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  1. #1
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    2014 Spring Training Thread

    It's finally here.

    SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Now it's official. Royals Spring Training is underway. The pitchers and catchers went through their first scheduled practice on Saturday in 73-degree sunshine at their complex. And, even though most of them had been working out here for several days previously, they seemed especially eager.

    "Always this time of year, players are anxious to get going," manager Ned Yost said.

    "It's funny how Spring Training goes in stages. You get real anxious to get started, and then after three or four days, you get real anxious for the whole team to get here. Then when the whole team gets here, you get real anxious to start games. And then after a week or 10 days, you get real anxious to start the season. So you get a couple of little plateaus of anxiousness, if you will, but the first day went great."

    The 31 pitchers were divided into two groups, throwing and non-throwing.

    "[The throwers] did long toss and they threw 'pens and they ran through a pickoff station and a fielding station. The non-throwers went up to the top [of the complex] and did a four-field rotation of more extensive PFPs [pitchers' fielding practice]," Yost said. "Now tomorrow we'll switch those two groups."

    The catchers did their part, handling the pitchers in the bullpen sessions.

    "Everybody is excited and happy and can't wait for the season to get started," catcher Salvador Perez said.

    Like others in camp, however, he doesn't want to look too far ahead when assessing the Royals' postseason chances, preferring to concentrate on the training at hand.

    "Are we going to go to the playoffs? We don't know. There's a long way to go," Perez said. "We have to go day to day -- today and tomorrow and that's it. Then we'll see what happens."

    Most of the infielders and outfielders who've been working out unofficially this week took Saturday off. Their reporting date is Wednesday, with the first full-squad workout on Thursday.
    http://mlb.mlb.com/news/article.jsp?...ook_kc&c_id=kc

  2. #2
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    SURPRISE, Ariz. — The cry echoed through the mostly empty complex, a product of a sneaky two-seam fastball from Royals starter Jason Vargas and an ill-fated swing from first baseman Eric Hosmer.
    Royals pitcher Jason Vargas throws to live batters during Friday's spring training workout in Surprise, Ariz.

    “Oww,” Hosmer yelled.

    The pitch jammed Hosmer and a sting reverberated through his hands. The ball dunked into shallow center. As he walked toward the field, James Shields heckled Hosmer. The event occurred during an early-day session of live batting practice, which pitted team’s two top starting pitchers against three qualified hitters, a 20-minute glimpse into the readiness of their rotation.

    The previous incarnations of batting practice defined anti-climax. On Friday morning, the cast added to the entertainment. The three hitters were Eric Hosmer, Mike Moustakas and Justin Maxwell. “Bringing the squad out today,” said Wade Davis, who came out early to watch.

    Like all things here in camp, the schedule was efficient: Each pitcher threw a pair of 15-pitch innings. Each hitter saw five pitches at a time. The drill started three minutes early, at 9:12 a.m., when Vargas caught a warmup from backup catcher Brett Hayes and said “Brett, you can just call it, man.”

    Vargas represents this organization’s offseason splurge. When the team decided a reunion with Ervin Santana looked too costly, they pounced on Vargas with a four-year, $32 million deal. Vargas lacks sizzle: He doesn’t miss an excessive amount of bats and his fastball velocity hangs in the mid 80s.

    But team officials believe a strike-throwing, flyball pitcher will perform well within the spacious confines of Kauffman Stadium, especially backed by their elite defense. Their doctors also deemed anomalous the blood clot in Vargas’ left shoulder that required surgery and sidelined him for 47 games.

    “Vargas is going to be a big pickup for us,” manager Ned Yost said. “He’s a guy that throws strikes, changes speeds, a great competitor. Knows how to pitch.”

    With Shields, there is more certainty. He anchored this rotation in 2013. He is expected to repeat the feat. After 15 pitches, Vargas plotted strategy with Hayes while Shields warmed up. He looked sharp from the start, Hosmer said, mixing backdoor cutters and diving two-seamers.

    When Maxwell fanned on a fastball, he mentioned to Perez the pitch moved like a changeup. Perez couldn’t help himself. He removed his mask and shouted at Shields.

    “I called a fastball,” Perez said, managing to hide a smile. “And you threw a changeup.”

    Shields couldn’t tell if Maxwell was complimenting the movement or insulting his velocity. “Changeup?” Shields said. “It’s just a two-seam dream.”

    The hitters behind the cage cackled. Shields dusted his next one in the dirt. “Now that’s a changeup,” he said, a punch line that delighted his teammates.

    As Vargas worked through his second inning, Shields slipped behind the dugout’s chain-link fence. A visitor soon arrived: Bill Fischer, the organization’s senior pitching adviser. Fischer turned 83 last October. This is his 67th year in professional baseball.

    “That’s the best I’ve ever seen you throw,” he said.

    Shields thanked Fischer, and took the compliment in stride. “Let’s not peak too early, Fish,” he said, and as Vargas finished up, walked out of the dugout. “If you can pitch nine innings in live B.P.,” Shields said, “you can pitch anywhere.”

    The conditions are far from normal. For batters, the atmosphere feels uncomfortable. The protective screen on the mound distorts the hitter’s vision. The batting cage invites claustrophobia. But the misery pays dividends, Hosmer explained later.

    “When you can get looks off those guys, and those are your first looks of the spring, it’s pretty good,” he said.

    After Shields threw his last pitch, he joked that he could toss another full session. The hitters gathered with the pitchers and catchers to bump fists and offer congratulations.

    “Now let’s go take B.P.,” Moustakas said. “So …”

    “So we can correct it,” Hosmer finished.
    http://www.kansascity.com/2014/02/21...#storylink=cpy

    Where's all the KC fans? Come on guys. ST is here!

  3. #3
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    Just knocking off the rust. What interests me the most (besides Moose, Hosmer, and Butler getting back on track) is the play of the new guys. If they are even close to what they've been previously....we could be looking at a very interesting season.

  4. #4
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    Yeah, i'm pretty damn excited to see how this season plays out. I really think we could have a shot at the playoffs, going to be tough and some guys will have to step up, but i'm hopeful.

  5. #5
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    Moose is the key. He cant have a .225 BA and see the Royals having any success. Moose needs to be at least a .275 hitter this season. Escobar needs to pick up as well.

  6. #6
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    SURPRISE, Ariz. — The Royals settled three more of their contracts with non-arbitration players on Saturday morning. Lefty Danny Duffy agreed to a$526,000 deal for 2014, second baseman Johnny Giovatella signed for $508,725 and outfielder Carlos Peguero signed for $504,250.

    Read more here: http://www.kansascity.com/2014/03/01...#storylink=cpy

  7. #7
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    Ventura making the rotation out of spring is pretty cool, he's done so well. Has anyone heard what his likely limit will be innings wise?

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by KnokOut View Post
    Ventura making the rotation out of spring is pretty cool, he's done so well. Has anyone heard what his likely limit will be innings wise?
    I've heard 180 innings

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