December 2010

Royals sign pitcher Zach Miner to a minor league contract

The Royals announced today that the club has signed right-handed pitcher Zach Miner to a minor league contract for the 2011 season. 

The 28-year-old Miner missed the entire 2010 campaign with a right elbow injury that required surgery in late May.  The 6-foot-3, 200-pounder is 25-20 with a 4.24 ERA in 157 career Major League appearances, including 35 starts, for the Detroit Tigers from 2006-2009.  Selected by the Atlanta Braves in the fourth round of the 2000 June Free Agent Draft, Miner was acquired by the Tigers along with pitcher Roman Colon in exchange for pitcher Kyle Farnsworth on July 31, 2005.

 

Royals assign infielders Arias and Zawadzki outright to Omaha

 
The Royals announced today that the club has assigned infielders Joaquin Arias and Lance Zawadzki outright to Omaha (AAA).  The Royals’ Major League roster remains at 40.

Zawadzki, 25, was designated for assignment by Kansas City on December 17 while the 26-year-old Arias was designated for assignment on December 19.

Royals Alumni Association makes holiday donations to Kansas City community

Wilson_LINC1.JPGMembers of the Royals Alumni Association donate their time throughout the year to help raise money for area families in need.  This season, the group is helping make the holidays brighter by donating a total of $22,000 to area community and charitable organizations.  

Today, Royals Hall of Fame outfielder Willie Wilson made a check presentation at Community LINC in Kansas City while former catcher and manager John Wathan presented a donation to the Blue Springs Rainbow Center.

Wathan_Rainbow_Center.JPGThe following programs received donations from the Alumni Association this year: The Avery Anne Christiansen Foundation, Bill Self’s Assists Foundation, Blue Springs Elk’s Lodge, Blue Springs Rainbow Center, Boys & Girls Club, Boys Hope Girls Hope, City Union Mission, Community LINC, Cross Points Church- Alms Fund, Grace Church, House of Hope, KC Rescue Mission, New House Shelter, Operation Breakthrough, Rose Brooks, Salvation Army, St. Anne’s Episcopal Church, TLC, Whatsoever Community Center, and the YMCA Challenger Program.

Thank you to the Alumni Association and to those who have participated in fundraising events, including the batting practice events at Kauffman Stadium and fantasy camps in Surprise, Arizona!

Royals acquire Escobar, Cain, Odorizzi and Jeffress from Brewers for Greinke, Betancourt and cash

The Royals announced today that the club has acquired shortstop Alcides Escobar, outfielder Lorenzo Cain, and right-handed pitchers Jake Odorizzi and Jeremy Jeffress from the Milwaukee Brewers in exchange for right-handed pitcher Zack Greinke, shortstop Yuniesky Betancourt and cash considerations. 

Escboar, whose first name is pronounced “al-SEE-dees”, turned 24 last Thursday and spent his first full Major League season in 2010 with Milwaukee as the club’s shortstop.  The 6-foot-1, 182-pounder hit .235 (119-for-506) with 14 doubles, 10 triples, four home runs, 41 RBI and 57 runs scored.  The 10 triples ranked tied for third in the National League and set a new franchise rookie record.  The right-handed hitter and thrower also stole 10 bases in 14 attempts.  Escobar entered the 2010 campaign rated by Baseball America as the top prospect in the Brewers organization and the number 12 overall prospect in baseball by the same publication.  He was a career .293 hitter with 176 stolen bases in 647 minor league games since being signed by Milwaukee as a non-drafted free agent on July 9, 2003.  Born in La Sabana, Venezuela, Escobar now resides in Vargas, Venezuela, with his daughter, Gabriela.

The 24-year-old Cain got his first taste of big league action last season, hitting .306 with 11 doubles, one triple, one home run, 13 RBI and 17 runs scored in 43 games for the Brewers.  Appearing mostly in center field, the 6-foot-2, 192-pound Cain also added seven stolen bases in eight attempts.  The right-handed hitter and thrower opened 2010 with Huntsville (AA), batting .324 in 62 games and would have started the Southern League All-Star Game had he not been promoted to Nashville (AAA).  The speedster has hit .291 in 584 minor league contests with 124 stolen bases in 159 attempts.  Selected by Milwaukee in the 17th round in 2004 out of Tallahassee Community College, Cain was born in Valdosta, Ga., but currently calls Madison, Fla., home.

