The Kansas City Royals finished April at 15-7 and atop the American League Central. They trounced Detroit on Thursday night to claim first place. At least for a day, as the two clubs will play three more games this weekend.
It’s been a fascinating month, ripe with subplots, suspensions and storylines worth following. Let’s get to a few questions in our weekly Royals mailbag.
No one questions Escobar’s toughness. You need to be durable to play 162 games at shortstop.
But Foley is Foley. And Foley is good.
1. “Cactus Jack is dead!” Jim Cornette screams after Jack lands on the floor.
2. “If he powerbombs him here, Jesse, he’ll kill him,” Tony Schiavone says before Vader does just that.
3. Vince McMahon says something unintelligible before Mankind falls head-first into a table.
And I didn’t even include anything from Hell in a Cell.
It’s May. The trade deadline is July 31. In general, teams do not begin having serious discussions about trades until the end of June. If the Royals rotation remains shaky, as it did before Danny Duffy’s outing on Thursday, the team will be in the market for a starter. It is unclear if they have the financial wherewithal to acquire a pitcher like Cole Hamels. It is also unclear if Johnny Cueto will be on the market.
Check back with me in a month.
This is your weekly reminder that it is too early to say definitively who Luke Hochevar will replace when he leaves the disabled list. Yost intimated the club would wait until Hochevar had used all 30 days of his rehabilitation assignment before the team brought him. That deadline is still more than a week away.
So the circumstances of the bullpen could shift in a hurry. But, for right now, it’s reasonable to expect that Hochevar could replace southpaw Brandon Finnegan, who admitted he was rattled on Tuesday night. Finnegan was being groomed as a starter in the minors. His command was shaky all spring and his performance on Tuesday raised eyebrows. He looked more comfortable in Thursday’s romp over the Tigers.
Another weekly reminder: The team cannot determine how to use Kris Medlen until they see how he performs in rehabilitation outings. He is leaving for Surprise to face hitters next week, as we mentioned a couple weeks ago.
The most likely scenario would involve him working as a reliever. But it all depends on the combination of his readiness and the performance of starters like Jeremy Guthrie and Jason Vargas. And, if one of those two falters, Chris Young is around as an insurance policy.
I do not foresee the team using a six-man rotation. Maybe for a turn, or two, they will try it. But it is way too far in advance to speculate.
A few predictions:
1. The game is in Cincinnati, so I will eat dinner at the home of C. Trent Rosecrans, and many references to Bryan Price’s rant will be made.
2. At some point, I’ll give a high-five to Mark Bowman of MLB.com.
3. Mike Trout will play for the American League team. Andrew McCutchen will play for the National League team.
4. Ned Yost will be joined by several Royals: Salvador Perez, Wade Davis, Alex Gordon, Lorenzo Cain and Mike Moustakas.
I never want to say there is a zero-percent chance something happens, but this is close to a zero-percent chance. This is like less than 0.01 percent.
To recap: Sean Manaea strained an abdominal muscle during spring training. He has yet to leave extended spring training. Assistant general manager Scott Sharp said on Thursday the hope is he breaks camp by the end of May. Even then, Manaea is considered raw and in need of polish.
As for Zimmer, he is still slated to join Class AA Northwest Arkansas on May 10. He has been recovering from shoulder surgery in extended spring training. The club is going to move him very slowly this season. He could arrive in September, but only if he remains healthy for the entire season — and that’s something he has never done as a professional.
“You know, Kendall told me a story once…” Actually, that is not a made-up saying. That is something he says every day.
My dad was a contractor. I wrote this story about him two years ago.
If you are given the option between Sheetz or Wawa, and you choose Sheetz, there is something wrong with you. I spent three weeks back in Pennsylvania around Christmas last year, and I ate at Wawa about 15 times. It is the greatest place on Earth.