Royals pitcher James Shields isn’t sure how to react to comments by former teammate Evan Longoria about the “better mental state” of the Tampa Bay clubhouse.
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.
“It’s disappointing,” Shields said. “I’m a little bit surprised. Evan is a great player, but I really don’t know what he’s talking about. I really don’t, and I’m 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 don’t have guys in here anymore that knew how it was. There’s no, ‘It was ... It used to be’ It’s all here and now. And what we’re doing now. And that’s the biggest thing.”
Longoria’s comments, Shields said, came as a complete surprise.
“I don’t know where he was coming from with that,” Shields said, “but, frankly, I really don’t care. I’m more worried about the Kansas City Royals, and what we’re doing here.
“I felt my time in Tampa Bay was a good time. I felt my leadership over there was sufficient. But I’m 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.
“I’m not really too worried,” Shields said, “about what they’re 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, they’ll tell you different (from what Longoria said).”Three-homer club
Royals pitcher Ervin Santana shrugged off Chicago’s three homers.
“I don’t 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.‘Still evaluating’
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, I’ve thought about it,” manager Ned Yost said, “but I don’t know what I’m going to do yet. We’re still evaluating. We’ve got a righty and two lefties there. We’ll 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.Draft money
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 club’s 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.Minor details
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 (A’s).
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.