Royals

Cheslor Cuthbert sparks Royals with glove, bat in 6-2 victory over Padres

Kansas City Royals first baseman Cheslor Cuthbert smiled while sitting next to first base after his 3-6-3 double play in the fourth inning during Wednesday's spring training baseball game against the San Diego Padres in Surprise, Arizona.
Kansas City Royals first baseman Cheslor Cuthbert smiled while sitting next to first base after his 3-6-3 double play in the fourth inning during Wednesday's spring training baseball game against the San Diego Padres in Surprise, Arizona. jsleezer@kcstar.com

Cheslor Cuthbert is a third baseman who spent much of this spring training trying to prove he can play second base.

Oh, he can apparently play first pretty well, too.

Cuthbert started at first base and turned in the defensive moment of the day in a 6-2 victory over the San Diego Padres on Wednesday at Surprise Stadium. In the top of the fourth, with a runner at first and nobody out, Padres shortstop Erick Aybar pounded a high chopper to first base. Cuthbert leapt into the air, started a double play with an accurate throw to second, then finished it by doing the splits on an athletic stretch, nailing Aybar by a step.

“That’s why we feel like he can play almost anywhere in the infield,” Royals manager Ned Yost said.

Cuthbert also finished 2 for 3 and clubbed his first homer of the spring. The production supported starting pitcher Nathan Karns, who turned in six scoreless innings and nine strikeouts. The Royals moved to 13-12 in Cactus League play.

In the moments after the victory, Cuthbert said he preferred the defensive highlight to the homer, though each moment was nice. In the final weeks of camp, Cuthbert appears a safe bet to make the 25-man roster, given that he is out of options and would have to be placed on waivers in order to be sent to Class AAA Omaha. Still, his exact role is to be determined. Cuthbert will back up Mike Moustakas at third base. He could also log some time at second. He also proved yet again on Wednesday that he can play first base if need be.

“Just try to keep calm,” Cuthbert said of the double play. “Just try to catch the ball first and make a good throw.”

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The Arms

In his fifth start of the spring, Karns held the Padres in check for six innings, continuing the Royals’ run of solid starting pitching.

On Sunday, Ian Kennedy threw six scoreless innings against the Chicago Cubs. Jason Hammel followed that up by allowing just one earned run in 5 1/3 innings against the Reds on Monday. After a solid outing from Jason Vargas on Tuesday, Karns struck out nine while allowing just four hits.

The performance came just one day after Karns was named the Royals’ fifth starter.

“He was sharp,” Royals manager Ned Yost said. “We really wanted to try to get him up to around the 90-pitch mark. But I think he got out of there at 74 after six. Just sharp.”

Kansas City Royals pitcher Nathan Karns was chosen the fifth starter for the 2017 season by manager Ned Yost.

Left-hander Mike Minor threw a scoreless inning with two strikeouts and lowered his spring ERA to 0.90. Kelvin Herrera allowed a run and three hits while striking out two.

Herrera has allowed runs in each of his last two appearances, but Yost chalked part of that up to pitch selection. Herrera has been heavy on the fastball in his last two outings. In each appearance, he has faced mostly minor-leaguers.

“They’re looking first-pitch fastball,” Yost said. “And he’s giving it to them. So you start mixing some stuff early, he’s fine.”

The Regular Guys

Third baseman Mike Moustakas drilled his fourth homer of the spring in the second inning, hammering a shot to center field. Brandon Moss finished 1 for 3 with two strikeouts.

The Young Guys

Jorge Soler and Raul Mondesi spent the day getting extra at-bats in minor-league games. Soler hit a homer, while Mondesi, a switch-hitter, was set to hit right-handed against left-handed pitching.

ROYALS 6, PADRES 2

San Diego

AB

R

H

BI

W

K

Avg.

Jankowski cf

3

0

2

0

0

1

.383

E.Moreno cf

1

0

0

0

0

1

.500

E.Aybar ss

4

0

1

1

0

0

.293

Solarte 2b

3

0

1

0

0

1

.200

Coleman 2b

1

0

0

0

0

1

.233

J.Blash rf

3

1

1

0

0

2

.244

To.Cruz ph

1

0

0

0

0

1

.200

A.Hedges c

2

0

0

0

0

1

.310

Sanchez ph

1

0

0

0

0

1

.276

J.Romak 3b

1

0

0

0

0

0

.211

Spangenberg 3b

3

0

2

1

0

1

.306

N.Scuhlz rf

1

0

0

0

0

1

.250

Wallace 1b

3

0

0

0

0

1

.156

Cordoba lf

3

1

1

0

0

2

.170

C.Fsher rp

1

0

0

0

0

1

.000

Torrens ph

2

0

1

0

0

0

.154

Totals

33

2

9

2

0

15

 

TableStyle: SP-basebattersCCI Template: SP-basebatters

Kansas City

AB

R

H

BI

W

K

Avg.

Orlando cf

3

1

0

0

0

1

.256

Gore cf

0

0

0

0

0

0

.214

Moustakas 3b

4

1

1

1

0

1

.205

A.Gordon rf

3

0

0

0

0

2

.356

S.Perez dh

3

1

0

0

0

0

.333

Br.Moss lf

3

1

1

1

0

2

.231

B.Burns lf

1

0

0

0

0

0

.237

Cuthbert 1b

3

2

2

3

0

0

.240

Merrifield 2b

2

0

1

1

1

0

.298

D.Burt 2b

1

0

0

0

0

0

.333

C.Colon ss

3

0

0

0

0

0

.279

Arteaga ss

1

0

0

0

0

1

.242

D.Butera c

2

0

1

0

1

0

.118

Totals

29

6

6

6

2

7

 

TableStyle: SP-basebyinningsCCI Template: SP-basebyinnings

San Diego

000

000

110

2

9

0

Kansas City

410

001

00x

6

6

0

DP: San Diego 1, Kansas City 1. LOB: San Diego 4, Kansas City 5. 2B: Blash (1), Spangenberg 2 (5), Moss (1), Cuthbert (4), Butera (1). HR: Moustakas (4), Cuthbert (1). SB: Merrifield (5). CS: Spangenberg (3), Torrens (1).

TableStyle: SP-basepitchersCCI Template: SP-basepitchers

San Diego

IP

H

R

ER

W

K

ERA

Wingenter

1

0

0

0

0

0

10.13

Hand

1

0

0

0

0

1

5.40

Buchter

1

1

1

1

2

1

1.42

Weaver L, 1-1

0.2

3

4

4

0

2

3.00

Fisher

2

1

1

1

0

2

1.80

Bethancourt

1.1

1

0

0

0

0

0.00

Maurer

1

0

0

0

0

1

0.00

TableStyle: SP-basepitchersCCI Template: SP-basepitchers

Kansas City

IP

H

R

ER

W

K

ERA

Karns W, 2-2

6

4

0

0

0

9

4.76

Wood

1

2

1

1

0

2

4.40

Herrera

1

3

1

1

0

2

4.50

Minor

1

0

0

0

0

2

0.90

HBP: by Wingenter (Orlando), Hand (Gordon), Weaver (Perez). Balk: Bethancourt. Umpires: Home, Charlie Ramos; First, Jim Wolf; Second, John Tumpane; Third, Travis Eggert. Time: 2:39. Att: 5,809.

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