CHICAGO — Royals pitcher James Shields isnt sure how to react to comments by former teammate Evan Longoria about the better mental state of the Tampa Bay clubhouse.
By BOB DUTTON
The Kansas City Star
Longoria told the Tampa Bay Times that the offseason departures of Shields and now-Atlanta outfielder B.J. Upton provide a benefit in helping the Rays to break with their past.
Its disappointing, Shields said. Im a little bit surprised. Evan is a great player, but I really dont know what hes talking about. I really dont, and Im being honest with you.
Longoria said there was a lot of history with B.J. and Shields and this organization because of their association with the franchise in its Devil Rays days.
Bottom line, Longoria said, we dont have guys in here anymore that knew how it was. Theres no, It was ... It used to be Its all here and now. And what were doing now. And thats the biggest thing.
Longorias comments, Shields said, came as a complete surprise.
I dont know where he was coming from with that, Shields said, but, frankly, I really dont care. Im more worried about the Kansas City Royals, and what were doing here.
I felt my time in Tampa Bay was a good time. I felt my leadership over there was sufficient. But Im moving on. This is my team over here.
The Royals acquired Shields, pitcher Wade Davis and utilityman Elliot Johnson from the Rays in a Dec. 9 trade for outfielder Wil Myers, pitchers Jake Odorizzi and Mike Montgomery and third baseman Patrick Leonard.
Upton departed as a free agent when he signed with Atlanta.
Im not really too worried, Shields said, about what theyre doing over there in that clubhouse and how they feel about me. I had a great time over there when I was there.
If you ask any of the coaching staff, front-office members or any (other) players in that clubhouse, theyll tell you different (from what Longoria said).
Royals pitcher Ervin Santana shrugged off Chicagos three homers.
I dont know, he said. The best pitcher in the league gave up three homers on opening day. This is baseball. Anything can happen.
Pressed to identify the best pitcher, Santana said, Cole Hamels. And, yes, the Phillies lefty yielded three homers Monday in a 7-5 loss to Atlanta.
Someone will have to sit, obviously, this weekend when the Royals must play three games in Philadelphia without the designated hitter. Who that will be is yet to be determined.
Of course, Ive thought about it, manager Ned Yost said, but I dont know what Im going to do yet. Were still evaluating. Weve got a righty and two lefties there. Well see how it goes.
The projected pitching matchups have the Royals facing right-hander Kyle Kendrick on Friday before getting lefties John Lannan and Cole Hamels on Saturday and Sunday.
The Royals will have $8,290,700 to spend on their 11 picks in the first 10 rounds of the 2013 draft, according to figures obtained by Baseball America. They were allotted $6,101,500 for 10 picks in 2012.
All teams are allotted accumulative slotted amounts for all picks through the first 10 rounds under provision of the current labor agreement. Penalties exist, including the loss of picks in future years, for exceeding the limit.
Clubs are also subject to penalties for bonuses exceeding $100,000 for any player drafted after the 10th round.
Failure to sign a player selected in the first 10 rounds results in that slotted amount being deducted from a clubs overall pool.
The pools are adjusted each year. Baseball America reported the 2013 pool represents an 8.2 percent overall increase over 2012.
The Royals have the eighth overall pick in the June draft but also have first pick in the new lottery round conducted immediately after the first round. The 10 clubs with the lowest revenues are eligible for lottery picks.
Thursday is opening day for three of the Royals four full-season affiliates:
Class AAA Omaha is at Round Rock (Rangers).
Class AA Northwest Arkansas plays host to Midland (As).
Lo-A Lexington plays at Augusta (Giants). It will be the Legends first game as a Royals affiliate.
Hi-A Wilmington opens Friday at Myrtle Beach (Rangers).
Looking back I
It was seven year ago Thursday April 4, 2006 that voters in Jackson County approved a 3/8-cent sales tax levy to underwrite a $225 million renovation-and-expansion project to Kauffman Stadium.
The project was completed in time for the start of the 2009 season.
Looking back II
It was 29 years ago Thursday April 4, 1984 that pitcher Bret Saberhagen became the youngest Royals player to make his major-league debut.
Saberhagen was 19 years, 359 days old when he pitched 4 2/3 innings in a 4-3 loss to the Yankees at then-Royals Stadium.