Some former KC Royals shine, some don't on Opening Day

Several ex-Kansas City players saw action Thursday.
Matt Marton-USA TODAY Sports

Edward Olivares, who as a member of the KC Royals surely led the organization in trips made between Kansas City and Triple-A Omaha, clubbed an Opening Day home run Thursday.

He didn't do it for the Royals, the team that called him up and sent him down eight times during the 2021 season; instead, his seventh-inning pinch-hit solo shot for the Pirates helped propel them to a 6-5 extra-innings victory over Miami. He's been with Pittsburgh since mid-December when the Royals, then engaged in major roster reconstruction, traded him there for minor league infielder Deivis Nadal. The homer made for a nice debut with his new club, for whom Noah Wright at our sister FanSided site believes may have an important role to play.

Michael A. Taylor, winner of a Gold Glove when he patrolled center field for Kansas City in 2021, went 1-for-5 for the Pirates.

But Olivares and Taylor weren't the only familiar players who saw major league action with the Royals and played for other clubs Thursday. And while KC lost its opener to Minnesota for the second straight year, some of those players had good days; others weren't so fortunate.

An ex-Royal continued his good play for Baltimore

After Ryan O'Hearn failed for four seasons to replicate his excellent 2018 rookie campaign, the Royals traded him to the Orioles not long before spring training opened last year. The move appears to have made quite a difference — O'Hearn hit a career-best .289, homered 14 times, drove in a career-high 60 runs last year and played in the postseason for the first time.

He didn't start against the Angels Thursday, but doubled in a late plate appearance and scored a run as Baltimore trounced the Angels 11-3.

Three former Royals couldn't buy a hit for a division rival

The White Sox have deservedly developed a reputation for their unique willingness to acquire players with Kansas City pedigrees — their Opening Day roster boasted no fewer than four former Royals, and they released Mike Moustakas late last week.

Chicago manager Pedro Grifol, a former Royal himself — he served as a coach for several seasons—penciled three KC transplants into his Thursday lineup, but not one managed even a single. Left fielder Andrew Benintendi went 0-for-4 while catcher Martín Maldonado and second baseman Nicky Lopez both came up hitless in three at-bats. The Sox lost to Detroit 1-0.

Wondering about others who've played for Kansas City?

Reliever Ryan Yarbrough, a Dodger since the Royals traded him to Los Angeles at last season's trade deadline, pitched three scoreless innings to earn the save in LA's 7-1 victory over St. Louis.

Playing in his first game for San Francisco after signing a free agent deal last month, Jorge Soler, who shares the Royals' single-season home run record of 48 with Salvador Perez, went 0-for-3 in the Giants' 6-4 loss to San Diego.

Outfielder Brent Rooker and Oakland didn't do well. Rooker was 0-for-4 in the Athletics' 8-0 loss to Cleveland.

Because weather postponed their teams' Thursday games, Whit Merrifield and Matt Strahm (Phillies), Jakob Junis and Joel Payamps (Brewers), and Jake Diekman and Jorge López (Mets) didn't play.

More from Kings of Kauffman