While the big league club waits to get going, three of the four active Royals minor league affiliates had their opening day on Thursday.
Omaha opened up at home, kicking off their second season in Werner Park (and as the “Storm Chasers’) with a come from behind 8-4 win over Albuquerque.
Clint Robinson scored three times and had two doubles, while Kevin Kouzmanoff drove in three with two doubles. Johnny Giavotella went 2-5. Will Smith got the start and survived two bases loaded jams, but didn’t have the control he usually has. He walked six and was lifted after three innings and 74 pitches. Ethan Hollingsworth and Jeremy Jeffress held the Isotopes in check while the Royals started to come back and eventually gained the lead. Louis Coleman struck out the only batter he faced to earn a save after Tommy Hottovy put two batters on.
Northwest Arkansas opened on the road at Corpus Christi and the only real bright spot was a decent start from Chris Dwyer. The lefty has had his struggles, especially last year, but he struck out five and, even better, walked just one over 4.1 innings. The Naturals lost 9-0 but due to five errors, only five of the runs were earned.
Kane County scored nine times in the second inning, including a triple and grand slam from outfielder Lane Adams. They turned around and gave up six runs in the bottom of the inning though, but held on to win 11-10. Daniel Mateo went 2-4.
The pitching started out rough, but the Cougars held on with the combination of Matt Ridings and Nick Graffeo, who combined for the final 3.1 innings, holding the Quad Cities River Bandits to one hit while striking out four combined. Graffeo worked the ninth for the save.
Wilmington in High A didn’t play today, but kick off their season on Friday on the road against Myrtle Beach. Tyler Sample, 2008 third round pick, gets the first start for the Blue Rocks.