Blue Jays second baseman Devon Travis offered a harsh greeting to the Royals’ pitching staff this week, homering twice on Friday night and once again on Saturday. Royals first baseman Eric Hosmer needed no introduction.
Hosmer and Travis grew up as little league opponents outside Miami, playing games on the fields of south Florida. Hosmer was the power-hitting standout. Travis was the tiny infielder playing a grade up.
“He was the smallest guy on the field, hitting ninth,” Hosmer said. “And they would just stick him out in the field, and it’s funny. His dad was the coach and we played against each other so long, we got to know each other.”
Travis, a 25-year-old native of Palm Beach, Fla., entered Sunday batting .294 with 10 homers and 14 doubles during his second major-league season. He attended Florida State before being drafted in the 13th round by Detroit in 2012. He was traded to Toronto for outfielder Anthony Gose after the 2014 season.
“He went off to Florida State, and before you know it, he’s in the big leagues with Toronto,” Hosmer said. “And I didn’t realize it was the same guy. Just to see the way he’s playing the game now, he’s doing everything the right way.”
Kennedy recalls playing with A-Rod
The retirement announcement of Alex Rodriguez on Sunday sparked a flurry of reactions, memories and nostalgia all across baseball.
Rodriguez can act as a lightning rod in baseball circles, but Royals starter Ian Kennedy recalled his own days as Rodriguez’s teammate with the New York Yankees. Kennedy debuted in New York in 2007, the same season Rodriguez captured his third Most Valuable Player award. Kennedy remembered a veteran teammate who was willing to share his wisdom and knowledge with the team’s young pitchers.
“Just having his presence,” Kennedy said, “how he prepared for games, how he studied. He was really good. But he also was a very smart player and he helped us out. He tried helping us as much as he could.”
Kennedy said Rodriguez would talk about specific at-bats, running through his thought process on each count.
“Derek Jeter was just so talented — he prepared,” Kennedy said. “But it was a different way. Alex would try to nitpick things. He knew what guys’ tendencies were. He knew what teams did. He would try to pass that along to his teammates.”