Odorizzi (oh-duh-RIZZ-ee), 20, earned Brewers’ Minor League Pitcher of the Year in 2010 after compiling a 7-3 record with a 3.43 ERA in 23 appearances (20 starts) for Wisconsin (A) in the Midwest League.  The 6-foot-2, 175-pound right-hander allowed just 99 hits in 120.2 innings, walking 40 and striking out 135, pacing the circuit with 10.1 strikeouts per nine innings.  Odorizzi was recently rated by Baseball America as the eighth-best prospect in the talent-rich Midwest League.  The Highland, Ill., native was drafted in 2008 by the Brewers in the supplemental first round (32nd overall) following a senior season at Highland High in which he was named Illinois Gatorade Player of the Year.  Odorizzi turned down a scholarship offer from the University of Louisville to play both baseball and football to sign with the Brewers. 

The 23-year-old Jeffress (JEFF-ress) pitched at four levels in the Brewers system last season, including making 10 relief appearances for Milwaukee in the final month.  The 6-foot, 190-pound right-hander was 1-0 with a 2.70 ERA for the Brewers in 10.0 innings.  He finished up 2010 by making 10 relief appearances for Surprise in the Arizona Fall League, posting a 3.09 ERA and striking out 14 in 11.2 innings, also striking out a pair in a scoreless inning at the AFL Rising Stars Game.  Jeffress also made stops in 2010 with Wisconsin (A), Brevard County (A Advanced) and Huntsville (AA).  The South Boston, Va., native earned Brewers’ Minor League Pitcher of the Year in 2008 when he struck out 115 in 94.0 combined innings for Brevard County and Huntsville.  Jeffress was selected by Milwaukee in the first round (16th overall) in 2006 out of Halifax County (Va.) High School.

Greinke, 27, was the Royals first-round pick (6th overall) in the 2002 Draft and has posted a 60-67 career mark since his debut in 2004.  The right-hander followed up his 2009 Cy Young campaign by going 10-14 with a 4.17 ERA in 33 starts in 2010.  Greinke leaves Kansas City seventh on the franchise list with 931 strikeouts, eighth with 169 starts, ninth with 67 losses and 10th with 1,108.0 innings pitched.

The 28-year-old Betancourt hit .259 with career-highs in home runs (16) and RBI (78) last season.  The shortstop was acquired by the Royals on July 10, 2009 from the Mariners in exchange for two minor league pitchers.

Escobar, Cain and Jeffress were added to the Royals 40-man roster while Odorizzi was assigned to the Wilmington (A Adavanced) roster.  In addition, the Royals designated infielder Joaquin Arias for assignment to bring the Major League roster to 40.

 

Royals designate Lance Zawadzki for assignment, add Melky Cabrera to 40-man

The Kansas City Royals announced today that the club has designated infielder Lance Zawadzki for assignment.  The move comes as the Royals signing of outfielder Melky Cabrera was officially confirmed by Major League Baseball and the MLB Players Association.  Cabrera will wear uniform number 53 with Kansas City.  The roster currently stands at 40.

Zawadzki, 25, was claimed by the Royals on outright waivers from the San Diego Padres on November 5. 

Royals announce 2010 organizational award winners

The Royals are pleased to announce the remaining organizational award winners for the 2010 season.  The honorees will be recognized at the 2011 Royals Awards Show, scheduled for Saturday, January 22 in conjunction with Royals FanFest presented by Sprint and Teva Neuroscience at the Overland Park Convention Center.

During the event, the Royals will recognize 12 honorees for their contributions both on and off the field in 2010.  Former Royals greats such as George Brett and Willie Wilson will be among the presenters in attendance.

Previously, the club announced the following award recipients as voted on by the Kansas City Chapter of the Baseball Writers Association of America (BBWAA).  Royals’ closer Joakim Soria  was the selection for the 2010 Bruce Rice Pitcher of the Year while Billy Butler was the 2010 Les Milgram Player of the Year for the second straight season.  Starter Bruce Chen was named the 2010 Joe Burke Special Achievement Award winner.

The remaining award recipients to be recognized at the event include:

Mike Moustakas, recipient of the George Brett Hitter of the Year – recognizing the organization’s top hitter. The 22-year-old third baseman combined to hit .322 with NW Arkansas (AA) and Omaha (AAA), tying for the minor league lead with 36 home runs.  The Royals’ first-round selection (2nd overall) in 2007 also posted 41 doubles and drove in 124 in being named the Sporting News Minor League Hitter of the Year, the Texas League Player of the Year, and a Baseball America 2010 first-team Minor League All-Star.

John Lamb, recipient of the Paul Splittorff Pitcher of the Year - recognizing the organization’s top pitcher. The 20-year-old pitched at three levels of the Royals system in 2010, wrapping up at NW Arkansas.  The six-foot-three lefty from Laguna Hills, Calif., was a combined 10-7 with a 2.38 ERA in 28 starts, allowing 122 hits in 147.2 innings, striking out 159 and walking just 45.  Lamb was a fifth-round pick of the Royals in 2008.

