Bubba Starling credited a conversation with Hall of Famer George Brett and third baseman Mike Moustakas for starting to feel more comfortable in the big-league camp.
Starling finally got his bat on the ball in two plate appearances Sunday against the Angels. After striking out in his first five major-league spring at-bats, Starling flied out twice to center.
“They told me not to think too much when I go up to the plate,” Starling said. “Just go out and have fun and enjoy playing the same game I’ve played since I was a little guy. I relaxed a little more. The first couple of games I was a little jittery, a little nervous. It’s good to get a couple of games under my belt, and now I can just relax and go out and have fun.”
Starling, the former first-round draft pick from Gardner Edgerton who turned down a scholarship to play quarterback at Nebraska, probably will return to Class A Wilmington or Class AA Northwest Arkansas, depending on how he performs in spring training.
“There are a majority of other things I could be doing right now, but playing baseball is definitely a great opportunity,” Starling said.
Starling drilled the first pitch he saw on Sunday down the left-field line, but it sailed foul. Royals manager Ned Yost said he believes Starling is benefiting from being in major-league camp.
“He had a couple of good at-bats,” Yost said. “It’s more comfort in the environment more than anything else. When you first get here, you get caught up with you’re in big-league camp. Once the games start, and the more you play, you realize it’s the same thing you’ve done all your life. it’s still 60 feet, 6 inches … the bases are still 90 feet and you get more used to playing in the environment and you get more comfortable.”