A miserable spring for rookie Brandon Finnegan continued as he yielded a walk-off, two-run homer to White Sox prospect Courtney Hawkins in a 6-4 Royals loss.
Hawkins tormented two of the team’s left-handed relievers on Saturday. Franklin Morales suffered his first serious hiccup of the spring. After yielding an RBI single to outfielder Adam Eaton, Morales served up a two-run home run to Hawkins.
After a strong start to the spring, Morales has looked more vulnerable in his last two outings. Meanwhile, Finnegan saw his Cactus League ERA rise to 8.53. He broke down in his second inning of work.
“He got that ball up,” manager Ned Yost said. “That kid hit two homers today. Two fastballs up in the zone.”
Brett Eibner continued his scorching spring by swatting a solo homer. Eibner opened the scoring with a second-inning shot off Brad Penny. In a cruel twist that mirrors his checkered minor-league career, Eibner left the game due to a bruised left foot after he pulled up lame running to first base in the fourth inning.
Erik Kratz contributed a pair of hits. He walloped a two-run homer in the fifth inning. He also singled and came around to score on a wild pitch by Penny in the third.
Penny spent spring training in 2014 with the Royals. He dueled on Saturday with a player in a similar position in 2015: Joe Blanton, a non-roster invitee looking for re-entry into the major leagues.
“I just keep trying to figure mechanics out and get my timing back and string pitches together,” Blanton said.
Blanton logged 4 2/3 innings with plenty of traffic on the bases. He gave up one run after scattering six hits. Brian Flynn replaced him and picked up four outs.