SURPRISE, Ariz. — Jeremy Guthrie makes his spring debut Saturday when the Royals put their unbeaten record on the line against a San Francisco split-squad at Surprise Stadium.
By BOB DUTTON
The Kansas City Star
Guthries start completes the Royals first cycle through their anticipated rotation, and the results have been encouraging.
Wade Davis: two scoreless innings Tuesday against Cleveland in Goodyear.
James Shields: one 13-pitch inning Thursday against San Diego in Peoria.
Ervin Santana: two scoreless innings Friday against Cincinnati in Surprise.
The Luke Hochevar-Bruce Chen- Luis Mendoza battle for the fifth spot also continues Saturday with Mendoza scheduled for three innings in a piggyback start behind Guthrie. Mendoza yielded one run in four innings last Sunday to Texas.
Hochevar and Chen pitched in piggyback format Wednesday against Milwaukee. Hochevar battled command issues while allowing two runs in 1 2/3 innings, while Chen worked two perfect innings.
That competition likely wont be decided until late in camp.
Saturdays lineup: CF Jarrod Dyson, SS Alcides Escobar, 1B Eric Hosmer, DH Billy Butler, C Salvy Perez, 3B Mike Moustakas, RF Lorenzo Cain, LF David Lough and 2B Johnny Giavotella.
The big news in Fridays 3-2 victory over the Reds, which boosted the Royals spring record to 7-0-1, was the home run by Chris Getz a boomer to right field against Sam Lecure in the fifth inning.
Getz hit a spring homer last year in a B game against Texas right-hander Alexi Ogando on the George Brett Field. It also went to right.
But Getz has never homered in 793 at-bats and 887 plate appearances in three years with the Royals; both are franchise records. He did hit two homers in 2009 while playing for the Chicago White Sox.
Getzs last blast was July 19, 2009 in Baltimore against Guthrie.
Fridays homer came after Getz tweaked his stance following a powwow with hitting coaches Jack Maloof and Andre David. Maybe theyre on to something.
Baseball is all adjustments, Getz said. Sometimes, something just doesnt feel good. So you start making adjustments. Some work and some dont. Its just the way it is.
Brett Hayes game-winning homer, which came in the eighth inning, was completely overshadowed. Along with everything else.
Keep those questions coming on twitter to @Royals_Report. Here is todays exchange:
@kc_at_the_bat: Even healthy, Cain seems to be playing mostly at the end of games and not starting. Is Dyson now the favorite?
No. Lorenzo Cain, because of his hand injury, is still slightly behind the curve in terms of timing and conditioning. His innings should pick up. I think Jarrod Dyson has the potential to be an everyday player, but I dont see Cain losing his spot in spring training.
@dznetlease: Too far behind their wildcard competition. Trade a starter projected for Omaha, a long reliever, and Frenchy for Stanton?
I cant see any reason why the Royals wouldnt make that deal.
@BrandonManos: I know this is a stretch but with Hochevar pretty much a lock on 5th spot, is Kyle Lohse a slight option?
If Luke Hochevar is a lock and I dont think he is then theres no space in the rotation for Kyle Lohse.
@hotzpur: who would be the 4th OF if francouer had a horrible spring and got cut?
Just stop. The Royals arent cutting $6.75 million in guaranteed salary because of a poor spring performance. If an injury sidelined Jeff Francoeur (or Alex Gordon, Lorenzo Cain or Jarrod Dyson), the likely beneficiary would be David Lough.
Other possibilities are Xavier Nady, Endy Chavez, Willy Taveras and Luis Durango.
@Nick_Seaton: Now that the new starters have thrown, who were you the most impressed with? Seems they all did what they were supposed too.
Seems to me you answered your own question.
@mtb5003: what do the minor league guys do during ST? Any rumblings from the back fields?
The first full-squad workouts are Monday.
@SpfldCynic: I know the team isn't in midseason form, but I assume Getz got some razzing after the homer? #Royals
There was some, but Chris Getz might be the smartest guy on the club. He can handle himself. His biggest surprise (shock, really) was learning his father was on Twitter he required proof and had retweeted news of that no-doubt blast.
And snark all you want. The ball was crushed. What it means going forward, well, well see.
@jsente4: what kind of production do you see from Holland in his first full season as a closer?
If he stays healthy and the Royals are as good as they believe, theres no reason Greg Holland wont be in position to save 40-plus games.
@popskcsweeper: how bad did Frenchy look on that strike out?
Yes, I tweeted that strikeout in the fourth inning of Fridays game, which was a borderline call on my part. I mean, its the first week of spring games, but it was first-and-third with one out in a scoreless game.
Jeff Francoeur (anyone, really) has got to put the ball in play there, which hed admit. A three-pitch strikeout was a bad at-bat, particularly since he chased an 0-2 pitch up in the zone.
@MaineSkin: who has 2B of right now? Defense a priority?
Defense is always a priority. Is it the No. 1 priority? I dont know. As for the favorite, Ive written this repeatedly: I think the Royals see Johnny Giavotella as having a far higher offensive ceiling than Chris Getz.
But Getz is the safer bet because he more of a known quality. Hes solid defensively who offers above-average speed. He probably steals 30-plus if he plays all season. I think Gio has to win the job. Otherwise it goes to Getz.
@waggz2: how did Lamb look today?
Disclaimer: Im not a scout. That said, Ive liked John Lambs pitchability in each of his outings, but his velocity isnt yet back to pre-surgery levels. He pitched Friday in the upper 80s.
The Royals insist they arent concerned, but the questions wont go away until Lamb proves he can work in the low-90s on a regular basis. I havent seen that.
@JHeine7806: was Shields the only starter on a 1-inn./20-pitch limit in his debut? If so, any reason why?
His choice. Hes a veteran and merits that sort of discretion.
@bobp03: I see salvy in the lineup today, is he still planning on going to the #WBC?
All of the guys going to the World Baseball Classic depart Sunday.
@shwtk11: if spring training ended today what would the #Royals bullpen look like?
My March 2 guess: Greg Holland, Kelvin Herrera, Tim Collins, Aaron Crow, Bruce Chen, Luis Mendoza and J.C. Gutierrez. Highly subject to change.