July 2011

Photos: All-Star Legends and Celebrity Softball batting practice

 

Today is July 11 – we are less than a year away from the All-Star Game in Kansas City, which will take place on July 10, 2012!

Several staff members from the Royals are on hand in Arizona to observe the All-Star activities this week.  Our community relations and publicity team was on hand to observe the batting practice session for the All-Star Legends & Softball Game.  Participants included Erin Andrews, Chris Pratt and Jordin Sparks.  Let’s take a look!

Former New York Yankee Bernie Williams prepares for the softball game.

 
 

American Idol winner and Arizona native Jordin Sparks met with the media. She will be singing the national anthem prior to Tuesday's All-Star Game.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Carlos Bocanegra, captain of the U.S. men's soccer team, chats with Olympic softball star Jennie Finch. Notice that Carlos is wearing a Royals patch!!!

 
 
 
 

Washington state native Chris Pratt of Parks and Recreation donned a Mariners hat.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Erin Andrews answers questions for her fellow media members.

Ned Yost media session: July 10

Before wrapping a four-game series with today’s 1:10 finale vs. the Detroit Tigers, Royals manager Ned Yost spoke with the media about today’s match up with Detroit Tigers ace right-hander Justin Verlander against the squad’s young players. Yost commented that he wants his rookies to experience one of the baseball’s best pitchers to gain understanding of what to expect throughout their career.

“It’s all apart of their education, it’s all apart of their experience,” Yost said. “It’s important in terms of their development that they face these guys…these are kids [Royals] we’re counting on to be big run producers in the future.”

The skipper explained not only the importance of the squad’s hitting development but his strategy to beat a good pitcher such as Verlander and his confidence in today’s left-handed starter Jeff Francis.

“I think the best way to beat a good pitcher is through your starting pitcher,” Yost said. “Jeff Francis is going to have to go out and matchup ‘til we get him (Verlander) out of the game and hopefully get into the bullpen.”

With the 2011 MLB All-Star Game this Tuesday July 12, the squad will be looking forward to three days off before heading out on the road to face the Minnesota Twins for a four-game matchup. Yost comments that the All-Star break comes at a good time for everyone to rest and gear up for the next series and the second half of the season.

Royals lineup and KidsFest

Today is KidsFest at Kauffman Stadium!  The fun starts at 11:30 in the Outfield Experience, with Nickeloden characters Dora the Explorer and Spongebob Squarepants set to make appearances.  The first 8,000 kids 14 and under will receive this superhero cape courtesy of U.S. Toy!

Here’s the lineup for the Royals:

(Getz – 2B), (Cabrera – CF), (Gordon – LF), (Butler – DH), (Hosmer – 1B), (Francoeur – RF), (Moustakas – 3B), (Pena – C), (Escobar – SS), (Francis – P)

Ned Yost media session: July 9

Heading into Saturday’s 6:10 game three against the Detroit Tigers, Royals manager Ned Yost said he would like to see starter Luke Hochevar throw a lot of strikes and avoid giving the opposition a big inning that has overshadowed recent strong starts.

“It’s always like one inning that he gets in trouble, but he’s working through that,” Yost said. “He knows it and he’s trying to find ways to deter it.”

Yost also praised his young club for their ability to bounce back from close losses. The Royals are 19-29 in games decided by two runs or less.

“I’ve been very impressed with the way that our kids continue to deal with tough losses,” Yost described. “These kids have the ability to feel it and wear it, but when they come through the clubhouse door the next day, they push it off and they’re ready to go again.”

KC’s skipper pointed out that losing can have a domino effect and that his young team has shown resilience to avoid letting a carryover take place.

“That’s good because when losses pile up, they can lead to more losses if you let them,” Yost explained. “These kids have done a really, really good job of not letting that happen.”

Wilson Betemit will start at third base on Saturday night in a spot start that Yost had already planned before Betemit entered Friday’s game following Chris Getz’s ejection at the end of the fourth inning. 

“Last night was a good opportunity to get Wilson at-bats, and then [tonight will] give him back-to-back days with some at-bats,” Yost said. “It’s hard to trying to do what he’s doing – keep his timing, staying sharp – when you’re playing once every 10 days.”

Yost said that regular third basemen Mike Moustakas will return to the starting lineup on Sunday. He noted that his rookie might benefit from a night off to get a mental break, and that he wants Moustakas facing off against Detroit ace Justin Verlander in the series finale.

 

Saturday lineup vs. Tigers

The Royals host Detroit tonight at 6:10.  The first 20,000 fans will receive a Monarchs pennant from Sprint.

Here’s the lineup:

(Getz – 2B), (Cabrera – CF), (Gordon – LF), (Butler – DH), (Hosmer – 1B), (Francoeur – RF), (Betemit – 3B), (Treanor – C), (Escobar – SS), (Hochevar – P)

Ned Yost media session: July 8

Before Friday’s 7:10 second game of a four-game set against an American League Central foe in the Detroit Tigers, Royals manager Ned Yost spoke about the process involved with handling young players through a transition year. He identified the long-term goal of the franchise and noted that his young players were improving each week.

