Opinion

Royals’ Alex Rios, Brett Eibner keep up the power surge

Brett Eibner, a non-roster invitee who has clubbed two home runs in four at-bats, is hitting .750 with four RBIs and has a 3.050 slugging percentage.
Brett Eibner, a non-roster invitee who has clubbed two home runs in four at-bats, is hitting .750 with four RBIs and has a 3.050 slugging percentage. The Kansas City Star

Power numbers in the Cactus League need to be tempered because of the ball carries so well in the dry, light air.

But, the Royals have flexed their muscles in the first three exhibition games, especially newly acquired outfielder Alex Rios and rookie outfielder Brett Eibner.

In three games, Rios is five for seven with two home runs, two doubles, six RBIs, a .714 batting average and a 1.857 slugging percentage.

Eibner, a non-roster invitee who has clubbed two home runs in four at-bats, is hitting .750 with four RBIs and has a 3.050 slugging percentage.

“We talked about Rios being healthy this year is going to be a key for him,” Royals manager Ned Yost said. “They made a lot of noise about him during the off-season about his four home runs last year. I think his thumb has had to do a lot to do with it, obviously.

“We see he still has his power, he still has the ability to drive the ball in the gap. He’s going to be good for us.”

Eibner hit double-digit home runs in each of his first three minor-league stops, including 19 at Class AA Arkansas in 2013. He hit seven in 74 games at Omaha last season.

Yost has always been a fan of Eibner, who has made steady progression through the system after being taken in the second round of the 2010 draft out of the University of Arkansas.

“He’s always been impressive to me,” Yost said. “There are certain kids who come as backups and certain kids who come from the minor-league camp to play, and he’s always played good for me, and this spring is no different.”

To reach Randy Covitz, call 816-234-4796 or send email to rcovitz@kcstar.com. Follow him on Twitter: @randycovitz.

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