SURPRISE, Ariz. — A diving stop Tuesday afternoon by shortstop Christian Colón that led to a force at second in an intrasquad game offered a small early validation for the Royals decision to sign veteran Miguel Tejada to a minor-league contract.
By BOB DUTTON
The Kansas City Star
Miguel Tejada has been giving me a few tips, Colón said. Hes been taking me out there and showing me how to set up pre-pitch, which allows you to get to a lot of balls that are kind of off. For me, its helped me to gain some range at short.
The USA team had a runner at first with no outs in a 5-5 game after Brandon Wood drew a walk in the sixth inning against Sugar Ray Marimon. David Lough followed with a sharp grounder to Colóns right.
Colón made a diving stop and threw to second for the force.
(Tejada) just told me to set up differently, Colón said. I tried it, and I was able to get to that ball and make a play. Hes been taking me pretty much under his wing for these first few days. Its kind of nice. Im very thankful for that.
The 61/2-inning game ended in a 5-5 tie.
Colóns defensive gem came after he pulled the World even in the bottom of the fifth with a two-out, two-run single against Blaine Boyer on a grounder that got past shortstop Anthony Seratelli.
It was a fastball middle in, Colón said. He has a good sinker. On 2-0, he threw me one, and it was pretty good. I was just prepared for that, and I was able to put a good swing on it, and it got past Seratelli.
Colón also had a single in an earlier at-bat after replacing Alcides Escobar, which preceded a two-run homer by Cheslor Cuthbert against Chris Dwyer.
The USA team built a 5-0 lead by scoring twice in the first against Bruce Chen before adding three more in the second against Luis Mendoza.
Chen surrendered doubles to Alex Gordon and Eric Hosmer before Jeff Francoeur yanked an RBI single into left. Mendoza yielded three singles to start the second but probably should have limited the damage to one run.
Two runs scored when second baseman Irving Falu couldnt handle Chris Getzs two-out hopper up the middle. The World got one run back when Salvy Perez led off the second inning with a homer against Tim Collins.
Intrasquad arms race
Right-hander Nate Adcock provided the first of many strong pitching performances in Tuesdays intrasquad game by working a one-two-three first inning with three groundouts.
Hes a sinker guy, pitching coach Dave Eiland said, and he kept the ball down. Thats his strength.
Eiland also praised left-hander Noel Arguelles, the former Cuban defector who has spent much of the last three years battling back from shoulder surgery. Arguelles preserved the 5-5 tie with a perfect seventh on a routine grounder and two strikeouts.
Hes way ahead of where he was a year ago at this time, Eiland said. Hes made some mechanical adjustments. Hes a guy who, if we can get some confidence in him early, its going to benefit him and us as well.
Bench coach Chino Cadahia and Eiland handled the postgame news conference after manager Ned Yost departed the complex during the intrasquad game for undisclosed reasons. Club officials say Yost is anticipated back for Wednesdays workout.
The forecast of rain threatens Wednesdays intrasquad game, although the likeliest period is before 6 a.m. Here are the projected lineups for the 12:30 p.m. game:
World: CF Luis Durango, SS Alcides Escobar, 3B Miguel Tejada, DH Salvy Perez, 1B Max Ramirez, RF Endy Chavez, 2B Irving Falu, LF Willy Taveras and C Manny Piña.
USA: LF Alex Gordon, 2B Johnny Giavotella, 1B Billy Butler, 3B Mike Moustakas, RF Jeff Francoeur, CF Jarrod Dyson, C George Kottaras and DH Brett Hayes
Utilityman Elliot Johnson, who arrived Feb. 12 from Tampa Bay, has an outsiders perspective on the Royals bullpen.
Pretty much very single one of them throws 95-96 (mph), he said. Then youve got (Kelvin) Herrera throwing 100. All of them have really good arms. All of them have a great second pitch. Its really tough to stay on both.
The culture was when the starter came out of the game, it wasnt going to be a good at-bat. Youre looking at facing somebody really tough.
On this team, this year, it just feels like if we get the lead, and move into the bullpen, were going to feel really confident about getting a win that day. The job for us, as position players, is to get a couple of runs, get the ball over to the bullpen, and lets go.
The Royals rank in the middle of the pack actually 13th among the 30 teams in terms of developing pitchers over the last five years in a study conducted by former Star staffer Jeff Passan, who now works for Yahoo Sports.
The study tracked how many pitchers debuted for each club in the big leagues and ranks them by their accumulative WAR (wins above replacement) metric. Its imperfect, of course, but interesting.
Heres an online link: http://sports.yahoo.com
The Royals had 18 pitchers debut and compile a 13.1 WAR. Closer Greg Holland is their top contributor in compiling a 3.9 WAR.
The Los Angeles Dodgers topped the ranking with a 47.9 WAR. Nearly half of that came from Clayton Kershaw, who has a 23.7 rating.
The rest of the top five: Oakland 35.7, Texas 33.4, Tampa Bay 27.7 and Atlanta 26.3. Chicago was the top American League Central team at eighth with a 17.3 rating. The Royals ranked second in the division.
The bottom five: Cleveland 2.9, Pittsburgh 1.0, Houston minus-0.1, Los Angeles Angels minus-1.8 and the Chicago Cubs minus-5.