Royals

Royals fall to Rangers 5-3 in exhibition finale, turn focus toward opening day

Rangers shortstop Elvis Andrus (1) scores a run as Royals catcher Salvador Perez (13) fails to control the ball at home during the second inning of an exhibition baseball game Saturday in Arlington, Texas.
Rangers shortstop Elvis Andrus (1) scores a run as Royals catcher Salvador Perez (13) fails to control the ball at home during the second inning of an exhibition baseball game Saturday in Arlington, Texas. AP

Inside a clubhouse at Globe Life Park, a playlist of 90s alt-rock pulsed through a stereo system on Saturday morning. All around the room, baseball players began their work day.

Kelvin Herrera gripped the handles of a foosball table in the middle of the room. Eric Hosmer carried a bat toward the stadium’s indoor batting cage. Christian Colon sat in the corner of the room, chatting with reliever Joakim Soria.

The scene, frankly, could have occurred on any morning or afternoon during the regular season. But on a Saturday in Texas, the Royals celebrated the final day of spring training.

They concluded their exhibition schedule with a 5-3 loss to the Texas Rangers. Manager Ned Yost could feel relief after maneuvering through a sprin with no serious injuries. The team prepped for a charter flight bound for Minnesota, where the quest for another postseason appearance will begin.

Right-hander Jason Hammel agreed to a two-year contract with the Kansas City Royals after a successful stint with the Chicago Cubs.

“Everything went the way I wanted it to,” Yost said. “Because you want to go into spring training having nobody get hurt, and having guys ready for opening day. We’ve done that. We’re in good shape.”

The Royals will spend the next 36 hours setting their 25-man roster and making any final tweaks before starting the season against the Minnesota Twins at 3:10 p.m. Monday. The team must fill out its bench and complete its bullpen, likely adding reliever Peter Moylan to the 40-man roster. They must also place outfielder Jorge Soler, the only minor injury casualty, on the 10-day disabled list after an oblique strain last Sunday.

But first, the club had to survive one final dry run in Texas. It was, in some ways, pretty anticlimactic. Starting pitcher Jason Hammel stumbled against a talented Rangers lineup, allowing five runs (four earned) in two innings. The Royals’ offense was quiet again, scoring one run in the fifth on a solo shot from Drew Butera and two in the ninth on a double from Brayan Pena. The homer landed in the seats in left field and ended a drought of 22 innings without a run — all against the Rangers. Most of the Royals’ regulars exited after five innings.

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“Everybody is dying to get the season going,” Yost said. “The end of spring training is the end of spring training. It’s not a whole lot of fun. You’re just dying to get somewhere and start playing for real — where it counts.”

In his final appearance of the spring, Hammel was hindered by a lack of command with his fastball and secondary pitches. He pitched up in the zone for most of his outing. He paid the price in the second inning as the Rangers struck for four runs.

“I would have liked to end it a little bit better than that,” Hammel said. “But it’s spring training. I’d rather get those ones out here than in the season.”

Even after the shaky performance, Hammel felt positive about his first spring with the Royals, he said. He acclimated to a new team after signing a two-year deal in the offseason. He worked on his changeup. After spending 2016 at the back end of the Cubs’ rotation, he will slot third in the Royals’ five-man unit, opening his season Thursday in Minnesota.

“I guess I had April Fools’ Day today,” Hammel said. “I guess I’m making sure I get those long innings out of the way.”

In the Kansas City rotation, Hammel will pitch in front of left-hander Jason Vargas, who finished his spring by striking out four hitters across three scoreless innings of relief on Saturday. Vargas stretched his pitch count to 50 while allowing two hits. He will now have five days off before opening a road series against the Houston Astros on Friday.

For the Royals, the Vargas performance was a bright spot. In the big picture, it still meant little. After seven weeks of spring camp and exhibition baseball, they are now ready for a contest that counts.

RANGERS 5, ROYALS 3

Kansas City AB

R

H

BI

BB

SO

Avg.

