Through the first eleven games of spring, Lorenzo Cain is doing everything he can to make sure nobody ends up missing Melky Cabrera. Cain homered in the fifth inning off Sam LeClure and added a single earlier in the game. He’s 9-17 so far this spring with four doubles and three walks.
Cain will take over center field for the departed Cabrera who had over 200 hits for the Royals last year, but was traded to the Giants for Jonathan Sanchez.
Sanchez made his second start of the spring on Tuesday and struggled in his first inning of work, needing 34 pitches to get through the Reds lineup. In his first appearance as a Royal, he got one inning of work on 31 pitches. Sanchez settled down the rest of the way, pitching into the third inning. On the day he threw 51 pitches and 30 for strikes. He surrendered a homer to Jay Bruce and two inherited runners scored when Sanchez gave way to Everett Teaford in the third, but he made quick work of the Reds in the second inning, which is progress, even if slight.
Alex Gordon also homered for the second time this spring as part of a 16 hit attack by the Royals. Every player that came to the plate more than once got a hit.
Teaford didn’t have a run charged to himself, so his line looks like three scoreless innings. He got four strikeouts and three ground outs and benefited from a Gordon assist at the plate.
Jeremy Jeffress reportedly showed strong command of both his fastball and a changeup in two perfect innings. He struck out two. Jeffress is a forgotten part of what is a deep arsenal of relief pitchers in the Royals system. His stuff is impressive but he’s never had great control over it. If he’s made adjustments to harness his 99 mph fastball and a changeup that could be his better secondary pitch, according to some.
The biggest story from the game, though, was an early exit by Salvador Perez. After catching Sanchez in the first inning, Perez didn’t come out for the second inning. Reports state that he “tweaked” his knee before the game warming up Sanchez in the bullpen, and he was noticeably limping before the game. Ned Yost says he’s concerned but the Royals haven’t made any mention of Perez’s status of the extent of the injury, as they’re awaiting MRI results. The Royals are already short a catcher after Manuel Pina underwent knee surgery early in spring training. After signing a contract that could keep him in Kansas City for the majority of the next decade, it’s obvious that Perez is a key part of the Royals future. To have his first full season derailed early would be a rough blow to the organization.
There should be more information tomorrow on Perez. At best he’ll probably miss a couple of days. Mike Moustakas, who was hit by a pitch on the knee yesterday, was a late scratch as a precaution.