SURPRISE, Ariz. — First baseman Eric Hosmer will get some playing time again this spring in the outfield, but theres a difference:
By BOB DUTTON
The Kansas City Star
Royals manager Ned Yost indicated the move reflects a hedge against an emergency need rather than a desire to keep Hosmer and designated hitter Billy Butler in the lineup for interleague road games.
Just for depth and protection, Yost said. We want to play (Hosmer) some out there this spring just to give him some experience out there.
That reflects a different view from last year when Yost openly sought a way to avoid benching either Hosmer or Butler for games in National League parks, where a designated hitter is not sanctioned.
Hosmer started two games in right field last year in Pittsburgh before Yost abandoned the strategy because of concerns regarding a weakened defense. Hosmer played right only once more Sept. 13 in Minnesota, when injury to Lorenzo Cain forced a shuffle.
This years schedule calls for the Royals to play 10 interleague road games, including April series at Philadelphia and Atlanta.
I envision 19 different scenarios, Yost said. Thats why I got these guys doing it. But in reality, if things go the way I think theyre going to go, no (Hosmer wont start games in right field).
Call to arms
Early arrivals Monday got a look at the Royals top four starters throwing live batting practice when James Shields, Jeremy Guthrie, Ervin Santana and Wade Davis took to the main practice field prior to the start of the regular conditioning workouts.
It was actually quite exciting to watch the level of focus and concentration, Yost said. The work that they did today with their stuff was phenomenal.
All four skipped their regular turn at the 10-minute session over the weekend because the Royals are easing them through the early stages of camp in order to look at other pitchers.
Monday marked the end of staff-wide live BP sessions, which are designed primarily to reacquaint pitchers to throwing with a hitter at the plate. Most pitchers perform the drill from behind a protective screen i.e., like regular BP pitchers.
Hitters generally use the drills for timing purposes, although swings are permitted.
The next step for pitchers are the intrasquad games Tuesday and Wednesday, when game situations are simulated but innings are generally limited to 20 pitches. Cactus League games start Friday.
The Royals are turning their two intrasquad games into World vs. USA competition. Here are the lineups for Tuesdays game, which starts at 12:30 p.m. on the George Brett Field.
World: CF Luis Durango, SS Alcides Escobar, 3B Miguel Tejada, C Salvy Perez, 1B Max Ramirez, RF Endy Chavez, 2B Irving Falu, LF Willy Taveras and DH Juan Rodriguez.
USA: LF Alex Gordon, 2B Chris Getz, 1B Eric Hosmer, 3B Mike Moustakas, RF Jeff Francoeur, CF Jarrod Dyson, SS Elliot Johnson, C Brett Hayes and DH Adam Moore.
Bruce Chen will start for the World team, followed by Luis Mendoza, Kelvin Herrera, Guillermo Moscoso, Francisley Bueno, Sugar Ray Marimon and Noel Arguelles. The USA pitchers are Nate Adcock, Tim Collins, Michael Mariot, Chris Dwyer, Blaine Boyer and Donnie Joseph.
The starting position players are scheduled for three innings before the substitutes play the remainder of the 61/2-inning game. Some subs will be minor-leaguers called over from their early camp.
World subs: CF Yem Prades, SS Christian Colón, 3B Cheslor Cuthbert, C Manny Piña, 1B Juan Graterol, RF Sharlon Schoop, 2B Rey Navarro, LF Chad Tracy and DH Orlando Calixte.
USA subs: LF Xavier Nady, 2B Johnny Giavotella, 1B Billy Butler, 3B Brandon Wood, RF David Lough, CF Whit Merrifield, SS Anthony Seratelli, C George Kottaras. No backup DH is listed.
Veteran lefty Bruce Chen had hoped to pitch for China in the World Baseball Classic primarily in order to honor his great grandparents, who sent their children to Panama (to help build the canal) in hopes that doing so would lead to a better life.
That quest ended when Chen couldnt produce sufficient documents to gain certification. It also denied Chen the opportunity, for the first time in his career, to be the hardest-throwing pitcher on his staff.
When I went to their workouts, he said, I said, Whos the hardest thrower here? They pointed out some little guy (Chen put his hand at shoulder height). I asked, How hard does he throw?
They told me that in the Asian Games, he threw one pitch at 143.
Chen pulled his face into a puzzled expression: 143? Oh kilometers! How much is that?
It converts to 88.8 miles an hour.
Former Royals first baseman John Mayberry turned 64 on Monday. He averaged 24 homers and 94 RBIs while playing for the club from 1972-77 and was inducted in the clubs Hall of Fame in 1996.
Belated birthday wishes to general manager Dayton Moore, who turned 46 on Sunday.