Aaron Crow is one of many vying for a spot in the Royals rotation and Wednesday night he got a tryout. Starting against Kevin Millwood, Crow had a good first two innings but lost his control in the third and fourth innings, being replaced by Brandon Sisk in the fourth inning after a leadoff single by Ichiro Suzuki and a walk to Justin Smoak. Crow threw 48 pitches, half for strikes. Both Suzuki and Smoak scored after Crow left the game.
Jonathan Broxton worked a strong inning after Sisk, throwing his fastball in the mid-90s and hit 96 on his first of two strikeouts. He also induced a ground out from Ichiro where he barely beat him to the bag on a soft grounder to first.
Felipe Paulino came in trying to follow up on a strong spring debut but got hit hard and didn’t locate his pitches at all. He gave up four runs and benefited from an out on the base paths when Stefen Romero tried to stretch a double into a triple. He calmed down in the second inning and had an easy third inning of work, but he’s still got work to do to cement his spot in the rotation. Paulino was grooving his fastball in at 94-96 mph and hit 97 on a few.
The Royals didn’t make a lot of noise with the bats as they only managed five hits, though two hard hit balls were ruled errors. The only two Kansas City runs came in the seventh inning after a Jeff Francoeur bloop double down the right field line and a shot by Irving Falu into right. Falu advanced to second on a chopper by Jarrod Dyson and scored on a Max Ramirez single up the middle.
As spring training games go, it was an uneventful night. Wil Myers struck out twice and didn’t look comfortable at the plate, but made two good plays in right field, first starting a relay to nail Romero at third, then snagging a tailing line drive by Vinnie Catricala.
If I’m to take anything away from this game it’s that Crow seemed to tire after three innings and didn’t do a lot to work himself out of trouble in the fourth. While he still has an outside chance at some starting work, he’s best suited for the bullpen where he can run through two innings with his fastball and slider. Once Paulino settled in, he didn’t get hit that hard, but he’d been hit enough in the sixth to put the team behind it. Jonathan Broxton looked strong and looked to trust his stuff and the Mariners couldn’t touch it.
Mike Moustakas missed his second game after getting hit in the knee against the Giants. He’s a good bet to get back in there tomorrow.
The Royals will face the Los Angeles Dodgers tomorrow afternoon at 3:05 CST.
Scorecard for 3/14/12: