SURPRISE, Ariz. — The desert storm rolls down Sunday afternoon to Goodyear for a second game in three days against the Cincinnati Reds.
By BOB DUTTON
The Kansas City Star
The Royals carry an 8-0-1 record into the game with eight straight victories. While that truly is meaningless in terms of being a harbinger of success in the regular season, there are genuinely encouraging aspects.
First baseman Eric Hosmer is driving the ball again with authority. He had two doubles and a homer in Saturday's 9-5 victory over a weak San Francisco split squad.
"Im laying off pitches that I was swinging at last year," Hosmer said. "For me, thats the biggest part. The discipline is there. Im seeing the ball well. For spring training, thats all you can ask for."
Wade Davis starts Sunday in what marks the start of the second cycle through the club's anticipated rotation. He worked two scoreless innings last Tuesday, also in Goodyear, in a 4-1 victory over Cleveland.
Yordano Ventura, Justin Marks, Blaine Boyer, J.C. Gutierrez, Chris Dwyer, Nate Adcock and Michael Mariot are also on the travel roster.
Sunday's lineup: LF Alex Gordon, SS Alcides Escobar, 1B Eric Hosmer, 3B Mike Mousakas, RF Jeff Francoeur, CF Lorenzo Cain, DH Max Ramirez, C George Kottaras and 2B Chris Getz.
The game can be heard on KCSP (610 AM) in Kansas City.
Keep those questions coming on twitter to @Royals_Report. Here is the latest exchange:
@BJL: Is it too early to say that Hosmer has officially put last year behind him and is returning to stardom path?
Way too early. We're one week into spring training. And remember, Eric Hosmer had a great spring last year. For all that, it's hard not be be encouraged.
@dgdowner2: Escobar off to a slow start.What other options can you see hitting 2nd in the order? I know it's only 1 wk in, but...
What you said last matters most we're one week into spring training. But if the Royals went searching for another No. 2 hitter, the likely choice would be the second baseman, either Chris Getz or Johnny Giavotella.
@adazlian: With the #Royals having payroll set do you anticipate any contract extensions -Hosmer,Crow are entering Arb years next year.
I don't see that happening in the immediate future, although anything is possible. Remember, too, that Eric Hosmer's agent is Scott Boras, whose clients don't often surrender future negotiating rights.
@JejuKevin: Is it wrong of me to hope the Royals lose soon so expectations are set so high for the regular season?
You probably realize it probably doesn't matter. Winning and losing in spring training is virtually meaningless. Now, that doesn't mean all aspects of the game are meaningless.
Seeing a guy get good swings on the ball is important. Seeing a pitcher throw strikes is important. Seeing a outfielder take good routes on a ball is important. Etc. But wins and losses, not so much. I'd be writing the same thing if the Royals were 0-8-1 instead of 8-0-1.
@RyanABland: why are there so many contracts signed during spring training?
All players need to be under contract by early March. What incentive does a club have to move early on a player who has no leverage?
@benny_the_buddy: Why was Brandon Wood playing SS? The Royals don't really plan to use him at SS at any point or level this year right?
I don't see Wood playing there much, but it does boost his utility value a notch.
In this case, Alcides Escobar was out of the game, Elliot Johnson is nursing a minor injury, and manager Ned Yost chose to play Irving Falu at second and Miguel Tejada at third. Why? Because that's where Falu and Tejada are expected to play for their national teams in the World Baseball Classic.
@ZachBuchman: Does Lough have any chance at making the roster? If not, what will it take for him to get a legitimate chance?
David Lough is having a strong early camp but barring an injury, I think he faces a big hurdle to break camp with the club. The Royals are likely to keep just four outfielders: Alex Gordon, Lorenzo Cain, Jeff Francoeur and Jarrod Dyson.
@85royal: What's the difference between a "splt" squad and a "B"game. I noticed the B does not count in the standings, SS does.
It's a split squad if admission is charged. Also, regular game rules are observed. In "B" games, no admission is charged and liberties are taken.
Innings in "B" games often end based on pitch counts before three outs are recorded. Similarly, I've seen teams get four outs because the pitcher didn't throw enough pitches.
I've also seen players recovering from injuries bat leadoff in every inning to get additional at-bats.