SURPRISE, Ariz. — The Royals put their World Baseball Classic staff to work Sunday when they conclude their three-game weekend series against campus co-tenant Texas at Surprise Stadium.
By BOB DUTTON
The Kansas City Star
Right-hander Luis Mendoza, bound for Mexico, will draw the start and could throw as many as 70 pitches. Normally, that would be a staggering amount for a first spring appearance, but he threw 113 on Feb. 6 in the Caribbean World Series.
Tim Collins (United States) and Kelvin Herrera (Dominican Republic) are also slotted to pitch. John Lamb, Louis Coleman and Michael Mariot are also listed to pitch.
It will be interesting to see the radar readings on Lamb, who was viewed as the organization’s top pitching prospect before undergoing Tommy John surgery in June 2011.
The WBC always creates concern to ensure participating pitchers are properly conditioned before exiting camp. Relievers aren’t a big issue because they are likely to only throw one inning at a time in the tournament.
Starters are a different story, although Mendoza’s work in winter ball – which was heavier than the Royals would have liked – pays a dividend.
“He’ll be fine,” manager Ned Yost said. “All we had to do was maintain him. I have no concerns.”
Plans call for all three pitchers to depart Saturday for their national teams.
Also leaving are catcher Salvy Perez (Venezuela), infielder Miguel Tejada (Dominican Republic), utilityman Irving Falu (Puerto Rico) and non-roster pitcher Atahualpa Severino (Dominican Republic).
Minor-league outfielder Paulo Orlando will play for Brazil.
The lineup for Sunday’s game has an in-season Sunday feel to it: LF Willy Taveras, SS Alcides Escobar, 1B Eric Hosmer, C Salvy Perez, RF Jeff Francoeur, 3B Miguel Tejada, DH Max Ramirez, 2B Johnny Giavotella and CF Luis Durango.
The Rangers are starting left-hander Matt Harrison.
The Royals can clinch the campus title by winning today. They hold a 1-0-1 edge with only a March 18 game remaining against the Rangers.
Keep those questions coming on twitter to @Royals_Report. Here is today’s exchange:
@tnt1975: I haven't heard much on Endy Chavez. What % chance do you see him making club?
If everyone in the outfield stays healthy, his chances are beyond slim.
The Royals signed Chavez primarily to serve as organizational insurance against injuries to the four guys projected to make the club. Alex Gordon, Lorenzo Cain, Jeff Francoeur and Jarrod Dyson.
@NorthMoRoyal: how many bats did Alex Gordon go thru last season?
I don’t know but a lot, and he’s off and running this year after breaking one in Saturday’s 4-2 victory over the Rangers. Have seen that stat somewhere. Will try to locate for later Q&A exchange.
@GordonBOPS: Is there any signs that Brandon Wood has made adjustments at the plate such that he might make good on his draft pedigree?
I think it’s way too early to tell. A point to remember: Wood’s walk-off homer Saturday was nice, but it came against Jake Brigham, who spent the last two years at Class AA.
@Tofarforyou: what will Omaha's starting 5 look like?
We’re a long way away from that. Injuries could change things in a hurry. But candidates include Will Smith, Nate Adcock, Chris Dwyer, Everett Teaford and Ryan Verdugo.
@HuskerInsanity: What’s it like for you to cover the Royals in Arizona? Do you go out to eat every day?
It’s the greatest job in the world. I get paid to watch ball. How do you top that? As for eating out every day…yes, I usually eat lunch at the park. Dinner is a mix of eat-in, carry-out and restaurant sitdowns.
@michealsimmons: Is Cain the everyday CF if healthy?
That’s the plan. Big if.
@LukeLukeeckley7: do you think it will hurt the royals to not have one lefty in rotation? I think Danny Duffy coming back right time to help?
An all-righty rotation is not optimal, but I think the Royals are right in believing your best rotation is your five best guys. Also, if you got two or three lefties in the bullpen – and the Royals are likely to have at least two – you can set up late-inning matchups.
@KCTiger27: are the spring games ever televised?
Sure, the Royals have six TV games this spring but none until March 17, when MLB Network will show their March 16 game against the Cubs in Mesa, Ariz., on a tape-delayed basis.
The first live telecast is March 22, when MLB Network will carry the game against the Angels in Tempe, Ariz.
Fox Sports Kansas City has two live spring telecasts: March 25 against the Dodgers and March 27 against the Cubs. Both games are in Surprise.
@KCOracle: How do teams judge the value of utility guys? How do stat guys judge them? Dyson seems like a guy whose speed could creae wins
There’s no one single yardstick. But generally, you want guys who can step in and not hurt you – guys who make the routine plays, contribute some on offense, etc. Often these are veteran guys who can’t perform as a high level over a sustained period.
Teams also look for a guy or two with a specific weapon. Jarrod Dyson’s speed, as you contend, is a great example. Maybe it’s a guy with pop. Or a defensive specialist.