Derrick Robinson, recipient of the Willie Wilson Base Runner of the Year - recognizing the organization’s top base runner.  The 23-year-old patrolled center field for the Texas League-champion Northwest Arkansas Naturals in 2010, hitting .286 with a league-leading 50 stolen bases in 67 attempts.  The speedster, drafted by the Royals in the fourth round in 2006, has swiped 236 bases in his professional career, including 181 in his last three campaigns, and is a two-time winner of the Willie Wilson Award, also earning the honor in 2008.

Eric Hosmer, recipient of the Frank White Defensive Player of the Year – recognizing the organization’s top defensive player.  Hosmer, 21, is an athletic first baseman who posted a .988 fielding percentage in 80 games at Wilmington (A Advanced) before upping that mark to .994 in 43 games at first for NW Arkansas.  At the plate, the Royals’ first-round pick (3rd overall) in 2008 batted a combined .338 with 43 doubles, nine triples, 20 home runs, 86 RBI and 87 runs, also stealing 14 bases in 16 attempts.

Buddy Baumann, recipient of the Mike Sweeney Award - recognizing a player who best represents the organization on and off the field.  The 23-year-old left-handed pitcher tirelessly volunteered for numerous community events throughout the 2010 season, visiting Wilmington-area schools and hospitals and conducting several baseball clinics.  Kansas City’s seventh-round selection in 2009 was 0-0 with a 1.80 ERA in three relief appearances for Burlington (A) to begin 2010 before going 4-2 with four saves and posting a 2.24 ERA in 31 games (14 starts) for Wilmington.

Brian Poldberg, recipient of the Dick Howser Player Development Person of the Year – recognizing an outstanding member of player development.  The only manager the NW Arkansas Naturals have ever known, Poldberg led the club to the Texas League Championship in 2010.  The team was also recently recognized as the Baseball America Minor League Club of the Year.  After ending a seven-year playing career, the Carter Lake, Iowa resident has been a coach and instructor in the Royals organization since 1987.

Sean Gibbs, recipient of the Art Stewart Scout of the Year – recognizing an outstanding scout.  Gibbs has served the Royals organization as an area scout since 2007.  He has scouted and signed several players including 2010 Burlington (R) Pitcher of the Year Crawford Simmons.

Andrew Layman, assistant general manager of the Wilmington Blue Rocks, is the recipient of the Matt Minker Award – recognizing an outstanding minor league affiliate employee.  Layman has directed the merchandise, ticket and stadium operations departments during his 19-year Blue Rocks tenure.  In 1998, he received the Governor’s Outstanding Volunteer Award for best exemplifying the spirit of volunteerism in recognition of his time invested with a local teen.  The Malvern, Pa. native is a 1992 graduate of Lynchburg College where he played lacrosse.  He currently makes his home in Wilmington with fiance, Jordan, and their son, Mason.

In addition, the Royals will honor Chuck Sailors with the Dan Quisenberry Special Achievement Award –  recognizing an outstanding member of the community.  In 2004, Sailors founded the KC Urban Youth Center at 28th and Troost in Kansas City, Mo.  Today, the center is part of three low-income housing communities in urban Kansas City serving more than 300 students and their families each year.  Sailors and his staff work daily with a holistic approach in order to offer hope, community and wholeness to children and youth living in traditionally underserved communities.

 

Royals designate Philip Humber for assignment

The Royals announced today that the club has designated right-handed pitcher Philip Humber for assignment.  The move comes as the Royals signing of outfielder Jeff Francoeur was officially confirmed by Major League Baseball and the MLB Players Association.  The roster now currently stands at 40.

Humber, 27, compiled a 2-1 record for the Royals with a 4.15 ERA in eight games (1 start).  He notched his first major League win on August 25 at Detroit, tossing 3.0 scoreless innings of relief.  The 6-foot-3 right-hander also was 5-6 with a 4.47 ERA in 21 appearances (20 starts) for Omaha (AAA).

Royals Charities Kids Holiday Party (photos)

May_Texeira.jpgSecond baseman Chris Getz, catcher Lucas May and pitcher Kanekoa Texeira visited with 80 area children on Tuesday at the Royals Charities Kids Holiday Party.  Children from Guadalupe Centers, Della Lamb, Operation Breakthrough and Spofford Home enjoyed dinner, made holiday crafts and visited with Sluggerrr.  All of the kids received a special gift from Santa Claus plus a stocking full of goodies.

