SURPRISE, Ariz. — The Royals continue their opening weekend in the Cactus League Saturday afternoon by playing the second of three games against campus neighbor Texas at Surprise Stadium.
By BOB DUTTON
The Kansas City Star
This time, the Royals will be the home team, which means they can’t blow a lead in the bottom of the ninth as they did Friday in settling for a 5-5 tie with the Rangers.
The Royals were one out away from victory when Blaine Boyer yielded a triple to Brandon Allen before Yangervis Solarte crushed a two-run homer. Texas then got the winning run to second before Boyer ended the inning.
Boyer, 31, is a seven-year veteran attempting a comeback this season after not playing in 2012. He signed a minor-league deal with the Royals in January.
There is no TV or over-the-air radio for Saturday’s game in the Kansas City area, although Steve Stewart will nurse a handful of guest analysts through a webcast at www.royals.com . Listen and see why some people shouldn’t be allowed on radio.
You can get the Texas broadcast on 103.3 FM if you want to hear things from the other side. The starting pitchers are Guillermo Moscoso, whom the Royals acquired Nov. 2 in a waiver claim from Colorado, and Randy Wells.
The Royals list six other pitchers on Saturday’s schedule: Francisley Bueno, Brian Sanches, Dan Wheeler, Ryan Verdugo, Donnie Joseph and Atahualpa Severino.
Here’s the Royals’ lineup: LF Alex Gordon, SS Elliot Johnson, 1B Billy Butler, DH Salvy Perez, 3B Mike Moustakas, RF David Lough, C George Kottaras, 2B Chris Getz and CF Jarrod Dyson.
It was 26 years ago today – Feb. 23, 1987 – that Royals manager Dick Howser called the team together in Fort Myers, Fla., to announce his resignation.
Howser was diagnosed the previous year with brain cancer and underwent treatment throughout the second half of the 1986. His comeback attempt lasted four days before he found himself unable to continue.
Billy Gardner replaced Howser as the club’s manager.
Many asked if a cell-phone video is available from Thursday’s team-building golf outing that shows Miguel Tejada teeing into an exploding ball on his first swing. Am still looking for one but am not optimistic.
Keep those questions coming on twitter to @Royals_Report. Here’s today’s exchange:
@Mave_Rick_2: realize its a long shot... But if Kyle Loshe goes down to a one year deal.. Would KC be willing to go for broke and sign him?
It’s hard for me to see that happening barring a rash of injuries to starting pitchers. Even then, I don’t think so. The Royals are more than $10 million over their projected break-even point payroll, and signing Kyle Lohse would also cost them a draft pick.
@_MathewB: Have you seen or talked to Joakim Soria since he joined the rangers? How is he?
I talked to him right after he signed with the Rangers but not since camp opened. I hope to hook up with him at some point this weekend..
My friends in the Rangers’ media say Soria believes he’s ahead of schedule in his recovery and has been an absolute pro to deal with. Neither surprises me.
@MikePettis660: What's season hold for Elliot Johnson? Like to see him on 25 man as a utility guy since he can play OF. Is Tejada in the way?
If I’m projecting the roster, as of today, I think they both break camp with the club.
Miguel Tejada is already exhibiting a mentoring influence in the clubhouse, which is what the Royals wanted and expected. Of course, that doesn’t mean much if he can’t play. He had a couple of good swings in Friday’s opener while going one for two.
Johnson had the top defensive play in the opener on a diving stop and throw at shortstop. His ability to play that position is a big reason why the Royals wanted him as the player to be named later in the trade with Tampa Bay.
@HamiltonKent: is Davis locked for the #4 slot or could a strong performance from 2 of Hoch/Mendoza/Chen push him to a set-up role?
Manager Ned Yost says Wade Davis is a lock for the rotation and – like James Shields, Ervin Santana and Jeremy Guthrie – can’t pitch poorly enough this spring to lose his spot.
Now, that leash has limits. If Davis struggles for an extended period in the regular season, I’ve got to believe the Royals would look at alternatives.
@KCCCK94: Is Smith now on equal ground with Chen, Mendoza, and Hochevar in the running for the 5th spot? I realize 2 innings isn't much
Will Smith was sharp and efficient Friday in rolling through six straight Rangers in just 22 pitches over two innings. I think he’s got to keep doing that to wedge his way into the picture. Even then, I think he’d be a long shot.
@BHIndepMO: Is Ventura going to get any starts in ST, or will his appearances just show us what he'd do as a relief pitcher?
The Royals certainly want to get Ventura stretched out for starting duty in April (presumably in the minors), but I don’t know that he’s going to actually start any Cactus League games.
My guess – and that’s all it is – is he’ll pitch piggyback for a couple of turns through the rotation and then be reassigned to minor-league camp.
Piggyback means a reliever enters the game at the beginning of an inning after warming up as a starter would do. If the actual starter needs to be pulled prior to the pre-determined inning for the piggyback starter, a real reliever will be summoned as a bridge.
@Mark_Healy: Are the pitchers on a pitch or innings count? Seems to me that Smith would have gone back out there only throwing 22 in 2 IP
Both are factors. Pitch counts get the most attention, but there is a conditioning factor for up-downs by a starter, i.e., the act of pitching, cooling off and sitting down, and pitching again.
@displacedsptsfn: can't thank you enough for your quality coverage of the #Royals. We fans are very fortunate to have you and your insight.
I realize there’s no question here beyond whether this gets noticed by Nicole Poell, Jeff Rosen, Mike Fannin and my many other supervisors at The Star.
@EIChup: what was $ of JC Gutierrez contract?
@LukeLukeeckley7: do u think salvy will really be batting 5th. I think its too much to do all he does on defense and be a big run producer?!
I don’t know…Buster Posey, Joe Mauer, Yadier Molina and Matt Wieters and many other catchers produce from the middle of the order without a noticeable dropoff in defense.
To answer the specific question, at this point, yes, Yost’s plan is for Salvy Perez to bat fifth.
@Luke_banks23: do the royals still really have hope in Hochevar?
Clearly, they do. And any Royals fan should share that hope – shouldn’t they? – even those who think it unlikely Luke Hochevar ever fulfills those hopes.