Judging the Royals

Lee Judge: How Raul Mondesi can make Lorenzo Cain better

Kansas City Royals second baseman Raul Mondesi caught a fly ball during Friday’s spring training game against the Seattle Mariners in Peoria, Arizona.
Kansas City Royals second baseman Raul Mondesi caught a fly ball during Friday’s spring training game against the Seattle Mariners in Peoria, Arizona. jsleezer@kcstar.com

On Friday the Royals played the Mariners and at one point center fielder Lorenzo Cain came sprinting in to catch a flare just behind the infield.

There was a scary moment when it looked like Cain might collide with second baseman Raul Mondesi, but Cain called for the ball and Mondesi peeled out of the way.

Later, Cain was in the clubhouse getting ready to leave and the media was in the clubhouse getting ready to interview Salvador Perez. It was Salvy’s first game back since Drew Butera ran into him at the World Baseball Classic and Salvy was going to talk about how he felt.

Ducking the media is considered bad form, so Cain was polite and asked if anyone needed a quote from him. Just then Salvy appeared and the small crowd of reporters deserted Cain to talk to Perez.

I said that was cold and Cain pretended to be hurt: That’s how it is? Salvy comes in the room and you don’t wanna talk to me anymore?

Which I thought was pretty funny, so I said I’d ask Cain a question just so he wouldn’t feel rejected. I then asked a pretty bad question, which eventually led to a very good answer.

“On a scale of 1 to 10, how difficult was that catch?”

Cain looked up at the ceiling, considered for a moment and then said: “I’d give it an 8.”

I then asked how close he came to colliding with Mondesi. Cain said he was focused on the ball and wasn’t sure; how close did it look? I said pretty close and then asked if he had to be aware of Mondesi’s range going back on balls and Cain said yes.

Cain then added that if the two middle infielders have great range going back on flares just beyond the infield, he can play deeper and cut off more doubles.

The effect players have on one another is rarely examined; we get caught up in individual statistics and forget those statistics are influenced by a player’s teammates.

At this point in time the job is still open, but if Raul Mondesi is the Royals second baseman, he makes Lorenzo Cain better.

It looks like Duffy vs. Santana on Opening Day

Ned Yost announced on Saturday morning that Danny Duffy is his opening day starting pitcher, but you probably figured that out already. As I’ve written and will no doubt write again, if you want to know who’s pitching on opening day, count backwards in five-day increments.

Starting pitchers pitch every five days, so if the Duffy and the Twins’ Ervin Santana are the opening day pitchers on April 3, they’ll probably pitch on Wednesday, March 29 and Friday, March 24.

And both Duffy and Santana pitched on Friday, March 24.

Hosmer’s return

Team USA won the World Baseball Classic on Wednesday night and Friday morning Eric Hosmer pulled into the player’s parking lot.

I hadn’t seen Hos since FanFest so I walked over to say hi. Hos climbed out of his car and told me to get away from him; he didn’t want anyone to think we rode together.

I’m about 51 percent sure he was kidding.

Hos then pulled out his WBC Gold Medal and said he was going to wear it into the clubhouse and give his Royals teammates a hard time. The Gold Medal is a pretty impressive piece of hardware, so I asked Hos if I could borrow it and wear it out to dinner that night.

Hos replied: “After I wear it into the clubhouse, it’s all you bro.’ 

Once again I’m about 51 percent sure he was kidding, because I’m still waiting for Hos to lend me that medal.