SURPRISE, Ariz. — In case you missed it...well, you didnt miss much Friday night when the Royals pulled out a rare spring clunker in an 8-1 split-squad loss to the Los Angeles Dodgers at Camelback Ranch in Glendale.
By BOB DUTTON
The Kansas City Star
Yordano Ventura hit one-time Royals farmhand Mark Ellis with one out in the first inning before serving up a moonshot homer to Yasiel Puig, a Cuban defector signed last June.
It never got much better.
It happens once in a while, manager Ned Yost said. Tonight was the night, I guess.
Ventura threw 61 pitches in three innings while allowing three runs and five hits. He struck out one and walked none. The Royals finished with just six hits.
One positive: lefty Donnie Joseph worked another scoreless inning in his bid to win a bullpen job. He has allowed one run and three hits in seven innings over seven appearances with 12 strikeouts and no walks.
He did a nice job while facing all right-handed hitters, Yost said. He got through the inning with relative ease. That was a good thing.
The Royals rallied earlier in the day for a 7-5 victory over San Diego, which means they carry a 16-3-1 record into todays game against the Chicago Cubs in Mesa.
Heres todays lineup: CF Jarrod Dyson, 2B Johnny Giavotella, 3B Mike Moustakas, 1B Max Ramirez, RF David Lough, C Brett Hayes, SS Christian Colon, LF Willy Taveras and Chen. No designated hitter.
It was also a bad Friday night for the Royals in Miami, where the USA bowed out of the World Baseball Classic in a 4-3 loss to Puerto Rico.
The USA had the bases loaded with two outs in the eighth inning when Eric Hosmer grounded out to second base. Hosmer and reliever Tim Collins should rejoin the Royals by the end of the weekend.
Four Royals are heading to the WBC semifinals in San Francisco: infielder Irving Falu with Puerto Rico; and infielder Miguel Tejada and relievers Kelvin Herrera and Atahualpa Severino with the Dominican Republic.
Keep those questions coming on twitter to @Royals_Report. Here is todays exchange:
@rotertm24: Is there any chance Hosmer gets sent to AAA this year? I know small sample but hes looked as lost as he was last year in WBC
Sure, theres a chance. A small chance, I think, but theres a chance. I only think that happens if the Royals sense at some point, that his confidence is shot. I dont think theres much for him to learn at Class AAA.
@MagicalFermani: At what point do status quo players lose their starting role? "Hopefully" theyll be better shouldnt be a deciding factor
There is a point, of course, but its rarely in spring training -- if were talking about a clubs regulars. Evaluating players solely on the basis of spring performances, particularly spring stats, is notoriously unreliable.
@AxDxMx: Cant wait til they get shut out on Opening Day, and lose 9 of their first 10.
@mpmcmurtrey: will Hoch get any hi leverage inngs in relief during ST Seems like if his struggles are stretch related that wld be important
He never pitched in the stretch Friday because he had two one-two-three innings, but I get your point. And, yes, Id expect manager Ned Yost to use Luke Hochevar in all sorts of situations over the final two weeks of spring training.
@KCCCK94: David Lough is having an excellent spring, does Dyson have the 4th outfield spot locked down or can Lough beat him out?
Lough is having, I think, the best camp of any position player. Hes making it tough for the Royals to send him back to the minors. That said, I dont think his spot, if he wins one, comes at Jarrod Dysons expense.
Dyson is out of options, and I cant imagine a player with his speed and defensive skills would clear waivers. An injury could open a spot for Lough. Or maybe the Royals choose to take just one utilityman. (I think thats unlikely.)
@dtrain11j: Do you think theres any chance that Will Smith makes a bid for the 5th starter role?
Hes already making a heck of a bid, but Id be surprised, at this point anyway, if that fifth spot doesnt got to Bruce Chen. Now...if an injury creates an opening, I could easily see Smith as first in line.
@DanielSWesley: Rumor has it the #Royals are asking a lot in return to trade Hochevar... any idea what theyre asking for? Is a trade likely?
Id say its more than a rumor. The Royals appear to want a guy who could help the big-league club or a legitimate prospect. Plus, they dont want to eat a lot of Luke Hochevars $4.56 million salary.
At this point, unless they get their price, I think the Royals are quite willing to take a look at Hochevar in the bullpen.
@gillaspiewoods: when players are assigned to minor league camps, do they physically go to another location? Where?
They go to the minor-league clubhouse, which is on the other side of a wall. As you can imagine, its not quite as plush. (Its far from a dump, though.)
@Radthad03: Is tomorrows game at mesa vs cubs a split squad for the royals? I see its televised on WGN....#royalsst
Its a split squad for the Cubs, but not for the Royals. That said, a lot of the regulars who played Friday night against the Dodgers in Glendale are unlikely to make the trip.
@variegatta: Did Davis appear to be pitching w/o pain on Friday?
I didnt see him because that minor-league game took place at the same time as the big-league game against the Padres. I talked to Davis afterward, however, and he said he felt no pain.
I threw everything -- fastball, changeup, cutter, he said. Everything felt really good.
@DaveDarby46: I dont believe Id heard of the baseball term "Loogy" before. Did @Royals_Report make that up?
I absolutely did not make it up. The first person I knew to use it was John Sickels of www.minorleagueball.com. Whether he got it from somewhere else, I dont know.
@57jmac: why all the minor league pitching? Shouldnt they be getting ready for opening day. Seems Ned is baby stepping this.
I dont think so. Wade Davis pitched Friday in a minor-league game because it was his first outing since March 3, and the Royals wanted a controlled environment (three 15-pitch innings).
James Shields is pitching Sunday in a minor-league game because the Royals dont want him to face the Chicago White Sox, who are similarly sending Jose Quintana to a minor-league game.
The teams open the season against one another -- Shields is slotted for the season opener. Neither team wants to give the other an early look at their pitcher.
To reach Bob Dutton, Royals reporter for The Star, send email to email@example.com. Follow his updates at twitter.com/Royals_Report.