There’s not really concern with Shields – it’s just spring training, after all – and as expected, he was named the Royals opening day starter officially by Ned Yost. It will be his fifth career opening day start after four with the Tampa Bay Rays. He’ll face Chris Sale of the Chicago White Sox on April 1. The Royals also lined up their next three starters, following Shields with Ervin Santana, Jeremy Guthrie and Wade Davis, according to a Bob Dutton report. The fifth spot has not been announced yet. Santana is set to pitch the Royals home opener on April 8.
-Hosmer’s homer is a good sign, as signs of panic have been going through the Royals fan club. After a rough World Baseball Classic, the specter of his 2012 struggles continues to hang over him. Connor Moylan at Royals Review had an excellent post about that anxiety that weighs his importance to the Royals, his past hype and the general angst Royals fans end up feeling when things go sour – that “here we go again” feeling. For what it’s worth, the Royals hitting coaches, Jack Maloof and Andre David, have worked with minor leaguers coming through in the past, so there’s familiarity that may help the younger hitters, Dutton reminds.
-Unfortunately for Endy Chavez, he won’t be one of the players working with them this year, as the Royals announced that he’s been released. He had signed with the Royals on New Year’s Eve on a minor league deal but in 32 at bats only had six hits. There are 38 players left in big league camp.
-Major League Baseball granted left-handed pitcher Noel Arguelles a fourth option year. Typically, players can be optioned to the minor leagues three times only, but if they have less than five years of professional experience, a fourth year can be granted. The same kind of thing happened to Luke Hochevar. The deal Arguelles signed in 2010 placed him on the 40 man roster, but he missed the whole year dealing with a shoulder injury. Baseball America has the full list of players granted a fourth year and explains the process in greater detail. Arguelles was optioned to Double A Northwest Arkansas two weeks ago.
-Just a reminder that Fox Sports Kansas City will air two spring games next week – Monday the 25th against the Los Angeles Dodgers and Wednesday the 27th against the Chicago Cubs.
-It’s not Royals related, but it still relates to Kansas City Baseball: the Jackie Robinson biopic “42” will release on April 12 in theaters, but on April 11, the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum and AMC Theaters are coordinating on a premier event on April 11. Harrison Ford, who plays Branch Rickey in the film, is supposed to be there. You may have heard of him. It’s a chance to take part in what I think is going to be a cool evening of baseball history. More information is at 42KansasCity.com.