With the busy off-season around here, I think we are all looking forward to the holidays. Before we shut down and lock up Kauffman Stadium for the year (we reopen Jan. 2), I thought I’d clean up my desk and share a few odds and ends I found piling up.
HEALIN’ TEAHEN: Royals third baseman…or outfielder? Well, regardless of where he plants his cleats, Mark Teahen says he feels confident that he will be ready to join the team when the Royals hit the dirt in March. Teahen, who had surgery on his right shoulder Sept. 8 and has been rehabbing at his home in Peoria, Ariz., says his recovery is moving along on schedule and we could not be happier to hear it. Welcome back, Mark!
OFF-SEASON BLESSINGS: Mike Sweeney is leaving no stone unturned when it comes to raking in the prayers for a winning season. In an off-season trip to Rome, Sweeney and his family had the honor of not only meeting, but also receiving a blessing from, Pope Benedict XVI. Here’s Mike’s son, Michael James, receiving his blessing – “I would be honored to have others feel joy from seeing a little boy being blessed by the Pope,” Mike told us.
PITCHERS GALORE: Royals General Manager Dayton Moore stuffed three more pitchers into the Royals Christmas stocking on Wednesday, Dec. 20, signing right-hander David Riske to a one-year contract and right-handers Brandon Duckworth and Zach Day to Minor League deals. That makes several new arms – including Gil Meche, John Bale, Octavio Dotel, Ken Ray, Brian Bannister and Joakim Soria – the Royals will be turning to in 2007. Now the question that remains, is Moore done shopping yet?
MIDWEST TOUR: We are busy packing our bags for the annual Royals Caravan, which kicks off January 4 with a trip to Southeast Kansas. The Caravan will hit at least four states this year – Kansas, Nebraska, Missouri and Arkansas – making stops at more than 30 destinations. Bus riders include Manager Buddy Bell, GM Dayton Moore, Assistant GM Dean Taylor, players Mark Teahen, John Buck, Luke Hudson, David DeJesus and many more. Make sure and check the website in the next week or two for complete details.
FOUNTAIN MAKEOVER: Although the big stadium renovation isn’t scheduled to take place until after the 2007 season, things here at Kauffman haven’t been silent this winter. A host of upgrades –including a $1 million electrical upgrade and a repainted “sun roof” – will help freshen up “The K” for the new season. The most visual upgrade: a repainted outfield water spectacular display.
BERROA’S BUNDLE: The smile on shortstop Angel Berroa’s face grew this off-season as he and his wife, Jennifer, welcomed their first child, Angel Luis Berroa, in November. Little Baby Berroa is just one of several new additions to the Royals extended family this off-season. Congrats to everyone!
Well, I guess that’s all for now. Happy Holidays, Royals Nation! We’ll see you in January!