Royals pitchers face live hitters for first time this spring

02/17/2014 4:18 PM

02/17/2014 4:18 PM

During the tedium of spring training, the first session of live batting practice feels like an event. The prospect of actual pitchers facing actual hitters tantalizes, especially after the long winter without baseball.

In reality, the pitchers are merely aiming to remain healthy and avoid plunking their counterparts. The hitters are minor-leaguers. Swings are a rarity. The exercise stretches the definition of both “batting practice” and “life.”

As the Royals came off the field on Monday, fresh off live batting practice, manager Ned Yost declined to place much importance on the endeavor.

“I mean, it’s B.P.,” Yost said. “We’re working ourselves into a competitive shape. So nothing’s going to stand out. Every day, we just make sure everybody gets through it good and healthy.”

They accomplished that goal on Monday. The team has yet to experience an injury here at camp, Yost said.

The team is easing into the competitive aspect of this camp. In years past, the pitchers threw batting practice during the first official workout. For 2014, they delayed the milestone by two days. Both Yost and pitching coach Dave Eiland have spoken about how their players are now more seasoned, more capable of preparing themselves for the lengthy season ahead.

All four prime candidates for the final spot in the rotation threw. Yordano Ventura followed Danny Duffy on one field. Wade Davis and Luke Hochevar took the mound on another. Yost stressed there was still “a lot of water to go under the bridge,” as far as determining roles.

“Through spring training, we will watch, we will evaluate and we will decide at the end of spring what exactly is our best bullpen, or our best pitching staff,” he said. “And then make those adjustments and go from there.”

Royals claim outfielder

In a slight roster tweak, the Royals claimed outfielder Jimmy Paredes off the waiver wire. To make room on the 40-man roster, the team designated reliever Maikel Cleto for assignment.

Paredes, 25, has also played second base and third base. He has appeared in 118 games with Houston these past three seasons. He posted a .585 on-base plus slugging percentage in 396 at-bats.

The Royals view Paredes as more of an outfielder than an infielder, Yost explained. He noticed the athleticism while Paredes as an Astro. “His versatility is good for him,” Yost said.

It’s been a busy winter for Paredes. Miami plucked him off waivers in November. Just two days ago, Baltimore claimed him and subsequent designated him for assignment, too. For now, he’s a Royal.

Zimmer not throwing yet

Pitching prospect Kyle Zimmer says he is still at least a week away from beginning his throwing program. The Royals intend for Zimmer to throw no more than 150 innings this season. They are delaying his start to utilize those innings during the latter half of the season.

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