SURPRISE, Ariz. — The Royals finally run out one of the guys anticipated to be in their starting rotation today when they make the 18-mile trip south play Cleveland in Goodyear, Ariz.
By BOB DUTTON
The Kansas City Star
Right-hander Wade Davis, the other pitcher acquired in the big off-season deal with Tampa Bay, will make his spring debut. Also scheduled: Yordano Ventura, Justin Marks, Donnie Joseph and Dan Wheeler.
Davis starts a cycle through the club’s anticipated rotation.
Luke Hochevar will start Wednesday against Milwaukee in Surprise – with Bruce Chen, the other leading competitor for the fifth spot, following in a piggyback format. Just a guess here, but I’d expect the roles to be reversed on the next cycle.
On Thursday, James Shields will start against San Diego in Peoria, then Ervin Santana on Friday against Cincinnati in Surprise, and Jeremy Guthrie on Saturday against a San Francisco split squad in Surprise.
The delay in getting the main guys into action stems from pitching coach Dave Eiland’s belief that six spring starts are the optimal number. With the Royals playing a 36-game schedule, that effectively pushed everything back a week.
The Royals created a stir Monday by pulling left fielder Alex Gordon from the lineup because of back spasms. That’s understandable. Gordon is one of the club’s key guys. But subsequent checking suggests the ailment truly is minor.
Gordon should return to action later this week. The same goes for center fielder Lorenzo Cain, who suffered a hand injury early in camp and has yet to play.
Today is a big day in Felipe Paulino’s rehab process. The jumbo right-hander will throw pitches from a mound for the first time since elbow pain forced him to depart a June 6 start against Minnesota at Kauffman Stadium.
Paulino subsequently underwent Tommy John surgery. He is scheduled to throw 20 pitches today.
Lefty Danny Duffy is slightly ahead of Paulino in his recovery from Tommy John surgery. Duffy had his first mound workout earlier in camp and is now up to 30 pitches in his recovery.
We’re running a series of positional preview videos this week online. The audio work leaves much to be desired, but the video and still photography by John Sleezer makes the well worth a look.
Keep those questions coming on twitter to @Royals_Report. Here is today’s exchange:
@pfunk270: who do the experts seem to be more impressed by in their return lamb or arguelles?
I think the Baseball America rankings give a good indication. John Lamb is rated as the Royals’ No. 11 prospect; Arguelles is rated among their top 30.
@MadDogKiller: I heard moose is looking a bit thick, is that true?
Not that I can see. And the guy looks better than ever at third base. He has four hits in seven at-bats, too, for whatever that’s worth. Royals need for him to have a complete year.
@RSmithInc: If, (big if) the Yankees would take Francouer full contract for a b- prospect would the Royals do it? Who would play RF?
Can’t get past the “big if.” Can’t imagine it happening. But if Jeff Francoeur were traded, the obvious in-house solution is to move Lorenzo Cain to right field and put Jarrod Dyson in center field.
@brocktheshock: Looks like Getz is favorite for second so far? Gio not a lot of opps early? Thoughts?
You’re seeing something that isn’t there. Both guys have started two of the first four games. I think it’s a real competition at second base, although I think – and this is me, really, Johnny Giavotella has to win the job. I see Chris Getz as the status-quo option.
@SteveGiufre: Assuming Gordon leads off, where do you think Cain will hit in the order?
The tentative lineup is: Gordon, Escobar, Hosmer, Butler, Perez, Moustakas, Francoeur, Cain and either Getz or Giavotella. Very tentative.
@JFW_KC: Been seeing a lot of shoe pics from the clubhouse. Who is best known for their shoes on the team? Can we get a pic?
Jeremy Guthrie is the undisputed king. Whoever is second is a distant second. Might have to do something with Guthrie about shoes. That, presumably, would include some sort of picture.
@Justin_Ranes: Getz has a career 0.4 WAR in 5 professional years (2 HR in 1309 PA)... let that sink in...Can he really be the starting 2B?
I think there is a real good chance that Chris Getz wins the starting job.
@85royal: the Royals appear solid if uspectacular acroos board. What piece will they look to add the last week of ST?
I don’t know that they’ll add anything. The Royals like their club. There’s a genuine excitement within the organization to see how things play out. Now, that doesn’t mean they won’t jump on a chance to improve.
The best chance for a deal – and remember, injuries scramble all scenarios – is another team comes shopping hard near the end of spring training for a starting pitcher, i.e., Luke Hochevar, Bruce Chen or Luis Mendoza.
@Crooksie81: oore has some pop! Any chance his value increases greatly this year? Johnson or Tejada make it?
There is potential in Adam Moore. He was once viewed as a top prospect in Seattle but battled injuries in recent years. But I think he opens the season as the starter at Class AAA Omaha.
I think Elliot Johnson and Miguel Tejada each have to play their way off the club. As of now, I’d be shocked if they’re not among the 25 guys who break camp.
@J_ST3W_K_C: do you see Ramirez making club? He’s got a big bat. Or not because butler and hosmer
A lot would have to happen for Max Ramirez to make the club. His defensive skills as a catcher are suspect, which makes him an unlikely fit as Salvy Perez’s backup. And you nailed it…it’s hard to see him making the club over Billy Butler or Eric Hosmer.
@rock_hawk: When do you think Dwyer gets moved to the pen? Have to imagine a move happens soon to try to salvage a rocky career.
I don’t think the Royals are there yet. For one thing, left-handed starters are, typically, the last thing that clubs give up on.
To reach Bob Dutton, Royals reporter for The Star, send email to email@example.com. Follow his updates at twitter.com/Royals_Report.