Concerning the decision for Jason Vargas’ next step, the Royals have made a choice; however, the Royals staff is not ready to tell the media. Given the unclear future of today’s game with rain in the forecast, Ned Yost and the Royals staff have to see what occurs today before addressing their final decision on Vargas.
Christian Colon came into last night’s game to relieve Mike Moustakas at third base after Moustakas was hit in the clavicle by a groundball. It was Colon’s first game in over a week, yet his preparation and daily workouts according to Yost, helped him be ready leading to a single in his only at bat. Regarding Moustakas’ injury, the X-rays were negative as it turned out to only be a contusion (bruised bone) and he is in today’s lineup at his usually spot.
Yost credited Yordano Ventura’s resurgence back into form to his command of the baseball. Ventura was able to change speeds and hit his locations in his last start, which will hopefully continue in today’s game.
By Sal DeFeo
Jason Vargas felt good today and there are three possibilities for him in the near future, 1) another sim game, 2) a rehab start, or 3) he will be activated. According to Ned Yost, the Royals will make their decision in the next couple of days.
Continuing with injured Royals, Alex Rios has been swinging the bat well, feels good and will hopefully go on a rehab assignment in the next few days. Yost does not expect Rios to make the next road trip with the Royals.
In regards to Alcides Escobar’s talent at the short stop position, Yost has only been around a few players who have possessed a similar level of ability. Such players were former great Omar Vizquel and Jose Iglesias, currently with the Detroit Tigers. Yost said that the level at which these players field the shortstop position cannot be taught, it is a “God-given ability” that can only be fine tuned.
Former Royals and Cardinals manager Whitey Herzog is a special guest at tonight’s game for “Legends Night”. Herzog met with the media earlier today and had many good things to say about the current Royals team. He recalled his Royals teams in great detail and also talked about the 1985 I-70 Series, in which KC defeated his Cardinals team in seven games.
Edinson Volquez will get the start in tomorrow’s game instead of Danny Duffy as the lefty struggled to get loose during a warm-up session yesterday. According to Yost, this same problem occurred last year over a six-week period and there is little concern on Duffy’s status moving forward. Duffy will most likely make his next start on Tuesday at New York.
Given the records of the Royals and Cardinals this year, Yost thinks that it will increase the dynamic of the I-70 series. In past years the Cardinal fans have split or taken over the majority of seats at Kauffman; however, Yost expects the Royals fan base to change that trend this series.
Mike Moustakas, who used to be regarded as a pull hitter, has adapted his swing to accommodate for the shifts put on by many teams this year and has drastically improved his batting average from a season ago. Manager Yost described this change as an “amazing one” given Yost’s past as a pull hitter. Yost said that as a player he would never be able to make the adjustments that Moustakas has made this year. Yost gives the credit to Moustakas’ mindset and determination to become an all-around great hitter.
This series will feature two of the best catchers in baseball with Yadier Molina and Salvador Perez. Yost described them as “the best two catchers in baseball” whose talent both defensively and offensively does not come around very often. Furthermore, Yost said that he would be extremely fortunate to have either one in his lineup.
The early season struggles from starting pitchers Danny Duffy and Yordano Ventura were attributed to trying to be special and doing too much by Manager Yost. Last night, Ventura showed that the way to be special, “is to stay within yourself, stay within your delivery and to execute pitches” according to Yost.
Jeremy Guthrie has shown improvement in his last two starts compared to his first five, which Yost credited to Guthrie’s pitching expertise as he has been, “spotting it very well, he’s changing speeds very effectively and commanding the baseball”.
Manager Yost told the media that closer Greg Holland is ready to go if needed tonight. He did not pitch last night due to neck stiffness. Wade Davis picked up the save in his absence.
In regards to the Royals lineup, “it might be the best I’ve ever had” said Yost. He went on to say that there is a dangerous spot from batters one through nine, and normally in a lineup there is good flow but two or three spots will break that flow; however, the Royals do not have that in their lineup.
By Sal DeFeo
Royals infielder Rafael Furcal announced today that he is retiring from professional baseball after a distinguished 14-year career in the Major Leagues. He signed a minor league contract with the Royals during Spring Training of this year and played in seven games with Wilmington (A) and Northwest Arkansas (AA).
