Royals Medical Staff May Be a Secret Weapon
By David Hill
For the most part, the training staff of a team is not something that is typically thought about. The trainers are usually only seen if there is an injury on the field, such as a batter getting hit by a pitch or a pitcher feeling a twinge in his throwing arm. Their appearance is not usually a good sign, although when they walk off the field without a player in tow, that is always a great sign.
Aug 8, 2013; Kansas City, MO, USA; Kansas City Royals catcher Brett Hayes (12) and head athletic trainer Nick Kenney visit with relief pitcher Bruce Chen (52) at the mound in the sixth inning of the game against the Boston Red Sox at Kauffman Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports
With the Kansas City Royals, the training staff is not only a vital part of the success of the ballclub, but one of the best in baseball. Their ability and skill were recognized by the Professional Baseball Athletic Trainers Society, who named the Royals training staff as the best in baseball this past year. A great deal of the Royals success in 2013 could be traced back to their remarkable health throughout the season, which certainly speaks well for the aptitude of the training staff, especially athletic trainer Nick Kenney and assistant athletic trainer Kyle Turner.
That training staff could also have a more tangible effect upon the team, aside from being able to keep the Royals from suffering through extended periods where injuries decimate the team. Kenney, Turner and the other trainers could potentially be utilized as a part of the Royals efforts to recruit free agents, especially if they are looking for a player who has suffered through injuries as a reclamation project. If the money is relatively equal, would a player such as Johan Santana be more comfortable playing on a team where the medical staff is among the best in the game, or heading elsewhere?
As the Royals may be up against their payroll budget, they may look to add player who, for whatever reason, are undervalued assets. Frequently this occurs whenever injuries are present. Players like Santana, Scott Baker and Jason Hammel may all be potential free agent bargains, and could potentially be swayed to join the Royals knowing that an excellent group of trainers are there to help prevent injury.
The Royals medical staff played a major role in the team’s success in 2013, and received well deserved recognition for their efforts.That recognition could help them make a bigger impact upon the 2014 roster, even in a secondary way as a recruiting tool.