A.Gordon lf

2

0

0

0

0

0

.323

Lo.Moon lf

1

0

0

0

1

0

.000

Moustakas 3b

2

0

0

0

0

1

.197

Cuthbert 3b

2

1

0

0

0

0

.239

Lo.Cain cf

1

0

0

0

1

0

.261

B.Burns cf

1

1

0

0

1

0

.227

E.Hosmer 1b

2

0

0

0

0

0

.172

Br.Pena 1b

2

0

2

2

0

0

.469

S.Perez c

1

0

0

0

0

0

.176

D.Butera c

2

1

1

1

0

0

.235

Z.Evans c

1

0

0

0

0

0

.200

Br.Moss dh

3

0

0

0

0

1

.267

Arteaga ph

1

0

0

0

0

0

.195

Orlando rf

2

0

1

0

0

0

.288

O’Brien rf

1

0

0

0

0

1

.296

Escobar ss

2

0

1

0

0

0

.290

C.Colon ss

1

0

0

0

0

1

.271

Mondesi 2b

2

0

0

0

0

1

.333

Merrifield 2b

1

0

0

0

0

0

.274

Totals 30

3

5

3

3

5

TableStyle: SP-basebattersCCI Template: SP-basebatters

Texas AB

R

H

BI

BB

SO

Avg.

DeShields cf

1

1

1

1

0

0

.323

C.Puello cf

2

0

2

0

0

0

.219

Sh.Choo rf

2

1

1

2

0

0

.178

J.Hoying rf

2

0

0

0

0

2

.192

C.Gomez dh

2

0

1

2

0

1

.359

T.Snider ph

1

0

0

0

0

1

.206

Ro.Odor 2b

1

0

0

0

0

0

.219

L.Marte 2b

2

0

0

0

0

2

.000

J.Lucroy c

3

0

0

0

0

1

.292

Chirinos c

1

0

0

0

0

0

.313

N.Mazara lf

2

0

0

0

0

0

.283

J.Profar lf

2

0

1

0

0

0

.222

Rya.Rua 1b

2

1

1

0

0

0

.339

Robinson 1b

1

0

0

0

0

0

.246

J.Gallo 3b

1

1

0

0

0

0

.208

Martinson 3b

1

0

0

0

0

1

.292

E.Andrus ss

1

1

0

0

1

0

.286

De Leon ss

1

0

0

0

0

0

.160

Totals 28

5

7

5

1

8

TableStyle: SP-basebyinningsCCI Template: SP-basebyinnings

Kansas City

000

010

002

3

5

1

Texas

140

000

00x

5

7

0

E: Perez (1). DP: Kansas City 2, Texas 0. LOB: Kansas City 3, Texas 4. 2B: Pena (4), Choo (3), Gomez (4), Rua (3). HR: Butera (2). SB: DeShields (14). CS: Profar (1). SF: DeShields (1), Gomez (3).

TableStyle: SP-basepitchersCCI Template: SP-basepitchers

Kansas City

IP

H

R

ER

BB

SO

ERA

Hammel L, 0-2

2

4

5

4

1

0

6.45

Moylan

1

0

0

0

0

1

2.70

Vargas

3

2

0

0

0

4

3.86

Alburquerque

1

1

0

0

0

2

3.72

Hill

1

0

0

0

0

1

0.00

TableStyle: SP-basepitchersCCI Template: SP-basepitchers

Texas

IP

H

R

ER

BB

SO

ERA

Webster W, 2-0

4

1

0

0

1

1

3.20

Bass

2

2

1

1

0

2

4.50

Claiborne

1

1

0

0

0

0

4.50

Bibens-Dirkx

1

0

0

0

0

2

1.50

Dragmire

1

1

2

2

2

0

7.36

HBP—by: Hammel (Odor). Umpires: Home, Ramon De Jesus; First, Lance Barrett; Second, Adam Hamari; Third, Toby Basner. Time: 2:26. Att: 16,143.

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