Furcal, 37, spent a majority of his big league career with Atlanta (2000-05) and the Los Angeles Dodgers (2006-11), hitting .281 with 311 doubles, 113 homers and 1,063 runs scored. The 2000 National League Rookie of the Year was also a three-time All-Star (2003, 2010, 2012) and played on 10 teams that reached the postseason, helping the St. Louis Cardinals win the World Series in 2011. His 1,817 big league hits rank 46th all-time among Major League shortstops, while 1,063 runs are 33rd and he collected the 314 career steals rank 25th. He hit .292 in 156 games for the Braves in 2003, setting career highs in doubles (35), homers (15) and runs scored (130), helping Atlanta to 101 wins that season.
“To play in the Major Leagues for 14 seasons was a dream come true,” said Furcal. “I love the game, but at this point, I don’t feel like I can play up to my standards anymore and want to spend more time with my beautiful family. I really appreciate the opportunity Dayton Moore and the Kansas City Royals provided me this year.”
The Kansas City Royals take on the Cincinnati Reds in a two-game series, starting tonight at Kauffman Stadium. The Royals had a lot of success against National League teams last year and manager Ned Yost says he doesn’t expect anything different. “They’ve got a good guy [Cueto] on the mound. He spots up his pitches very well and doesn’t miss often,” said Yost, “We’ve done a good job of not giving away at-bats and when we get a pitch to hit we can’t miss it.”
Alex Rios has been making a lot of progress in the past week and Yost said he expects him to get him out on the field hitting and to a rehab assignment in 7-10 days. Erik Kratz is also getting close to being healthy and will also be going on a rehab assignment soon.
Starting pitcher, Jason Vargas, has been throwing on the side and is expected to throw a simulated game on Friday. Yost said he will be evaluated after that and see how he feels day-to-day.
by Eric Paulson
Congrats to former Royal Bruce Chen, who announced his retirement from baseball via Twitter. Chen had spent this year in the Cleveland Indians organization. He retires with 82 career wins, which ties Yankees great Mariano Rivera for first among Panamanian-born pitchers. Chen posted several tweets, here are a few:
It was great to get to know Bruce during his time in Kansas City and he helped this blog on several occasions. He was always having fun, whether it was at the Royals Charities Golf Tournament or meeting with kids at Operation Breakthrough. Best wishes, Bruce!
The Royals will be taking on the Yankees in a rubber match this Sunday at Kauffman Stadium. Kansas City will be starting Edinson Volquez who has a 2-3 record and a 3.19 ERA. Chris Capuano will take the bump for the first time this year for New York after being reinstated from the DL. Ned Yost managed Capuano in Milwaukee and said that his team will not be taking him lightly. “Anyone who can come back from two Tommy John surgeries and still pitch in the big leagues is tough. He’s got good stuff but it’s nothing that we can’t handle.”
Yost also had some good news about this team, mentioning that Jason Vargas is feeling a lot better and probably won’t need a rehab assignment. “Erik Kratz on the other hand probably will need an assignment,” said Yost, “I want him to get some swings and make sure he’s feeling 100%.”
Royals outfielder, Alex Gordon, will be taking the day off and Jarrod Dyson will be playing instead. “Alex got hit in the leg with a pitch the other day and it’s still a little sore,” said Yost,” I want to give him a couple days to rest with the off day tomorrow.”
By Eric Paulson
The Royals will be taking on the Yankees in the second game of the series at Kauffman Stadium tonight. Kansas City got off to a red-hot start last night, beating New York 12-1, and posting 17 hits. Manager Ned Yost said he is expecting his team to play with the same intensity that they came out with last night.
In Royals roster updates, the team has optioned right-handed pitcher Aaron Brooks to Omaha and selected the contract of veteran Joe Blanton. In order to make room for Blanton on the 40-man roster, the Royals recalled left-hander Brian Flynn from Omaha and placed him on the 60-day disabled list. When asked about the move, Yost said that his team could use the experience that Blanton brings and that he understand how to get hitters out.