A veteran backstop is making his presence known in KC Royals spring training
Don't be embarrassed if Jose Briceno's name doesn't ring an immediate bell. Briceno, 30, has played only once against the Royals, a 2018 appearance for the Angels in which he replaced Jefry Marte in the final inning but didn't bat.
And don't be fooled by his lack of time against Kansas City, or the fact he's played in only 48 major league games, all with the Angels. He's been around pro ball for 12 seasons, knows his way around the diamond, and hit .252 with four homers at Omaha last season after the Royals signed him as a free agent in May.
His longest exposure to big league pitching came in 2018; in 46 games, he hit .239 with five homers and 10 RBIs. He's since played only twice in The Show. In three Cactus League appearances this spring (twice behind the plate and once as a pinch hitter and DH), he's 3-for-7 with a double and two RBIs.
Briceno, though, might make it to Kansas City this season if injuries strike Perez, Melendez or Fermin, but will stay only so long as circumstances require. Unless the Royals let him go during or after spring training, look for Briceno to start the season at Omaha.
(By the way, that's Briceno in the photo accompanying this story).