Royals Spring Training 2/26: Pitching on Display


Today’s matchup against the Cleveland Indians was more significant for the Royals because of their pitching lineup than the fact that the Royals and Indians were both undefeated in Cactus League play going into Tuesday.

Feb 21, 2013; Surprise, AZ, USA; Kansas City Royals starting pitcher Wade Davis (22) poses for a picture during photo day at the Royals Spring Training Facility. Mandatory Credit: Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports

Wade Davis got his first action on the mound as a Royal, throwing two scoreless and effective innings, giving up one hit – a single to Carlos Santana – and working around a hit batter. The Royals are emphatic that he’s as safe as the #4 starter as James Shields is as the #1 and today helped that case. Unofficially, he threw 29 pitches, 15 for strikes.

Yordano Ventura followed him looking to rebound from his learning experience against Nelson Cruz last week. You’ll remember that Ventura gave in to Cruz in a spring matchup and grooved a strike that ended up about 420 feet from home plate heading out to center field. On Tuesday, he threw two scoreless innings, striking out Cedric Hunter and Asdrubal Cabrera in his first inning. In his second inning, he worked around a leadoff double by Jason Kipnis, inducing a ground out from Nick Swisher, a popout to short by Santana and a ground out from Mark Reynolds to get away with Kipnis stranded on third.

Finally, Donnie Joseph came in and struck out the side – again. On Saturday, Joseph struck out Brandon Allen, Mike Olt and Leonys Martin of the Rangers in his only inning of work. On Tuesday, he mowed down Lonnie Chisenhall, Tim Fedroff and Hunter. He’s impressing people so far, and with five of those six batters being left-handed, he’s making a case to win the lefty specialist job out of spring training (if this continues).

Offensively, Billy Butler homered and Eric Hosmer tripled. Bob Dutton said that Hosmer’s third inning triple was his “best swing of spring“. I’ll take that.

We brought up John Lamb‘s velocity the other day and there are similar velocity questions around Chris Dwyer and Noel Arguelles. Dwyer had a thyroid condition last year and lost a lot of zip on his fastball. On Monday, he was in the upper-80s and touched 93 mph with his fastball after being in the mid-80s at the end of 2012. Arguelles was working around 91 mph. Both seem to be getting back to where they were – Dwyer before the medical condition and Arguelles before his shoulder issues in 2010.

Felipe Paulino threw off a mound on Wednesday, getting 20 pitches in. Danny Duffy also threw 30 pitches off the mound on Wednesday. He said that “the wing is feelin sexy today” after and told Dutton that “I’m ready to pitch”. Dutton, in tweeting that quote, offered the voice of reason, as Duffy’s got a best-case return of June.

James Shields will throw one inning in his start on Thursday. Hochevar, Bruce Chen, Jeremy Guthrie and Ervin Santana will all go two innings. Ned Yost says that’s just taking feedback from his veterans.

Finally, Alex Gordon and Lorenzo Cain should both return to action on Wednesday. Gordon missed two games after back spasms on Monday, but took part in full workouts on Tuesday. Cain has been out for a while after a hand sprain. If he plays Wednesday, it’ll be his first spring action.