Pitchers Kyle Davies and Luke Hochevar recently joined Royals Hall of Famers Dennis Leonard and Denny Matthews on a Caravan through Kansas. Let’s take a look:
At left, Denny chats with a soldier at the Topeka stop. At right, our king holds court in Emporia.
Below left: Kyle and Luke took a break from signing to smile for the camera at our Wichita stop. At right, Sluggerrr greets two Royals fans.
Thank you to everyone who came out to greet the Caravan and to Tina Short of the Royals Radio Network for sending along these photos!
The Royals announced that the club has agreed to one-year Major League contracts for the 2010 season with third baseman Alex Gordon and right-handed pitcher Robinson Tejeda, avoiding arbitration with both. Consistent with club policy, terms of the contracts were not disclosed. With the agreements, the Royals do not have any remaining arbitration-eligible players unsigned for 2010. In addition, the club has requested Unconditional Release Waivers on infielder Luis Hernandez, who was designated for assignment on January 9.
Gordon, 25, struggled with a hip injury in 2009, officially missing 79 games on the Disabled List. The Royals’ first-round selection from 2005 batted .232 for the club with six home runs and 22 RBI in 49 games, also making rehab stops in Surprise, Northwest Arkansas and Omaha.
The 27-year old Tejeda was 4-2 for Kansas City with a 3.54 ERA in 35 games, including six starts. The 6-foot-3 right-hander’s six starts all came in September, as he went 3-1 with a 2.84 ERA in the season’s final month. The Bani, Dominican Republic native posted 10.63 strikeouts per nine innings and held the opposition to a .167 batting average, the third-lowest in baseball among pitchers with at least 70.0 innings.
The North Caravan has made stops in Cameron, Lincoln, and Omaha. The trip concludes this afternoon with visits to Maryville and St. Joseph. Alex Gordon and Willie Bloomquist are having a great time on the trip. Here, Alex flipped his nameplate to the blank side and gave his teammate a good-natured ribbing. Sluggerrr is also on the trip. Our favorite mascot loaded up on cat food at Hy-Vee in Lincoln.
The Royals have announced that left-handed pitcher Danny Duffy, third baseman Mike Moustakas, and outfielders David Lough and Derrick Robinson have been invited to Major League Spring Training in Surprise, Ariz. The four additional players bring the Royals’ non-roster spring total to 24.
The 21-year old Duffy was a Carolina League All-Star in 2009 while pitching the entire season at the age of 20 for Wilmington (A Advanced). The 6-foot-3 left-hander went 9-3 with a 2.98 ERA in 24 starts for the Blue Rocks, striking out 125 and walking 41 in 126.2 innings. The Royals’ third-round selection from 2007, who is 19-10 with a 2.49 ERA in his minor league career, resides in Lompoc, Calif.
Moustakas, 21, was the Wilmington Player of the Year in 2009 after earning the same award at Burlington (A) in 2008. The left-handed hitting third baseman batted .250 with 16 home runs and 86 RBI in 129 games for the Blue Rocks. Kansas City’s first-round pick (second overall) in the 2007 Draft resides in Northridge, Calif.
The 23-year old Lough, honored last Thursday as the George Brett Minor League Hitter of the Year, led all Royals minor leaguers with a .325 combined batting average at Wilmington and Northwest Arkansas (AA) last season. The Clinton, Ohio resident was the Royals’ 11th round pick in 2007 out of Mercyhurst College in Erie, Pa.
Robinson, 22, will spend his second straight spring in Major League camp. The speedy centerfielder hit .239 and stole 69 bases in 92 attempts for Wilmington in 2009. Drafted in the fourth round in 2006, Robinson has 186 stolen bases to his credit in four minor league seasons, leading the Carolina League in each of the last two years.
We have a pair of Caravans on the road today and tomorrow. Today’s stops for the North trip are Cameron, Mo. and Lincoln. Tomorrow, the stops will be Omaha, Maryville, Mo., and St. Joseph. Participants are Alex Gordon, Willie Bloomquist, Willie Wilson and Ryan Lefebvre.
The South Caravan (Billy Butler, Mitch Maier, John Mayberry, Frank White, Steve Stewart) will visit Clinton, Springfield and Branson today. Monday’s stops are Springdale, Pittsburg and Fort Scott. See all of the locations and times at http://kansascity.royals.mlb.com/kc/fan_forum/caravan.jsp.
Jason Kendall’s daughter had a birthday on Friday. The new Royals backstop spent the day celebrating with his family, then caught an early Saturday flight to Kansas City for FanFest. The plane almost diverted away from K.C. due to fog. Jason arrived just in time for his first event, a Q&A on the main stage with the pitchers. Zack Greinke fielded the most questions of the group. He provided entertaining answers on everything from golf to his honeymoon to his interest in World of Warcraft. Let’s take a look at the event:
FanFest is full of fun activities for kids of all ages – batting cages, a speed pitch, a steal home challenge and a scaled down version of baseball activities for the toddlers. Today there are hitting clinics with Royals alums and a baserunning session with Willie Wilson. Kids 5 and under get in free, so come out to the Overland Park Convention Center on Saturday! Let’s take a look at Friday’s happenings:
We’re ready for another big day of autographs at FanFest on Saturday. There will be 15 sessions, featuring everyone from Cy Young winner Zack Greinke to alums such as Frank White. Make your way out to the Overland Park Convention Center. Doors open at 9 a.m., with the day finishing at 7 p.m. Let’s take a look at the autograph sessions from Friday. (At left – Alberto Callaspo and Billy Butler)
Below left – prospects Clint Robinson and Mike Montgomery. On the right – ’85 alums Jamie Quirk, Jorge Orta, Hal McRae, Danny Jackson, Charlie Leibrandt. Frank White is on the far left but out of view.
George Brett signs along with Steve Farr, Buddy Black, Joe Beckwith, Steve Balboni and Darryl Motley. On the right – David Lough (George Brett Hitter of the Year) and Salvador Perez (Frank White Defensive Player of the Year.)
Zack Greinke was one of the most popular autographs. Here, he signs the Sports Illustrated cover for a young fan.
The Royals will hold an online Opening Day Ticket Opportunity program to give fans the chance to secure Opening Day tickets for the 2010 Royals season opener against the Detroit Tigers on Monday, April 5.
To be eligible for the Opening Day ticket opportunity, fans must register online at royals.com/openingday between Friday, January 15 at noon CT and Monday, February 22 at 5 p.m. CT. A random drawing for the opportunity to purchase up to two (2) tickets to Opening Day at Kauffman Stadium will be held on February 24. Winners will be notified by Friday, February 26 via the email address submitted on the registration form. Those applicants whose names are selected will then have an opportunity to purchase 2010 Opening Day tickets at a date and time to be indicated in the winning email. As an added benefit, all fans that register for the Opening Day ticket opportunity will have the chance to purchase tickets to any other 2010 Royals home games prior to the general public through a special presale, which will take place on March 4 on royals.com.
Fans can also guarantee themselves Opening Day tickets by purchasing a Full-Season, Half-Season or 21-game season ticket plan. A limited number of Opening Day seats also remain available with the purchase of the 9-game plan. 21-game season ticket packages start at just $168 per seat and 9-game plans start at only $99 per seat. Both are currently available online at royals.com and by calling (816) 504-4040.