Royals Spring Training Notes: The Regular Season is So Close


The World Baseball Classic extended this year’s spring training, and it’s starting to feel like an eternity before baseball really starts. We’ve discussed how the Royals roster is more or less set quite often this spring, and after Chris Getz won the second base job, there are really just two spots left – the last bullpen job and backup catcher.

Mar 5, 2013; Surprise, AZ, USA; Kansas City Royals relief pitcher Louis Coleman (31) pitches against the Oakland Athletics during the seventh inning at Surprise Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports

Neither of those are terribly intriguing, though I, and others, have our preferences. They’re smaller decisions but the opening is still there for the Royals to make less than optimal decisions. The last bullpen spot comes down to a group of candidates who have thrown well all spring and it’s hard to go wrong. Maybe they skip Donnie Joseph and go with Louis Coleman, or vice versa, and either way, they’ve rewarded a pitcher who’s done well. Brett Hayes has done fine, but George Kottaras is making a strong push late. Bob Dutton has theorized that it will come down to another team needing a catcher and the Royals trading whichever of the two bring the best return into the organization.

-The Royals beat the White Sox on Sunday and are a win away from tying their all-time spring record for wins. Marcus Meade has provided his observations already and writer/scout  Bernie Pleskoff was at the game and both agreed that Guthrie looked solid:

Pleskoff was also impressed with Kelvin Herrera.

Eric Hosmer apparently experienced soreness in his right quad muscle during the WBC and missed some time over the weekend as it was still bothering him. Nobody seems to think that it’s serious, but as spring training winds down, I’d rather he be in the lineup getting his at bats. He was on the minor league fields facing pitching, so he hasn’t been shut down by any means.

-The idea is that Hosmer should be the Royals #3 hitter, but Ned Yost has been toying with a lineup that puts Billy Butler in that spot. The hitting of Salvador Perez and Mike Moustakas this spring have them hypothetically protecting Butler in the lineup and leaves Alex Gordon in the leadoff spot where he’s been excellent over the last two years and still this spring.

March 21, 2013; Goodyear, AZ, USA; Cincinnati Reds left fielder Derrick Robinson (81) hits an RBI double in the third inning during a spring training game against the Oakland Athletics at Goodyear Ballpark. Mandatory Credit: Rick Scuteri-USA TODAY Sports

-Former Royals minor league outfielder Derrick Robinson is getting attention with the Cincinnati Reds this spring. Former infielder Yuniesky Betancourt was released by the Philadelphia Phillies despite good spring numbers. He’d asked for his release when it was apparent he wasn’t going to crack the Phillies opening day roster.

-The Royals released a number of minor leaguers over the weekend, most notably Nick Van Stratten and Blaine Hardy. Van Stratten had been in the organization since 2006, but hadn’t gotten past Double A and is about to turn 28 years old. Hardy reached Triple A in both 2011 and 2012 but wasn’t going to break through. Other released players (as reported by Dutton through Twitter): pitchers Rudy Brown, Allen Caldwell, Joe Karlik, Patrick Keating, Jason Mitchell, Lincoln Rassi, and Jamie Richmond and infielders Michael Liberto and Adrian Martinez.

-The Royals face Zack Greinke and the Los Angeles Dodgers Monday night. The game will be on Fox Sports Kansas City starting at 8 p.m. CST. Wade Davis pitches for the Royals.

The Royals have six more spring training games left, and my guess is that they’ll cut their roster down following Wednesday’s split squad games. They’re working with 37 players in camp now.