Getz, May and Texeira signed autographs and visited with their new fans.  May even took the opportunity to sit and visit with Santa!


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Francoeur ready for leadership opportunity with young Royals team



francoeur 12-13-10_032.jpgJeff Francoeur
was officially introduced to the Kansas City media on Monday.  After a few questions, it seemed as if the outfielder with the engaging personality had known the reporters for several years.  Francoeur’s easy-going perspective should translate to a leadership role with a Kansas City franchise that is loaded with top prospects.  Francoeur transitioned to the majors in a similar situation in Atlanta.  He was a 21-year old outfielder on the 2005 “Baby Braves”.  A total of 18 rookies were a part of that club that won a division title.  Francoeur was helped by a group of veteran players that included Chipper Jones, Brian Jordan and John Smoltz

Francoeur, who also played in the 2010 World Series with Texas, looks to be the mentor to a group that includes Mike Moustakas and Eric Hosmer.  Francoeur sees the upside in the future of the franchise and is eager to be a part of it. 

While he accepts the leadership label, Francoeur also sees the best days of his career in the future.  Just 26, he knows what he needs to work on and cites that he has time to make improvements as many players figure out various parts of their game at later stages.

A few Francoeur facts and our observations:

francoeur 12-13-10_189.jpg*He is excited to play and live in Kansas City, citing similarities to the Atlanta suburb that he grew up in.  He has heard many good things about the city from former Royals and Braves GM John Schuerholz.

*Francoeur is looking forward to being reunited with pitcher Kyle Davies.  They played Little League together, both debuted with the Braves in 2005 and are good friends.

*Francoeur is passionate about football, including his hometown Atlanta Falcons.  He turned down a gridiron scholarship to Clemson by signing with the Braves out of high school.  Francoeur is already researching his new teammates as he plans to have a friendly football rivalry with Nebraska alum Alex Gordon.

*He sees himself as a gap-to-gap and doubles hitter, which should translate well to a spacious Kauffman Stadium.  Most of his home runs are line drives, not towering fly balls.  He told the media his goal each year is to hit 20 homers and 40 doubles. 

*He weighed 212 pounds during his best year in the Majors (2007).  Francoeur then added weight in an effort to improve his power, peaking at 242 pounds.  He is now looking to go back to a more athletic frame and a weight around 210.  Francoeur weighed 217 during his physical yesterday morning, which he jokingly attributed to a big breakfast.

Royals add Autograph Fast Pass opportunity to FanFest

Davies_Seitzer_Butler.JPGThe Royals have added an exciting opportunity for fans attending the 2011 Royals FanFest presented by Sprint and Teva Neuroscience – the Autograph Fast Pass.  This new online auction item allows fans to skip to the start of their choice of autograph lines and guarantee autographs from select Royals players.
Each Autograph Fast Pass allows the holder to move to the front of any two autograph lines during one day (Friday or Saturday) of FanFest, set for January 21-22 at the Overland Park Convention Center in Overland Park, Kan.  The Royals will sell 45 passes for each day (Friday and Saturday) with the starting bid at $75 per pass.
The Autograph Fast Pass auction is currently live at www.royals.com/fanfest.  The auction will run through noon on Friday, January 14.  All proceeds will benefit Royals Charities. 
Please note that the pass will be limited to only the holder – no friends of family members can accompany the holder in the autograph line.  Passes are not valid for admission to the event.  No photographs with participants will be allowed during the autograph sessions, and fans will be limited to one item per participant.  Complete package details and guidelines are available on the website.
In addition to appearances and autograph session featuring current, former and future Royals, fans can also celebrate the New Year in a big league way at Royals FanFest with new interactive games for all ages, main stage programs and more. 
Tickets for Royals FanFest may be secured by visiting www.royals.com/fanfest.  Tickets may also be purchased by calling (816) 504-4040 or visiting the Kauffman Stadium Box Office during business hours (Monday-Friday, 9 a.m.-5 p.m.).  Online and phone orders are subject to applicable service fees. 
Tickets purchased in advance are available at discounted prices. Advance two-day passes are $18 for adults and $9 for youth (ages 6-17), while advance single-day tickets are $12 for adults and $6 for youth.  All kids age five and under will be admitted free. 
Tickets will also be available at the Overland Park Convention Center on the days of the event.  New to the 2011 FanFest, Royals 2011 season ticket holders will be invited to an exclusive complimentary preview event on Thursday, January 20.
For a complete listing of prices and purchase options as well as updated information on players scheduled to appear and event programming, visit www.royals.com/fanfest

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