy will be available when the Royals pick eighth.
@Thouse75: what are your thoughts on Jorge Bonifacio and are the Royals pretty high on his potential in the outfield?
Have seen very little of him personally, but scouts rave about his potential and believe he could be an impact right fielder. He’s still a few years away, though. My guess is he’ll start this season at Class A Wilmington.
@mikelewis93: what if Moose and Hosmer don't take a step up this year?
Then all those moves to improve the rotation probably won’t amount to squat. The key to the offense, manager Ned Yost is already saying, is getting steady production from the corners – Hos, Moose, Gordon and Francoeur. Last year, it only was Gordon.
@zackwheat: How likely is it that the #royals go with 4 starters in April, with both Hoch & Chen in the pen?
There’s a chance, but I think it’s more likely that the Royals simply give their starters an extra day of rest. That probably won’t be determined until late in camp.
@Kenniglio: any chance the OF is Gordon Dyson Cain? frenchy on bench?
Almost no chance at the start of the season – barring an injury to Francoeur – but that’s probably the top in-house alternative if Frenchy doesn’t show significant improvement over the first couple of months.
@rhsuper: Better pitching mean less early inning bunting?
Will have to ask Escobar and get back to you.
@Zoukeepr: You think the Royals will go after Brian Wilson? Why not take a chance? If anything flip him like they did Broxton.
Can’t imagine it. The bullpen is strong and already overloaded with candidates, which is something I’m planning to address in a story early in camp.
@GoBigEd: Is there any chance that you will do a Q&A article 3 or 4 times a day? I LOVE that stuff!
Delighted to hear it. And no.