The Royals open a series in St. Pete tonight against the Tampa Bay Rays. It’s a 6:10 start on Fox Sports Kansas City and the Royals Radio Network. Earlier today, LHP John Parrish was placed on the 15-day D.L. (retroactive to April 25) with left rotator cuff inflammation. RHP Victor Marte will be joining the club from Omaha.
Here’s your lineup: (DeJesus – DH), (Podsednik – LF), (Butler – 1B), (Guillen – RF), (Callaspo – 2B), (Kendall – C), (Gordon – 3B), (Betancourt – SS), (Maier – CF), (Hochevar – P)
During manager Trey Hillman’s meeting with the press before Wednesday’s game, he addressed questions concerning Rick Ankiel, John Parrish, Yuniesky Betancourt, and Jason Kendall. Hillman quieted concerns about Ankiel not being in the lineup due to a strained right quad, saying that they are still being cautious with the outfielder. Hillman also noted that everyone in the bullpen is available except for Parrish because he has a sore shoulder.
In regards to Betancourt, Hillman said he is pleased with his improved defense, especially in his ability to take better angles to the left side. According to the manager, Betancourt also seems more focused and has a better sense of urgency this season.
The main topic of the session centered on catcher Jason Kendall’s ability to play day after day, year after year. Kendall will play his 1,927th career game behind the plate today, tying former Royals’ catcher Jim Sundberg for sixth on the all-time career games caught list. When asked how this “iron man” does it, Hillman said it is Kendall’s mindset that keeps him going. He said the catcher expects to play everyday and he does a good job listening to his body as well. Hillman also added that hopefully the next 20 games will be a bit lighter for Kendall.
Manager Trey Hillman was asked about centerfielder Rick Ankiel’s availability:
Hillman said Ankiel took some batting practice in the cage and had light activity in the outfield. He said the centerfielder looks to be moving at 60 to 70 percent and is available to pinch hit. Hillman felt he could rush Ankiel into the lineup, but stated it was more prudent to allow the injury to heal completely.
The media asked Hillman to compare this team’s defensive ability to last year’s team:
Hillman likes his team’s ability to get to balls, both in the infield and outfield. He specifically mentioned his outfield arms; saying leftfielder Scott Podsednik and rightfielder David DeJesus have been incredibly accurate, in addition to being impressed by the arm strength shown by Rick Ankiel. Hillman has seen better lateral movement this year from shortstop Yuniesky Betancourt and feels first baseman Billy Butler has significantly improved his ability around the bag.
Hillman was asked to comment on any pressure that Royals’ ace Zack Greinke may be feeling:
Hillman admitted that Greinke is probably feeling some pressure to duplicate last year’s success. Although Trey continued by saying that Greinke wouldn’t admit to any pressure.
Hillman finished by giving an update on second baseman Chris Getz:
Hillman said Getz is feeling good. He started today for the Omaha Royals at second, going 2-for-4 for the AAA club in a 10-inning game.
It’s Buck Night at the K! Hot dogs, small Pepsi products, peanuts, Twinkies, Gameday Magazines and scorecards are just $1 for tonight’s game (7:10 start)!
Here’s your Kansas City lineup: (DeJesus – RF), (Podsednik – LF), (Butler – 1B), (Guillen – DH), (Callaspo – 2B), (Kendall – C), (Gordon – 3B), (Maier – CF), (Betancourt – SS), (Greinke – P)
Here’s what manager Trey Hillman had to say Monday afternoon before the game vs. Seattle:
On facing Mariners’ right-handed pitcher Felix Hernandez:
”He’s nasty. He’s good at making you chase, so we’ll need to be disciplined.”
On what the Royals need to keep improving:
”We need more stability. The offense gets enough hits, but we still leave runners stranded…and we give up more runs than anyone in the MLB in the seventh inning…more consistency would help.”
On Rick Ankiel’s status (strained right quad):
”He’s ok, still a little stiff. He was pinch-hittable yesterday, so we’ll see how he is today and re-evaluate for tomorrow.”
On getting more out of the starting pitchers:
”We’re getting enough. We need to keep guys healthy as long as possible. Eventually we’ll let guys get to 120 pitches.”
On the Royals’ defense:
”It’s not as good as I’d hoped, specifically on double-plays. Overall, Podsednik is a great left fielder, but with the dimensions and wind there’s a learning curve. Balls in the left field corner are pretty difficult.”
On being comfortable with the bullpen:
”I’m closer than opening day, but we’ve had a few bumps. I’m comfortable with Rupe to get the job done, and Parrish is good when he’s not overused. He [Parrish] has one of the best left-on-left breaking balls and I still think we can get the same Tejeda as last year.”
Monday is Royal Nite at the K! Seats in the Hy-Vee Infield, Hy-Vee Box and Hy-Vee View sections are just $5 for tonight’s 7:10 game.
Here’s your Kansas City lineup: (DeJesus – RF), (Podsednik – LF), (Butler – 1B), (Guillen – DH), (Callaspo – 2B), (Kendall – C), (Gordon – 3B), (Maier – CF), (Betancourt – SS), (Davies – P)
The Royals today claimed outfielder Jai Miller on Outright Waivers from the Oakland Athletics and optioned him to Triple-A Omaha. To create a spot on the Major League 40-man roster, the club transferred infielder Josh Fields to the 60-day Disabled List.
Miller, whose first name is pronounced “Jay”, is a 25-year old outfielder who appeared in 10 games for Sacramento (AAA) in the A’s system this April. He was claimed by Oakland off waivers from the Florida Marlins on April 8. The 6-foot-3, 207 pound right-handed hitter and thrower had previously spent his entire career in the Marlins chain since being selected in the fourth round of the 2003 Draft. After appearing in one game for the Marlins on June 22, 2008, striking out in his only at bat, he spent the entire 2009 campaign at New Orleans (AAA) where he hit .289 with 24 doubles, two triples, 16 home runs, 52 RBI and 55 runs in 102 games.
Born in Auburn, Ala., he now resides in Selma where he starred on the baseball, basketball and football teams in high school. Miller was committed to play wide receiver and point guard at Stanford University before signing with the Marlins in 2003.
Joakim Soria notched his 94th career save today, making him the all-time saves leader among Mexican-born pitchers. The record was previously held by Aurelio Lopez, who debuted for the Royals in 1974. Lopez then pitched for the Cardinals in 1978. He recorded his first save in 1979 on his way to 21 that season with the Detroit Tigers. Lopez had 85 saves with Detroit (1979-85) and 8 with Houston (1986-87).
Fields to undergo surgery
Manager Trey Hillman told the media that infielder Josh Fields will undergo right labral hip surgery. He is likely out for the season at this point. The surgery will be performed by the same hip specialist that handled the surgeries for Alex Gordon and Alex Rodriguez.
Rick Ankiel left last night’s game with a slight pull of the right quad. Mitch Maier is in the lineup today and Ankiel is “probable” for a potential pinch hit appearance. The injury is considered day-to-day and not serious enough to send the outfielder to the D.L.
Second baseman Chris Getz is doing well and will start a rehab assignment on Monday in Omaha. The plan is for Getz to play three to four games with the O-Royals before returning to the Major League squad. He is eligible to return from the D.L. on Friday.
Joakim Soria pitched a season high 2.0 innings last night. His availability for Sunday’s game depends on the situation.
Josh Rupe worked out of a bases-loaded situation last night, then worked another scoreless frame. Hillman is pleased with Rupe’s progress and his aggressiveness on the mound.