It’s not a misprint, Royals fans.
By TOD PALMER
The Kansas City Star
Entering Tuesday, the club ranked first in the American League with a 3.49 ERA, a fraction of a run ahead of Texas (3.56) and Detroit (3.58).
General manager Dayton Moore took great pains to remake a rotation that combined for a 5.01 ERA in 2012 — apparently with great success.
“I didn’t know that we were leading the league, but with (James) Shields at the top of the rotation with Ervin (Santana) and (Jeremy) Guthrie, it doesn’t really surprise me with how good those guys are throwing,” said reliever Aaron Crow, who preserved Monday’s win by striking out Miguel Cabrera with two runners aboard in the seventh.
The club record for ERA is 3.21 in 1976. The last time the Royals finished with an ERA below 3.50 for a season was 1985.
“I’m proud of our pitchers and I’m proud of the body of work that they’ve put forth so far,” manager Ned Yost said. “Being atop the American League in ERA states how good our pitching is.”
One day after signing first-round pick Hunter Dozier, the club Tuesday announced that it had come to terms with 17 other draft choices, including second-round pick Cody Reed.
Reed — a 6-foot-5, 220-pound sophomore lefthander from Northwest Mississippi Community College — was 8-3 with a 2.39 ERA and 96 strikeouts in 731/3 innings. He signed for slot value, which at No. 46 overall is $1,198,500.
The Royals also signed Kevin Kuntz, son of first-base coach Rusty Kuntz. Kevin, a shortstop from Kansas, was selected in the 28th round.
“I’m mostly just grateful the Royals took a chance on him and gave him an opportunity to live out a boyhood dream,” Rusty Kuntz said. “He always wanted to be a professional baseball player.”
Among the other Royals signings were sixth-round selection Luke Farrell, a right-hander from Northwestern and son of Red Sox manager John Farrell, and 12th-round pick Brandon Dulin, a Lee’s Summit native and former Longview Community College first baseman.
The other signings announced by the club: Amalani FukoFuka (CF, fifth round), Daniel Rockett (OF, ninth), Jonathan Dziedzic (LHP, 13th), Chase Darhower (RHP, 14th), Dominique Taylor (CF, 15th), Kevin McCarthy (RHP, 16th), Kevin Perez (RHP, 17th), Frank Schwindel (C, 18th), Glenn Sparkman (RHP, 20th), Andrew Brockett (RHP, 22nd), Riley King (CF, 24th), Alex Black (RHP, 29th) and Andrew Ayers (2B, 30th).
‘Tribute for Heroes’
The three Royals finalists — Abel Ramos, James Rash and Clayton Zupon — for Major League Baseball and People magazine’s “Tribute for Heroes” campaign to honor military veterans and service members were announced Tuesday.
Ramos, who serves as assistant director of operations for the 303rd Fighter Squadron at Whiteman Air Force Base, spent childhood summers in Texas as a migrant worker before attending the United States Air Force Academy. He became an A-10 Thunderbolt II pilot and has been deployed to Iraq three times and flown more than 100 combat sorties.
Rash, a native of Galt, Mo., received numerous medals, including two Joint Service Commendation Medals, for his service during the Vietnam War. He later worked for the U.S. Secret Service before enjoying a second career with Hughes Aircraft.
Zupon passed on potential baseball scholarships to join the Marines. During his second deployment to the Middle East, doctors discovered tumors in his brain and spine, giving the single father of a 2-year-old son 12 months to live. That was three years ago.
Fans are encouraged to go to TributeForHeroes.com and vote for their favorite stories through June 30. One winner from each club will be included in the All-Star Week festivities and recognized in a ceremony July 16 before the 2013 All-Star Game at Citi Field in New York.
Paulino pitches in AA
Felipe Paulino started his rehab stint with a no-decision Tuesday at Class AA Northwest Arkansas.
Paulino, who was injured June 6 last year and had Tommy John surgery July 3, struck out six and scattered two hits and two walks in five innings.
He had a no-hitter through four innings and threw 67 pitches, including 42 strikes.
• Yordano Ventura struggled in his second start in Class AAA.
Ventura took the loss for the Omaha Storm Chasers, allowing five runs and eight hits with two walks in 42/3 innings.
Another ratings record
The Royals’ 3-2 win Monday against Detroit set a Fox Sports Kansas City ratings record .
The victory, the Royals’ sixth in a row, drew an 8.1 household rating, according to Nielsen Media Research, and peaked at 10.6 (roughly 98,000 homes) between 9 and 9:15 p.m.
It was the highest rated primetime program in Kansas City.
The previous record for a Fox Sports KC telecast was the 7.9 rating April 28 during the first game of a doubleheader with Cleveland.