SURPRISE, Ariz. — Anyone wanting to get a look at the Royals, and assess their spring success, gets that chance tonight when Fox Sports Kansas City offers its first live spring telecast.
By BOB DUTTON
The Kansas City Star
If all goes as scheduled, viewers will see a matchup between Wade Davis, one of the Royals new rotation acquisitions, and former Royals Cy Young winner Zack Greinke, who is now with the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Luke Hochevar is also scheduled for a relief appearance in the game, which starts at 8:05 p.m. Central time at Surprise Stadium. Hochevar has four scoreless innings in three appearances since his shift to the bullpen.
Ill tweet the lineups later when they become available.
FSKC will also carry the Wednesday night game against the Chicago Cubs at Surprise Stadium. Same time: 8:05 p.m. Central.
The Royals carry a 21-6-1 record into tonights game, which gave them a 3 ½-game lead over second-place Seattle in the Cactus League standings prior to Mondays game.
Some positional battles remain undecided just four days left before the club breaks camp after Fridays game against Cleveland in Surprise.
Club officials are taking a harder look at the choice between Bruce Chen and Luis Mendoza for the final rotation spot. Chen was a heavy favorite after Hochevar went to the bullpen, but Mendoza has been far better this spring.
The decision might hinge on who pitches better in his final start. Chen goes Tuesday against the Mariners in Peoria, while Mendoza pitches Wednesday against the Brewers in Maryvale.
The loser will serve as the bullpens long reliever.
The Royals must also choose between Brett Hayes and George Kottaras as the backup to starting catcher Salvy Perez and sift through several candidates for the final spot in the bullpen.
Keep those questions coming through the week on Twitter to @Royals_Report. Here is todays exchange:
@blamberty: Doesn't Kottaras-Hayes come down to Off vs. Def/Intangibles? When was the last time KC picked the former over the latter?
It could but, based on what Ive seen this spring, theres not a lot of difference between George Kottaras and Brett Hayes when it comes to defense. Hayes entered camp with the better defensive reputation.
Its a tough call. The sense I get is club officials are split.
@prildp: What kind of a chance does Joseph have in making the team. I don't know what more he could have done this spring.
Donnie Joseph is certainly in the mix, but another situational lefty -- Francisley Bueno -- has also been very good. Dan Wheeler hasnt allowed a run in nine appearances, and Louis Coleman is closing strong.
The inventory choice remains J.C. Gutierrez, who is the only candidate who is out of options and not in camp on a minor-league deal.
@BigCat1986: how are we going to be able to play gio, colon, and falu in triple a without someone missing time? Especially if wood is 3b?
There is an infield logjam looming at Class AAA Omaha. I need to check again with some people, but my guess is Johnny Giavotella has top priority. Hell likely play primarily at second but could draw time in the outfield.
Next, I think would be Christian Colon, who I suspect will see a lot of time at short, some at third and spell Giavotella at second. Brandon Wood is a third baseman but could play first and the outfield.
Irving Falu is a legitimate utility guy who can play all over. He might wind up in the outfield a lot.
@Dharmabum1974: when's spring training gonna finally be over? #Royals
The Royals break camp after Fridays game against Cleveland at Surprise Stadium. They fly to Chicago, have the day off on Saturday and will work out Sunday at U.S. Cellular Field.
The regular season opens a week from today at 3:10 p.m.
@GordonBOPS: Is Hosmer still pull happy?
Not that Ive seen.
@thetimcarson: Should/would the Royals be interested in Freddy Garcia for depth?
Havent heard that they are. Dont know why they would be.
@zmiddleton23: What does the team need to do in the regular season to continue its preseason success?
Do what theyre doing down here: pitch well, hit a bunch and play good defense. Who knows how much it means, if anything, but the Royals have done everything really well in spring training.
@randywatt: should the royals try to trade giavotella? It seems like he will just stay in the minors.
Are they willing to trade Johnny Giavotella? Sure. For the right price. But I dont know why theyd look to trade him. Hes the best in-house replacement option if something happens to Chris Getz.
Plus, Gio is just 25. Its way too early to give up on him.
@Alan_Covington: Hearing anything about trade talks concerning Hochevar or Chen?
Come on. If I heard something, I wouldnt be keeping it to myself. But as Ive written recently, the vibe Im getting is the Royals, at least right now, have little to no interest in trading Luke Hochevar.
I think the Royals are willing to listen to offers for Bruce Chen, but theyre not likely to eat any of his $4.5 million salary, and theyd want something of value in return.
Theres nothing wrong with having depth.
@RSmithInc: Yanks will take V.Wells instead of Frenchy?.
One big difference: The Angels were looking to dump Vernon Wells because they had better in-house alternative. The Royals arent looking to dump Jeff Francoeur because they dont believe they do.
@davidwlowe: Bob, if the Star is going to charge for reading web articles, how about they give you a credit when you FB or tweet a story?
They do. Every two weeks.
To reach Bob Dutton, Royals reporter for The Star, send email to email@example.com. Follow his updates at twitter.com/Royals_Report.