When we last saw the KC Royals, they'd lost convincingly to Cleveland to put a depressing lid on their already-depressing 2022 season, and would soon head back to Kansas City and the news that manager Mike Matheny and Cal Eldred were no longer employed.
Now, some four months and a baseball winter sprinkled with acquisitions falling far short of blockbuster proportions later, Kansas City is set to open spring training Wednesday when pitchers and catchers join Royals who reported early after being selected for World Baseball Classic action.
As always, there's a lot to know when it comes to spring training and Cactus League games. So, and just in case you missed it, here again is our recent "must know" story about both.
Two new game rules changes that will affect the KC Royals have been announced.
Just in time for spring training came Monday's news that MLB is adding more 2023 rules changes.
The first comes as no surprise. Made permanent for regular season contests is the pandemic-based rule requiring the automatic placement of a runner at second base at the beginning of each extra half inning.
The second new change probably wasn't as foreseeable as the first. Revising the former rule imposing restrictions on position players' eligibility to pitch (they could do so only if their team was losing or winning by at least six runs, or in extra innings), the immediately effective new rule permits a team behind in the score to use such players as pitchers whenever it's down at least eight runs, while leading teams may utilize a position player only when that team is ahead by at least 10. Regardless of score, both teams can pitch position players in extra innings.
The Royals rarely deployed position players as pitchers last season. Michael A. Taylor, Hunter Dozier and Nicky Lopez each pitched once; collectively, they threw four innings, gave up six earned runs and 10 hits, walked three, and struck out two.
Even when games are out of hand, using non-pitchers on the mound isn't without risk, something we've pointed out in this space before.
Monday's rule revisions accompany other new rules for 2023, including what is essentially a prohibition on shifts, a pitch clock, and bigger bases.
A former KC Royals relief pitcher recently found a new home close by.
It's been almost two weeks since the Royals designated reliever Anthony Misiewicz for assignment to open space on their 40-man roster for re-signed starter Zack Greinke. Fortnately for Misiewicz, he landed a new job in time for spring training.
Misiewicz, who went 1-1, 4.11 in 15 appearances for the Royals last season after they acquired him from the Mariners in August, was traded to the Cardinals for cash last week. So, if he makes the Cards' Opening Day roster, he'll be working just down Interstate 70 from Kansas City.
Stay tuned for more Royals news.