While Royals pitchers and catchers officially reported to spring training in Surprise, Ariz., on Monday and the full squad reported today, most of the players have been here throughout the week, working out and going through drills.
Manager Ned Yost started Thursday by discussing new utility man Elliot Johnson. Yost called him a "super utility player" who can play second, short, third and some first.
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Yost also discussed how pitcher John Lamb is progressing after undergoing Tommy John surgery. Lamb showed up to camp in great shape, and Yost said he's been impressed with his strict conditioning. He was also impressed with Lamb's first BP throwing session on Wednesday.
"He threw his first BP yesterday and threw the ball really, really well," Yost said. "He's a very, very good pitcher, and we want him to get on track."
After their morning stretch, the Royals split up among position players, pitchers and catchers at multiple fields. While the position players went through BP, the pitchers were doing PFP -- Pitchers' Fielding Practice. A coach rolled the ball to the mound while James Shields, Ervin Santana, Jeremy Guthrie and others tried to field it cleanly and throw to first. In addition to being the new staff ace, Shields looks like a pretty good defender as well.
The pitchers then switched fields to work on something they don't do much, at least in the American League -- bunting. But ever the competitors, they turned bunting drills into a game. They divided into two teams and would get points when their bunt hit a bucket hear the mound. Last I checked, Aaron Crow's bunting team was in the lead.
As the players were heading in for the day, I caught up with catcher Salvy Perez. He said he feels great and is excited to play for Venezuela in the World Baseball Classic in early March. Perez is going to join me Friday afternoon and answer your questions during a live web chat. Stay tuned at KansasCity.com for more chat details tomorrow.
-- Nicole Poell, The Star