“We’re getting more experienced day-by-day. We’re headed in the right direction in a lot of areas,” Yost said. “Our bullpen is markedly improved, we’re still trying to develop starting pitching all throughout the organization and I think we’ve got the nucleus of a good offense.”

Yost described that he and General Manager Dayton Moore agree that the best way to reach championship caliber occurs by putting together a roster of mostly drafted talent and bringing those athletes through a strong minor league system. Kansas City currently boasts seven former first-round picks on the 25-man active roster.

“That was Dayton’s plan from the minute that he got here – a team full of home-grown players,” Yost explained. “He’s stayed true to that.”

With that plan in place, Yost outlined the type of club the Royals need to be to contend for years to come.

“You have to do it with speed and defense. I think you have to do it with starting pitching,” Yost stated. “Dayton, the scouting department and our player development people have worked very hard in all of those aspects to try to get us to where we can compete every day.”

 

Friday lineup, Buck Night and fireworks

Tonight is Buck Night at Kauffman Stadium!  Hot dogs, small Pepsi products and peanuts are just $1 each all night long.  Stay after the game for Fireworks Friday presented by Hy-Vee and Pepsi!  Here’s the lineup:

(Getz – 2B), (Cabrera – CF), (Gordon – LF), (Butler – DH), (Hosmer – 1B), (Francoeur – RF), (Moustakas – 3B), (Pena – C), (Escobar – SS), (Davies – P)

Ned Yost media session: July 7

Prior to Thursday’s 7:10 contest vs. the Detroit Tigers at Kauffman Stadium, Royals manager Ned Yost spoke with media about left fielder Alex Gordon’s improvements throughout the season. The skipper explained that Gordon’s adjustments on his swing during the off season have contributed to his approach at the plate, keeping his approach much more relaxed and his swing spending more time in the strike zone. The Royals manager has also been a big supporter of the “Final Vote for Gordon” social media campaign.

“I think Alex Gordon is extremely deserving,” Yost said. “More than anything I think it’s an opportunity to do something special with our fan base.”

Yost explained that the campaign provides positive incentives by connecting the fans with the Royals organization. With combined efforts during the social media campaign, the fans and the team build a relationship to make something happen. With rookie right-hander Aaron Crow selected as an American League All-Star Game representative, Yost boasts about his confidence in Crow.

“We have taken Aaron Crow up until this point and inserted him in points of the game against the toughest hitters that the opposition has…and he has handled it superbly,” Yost said.

It was announced by Yost that catcher Jason Kendall, who has been on the 60-day disabled list due to right shoulder surgery, has suffered another tear in his right shoulder and is scheduled for surgery next Wednesday, July 13.  Kendall is out for all of 2011.

Press conference notes: Aaron Crow and Alex Gordon

Before Thursday’s 7:10 home opener vs. the Detroit Tigers, rookie reliever Aaron Crow and left fielder Alex Gordon sat down with theKansas City media to discuss the upcoming 2011 MLB All-Star Game hosted at Chase Field inPhoenix,Arizona, home of the Arizona Diamondbacks. The right-handed reliever Crow, has already been selected by Rangers manager Ron Washington to represent the American League and spoke about his reaction to the news and praised his fellow teammate, Gordon, for his effort in earning a spot as the All-Star Final Vote Candidate.

“I think it’s something that everybody always dreams about doing and I’m fortunate enough to have this opportunity,” Crow said. “I think Alex [Gordon] has been the best player on the team by far this whole year and I think he is the most deserving fromKansas City.”

Despite pitching struggles at Double-A Northwest Arkansas last year, Crow credits minor league pitching coordinator Bill Fischer, who is here in Kansas City currently, for getting him where he is today. With patience and progress over time, Crow explained that Fischer, along with his other minor league coaches, helped him fight through adversity.

Gordon had nothing but thanks to give to his fans, coaches, and teammates for their support in the “Final Vote for Gordon” social media campaign.

“Our players and our coaches, especially Ned [Yost] have really gone out of their way to give me some support,” Gordon said. “It’s really been a great honor. Win or lose, just to be up for All-Star vote is something special.”

Even though Gordon fell just short of the Final Vote for the 2011 MLB All-Star Game finishing third to winner Paul Konerko of the White Sox, the left fielder focuses on working hard every day as a player and contributing to his team to help win games.

Brett sends his best wishes to Jeter

Ruth, Gehrig, DiMaggio, Mantle…the list of legendary hitters from the Yankees goes on and on.  Yet to this day, no player has amassed 3,000 hits as a Yankee, something that Derek Jeter is poised to do in the next few days to become just the 28th member of that elite fraternity.

Hall of Fame third baseman George Brett accumulated 3,154 hits, all with the Royals.  These days, Brett enjoys his retirement from the game by spending time with his family.   Each time a player nears 3,000 hits or chases .400 into August, he receives several phone calls from media members asking about his take on the possible feat.  Requests filtered in with Jeter’s chase, partly because he is also nearing the mark while playing for only one club. The Royals arranged today for Brett to speak on a media conference call regarding Jeter’s chase of 3,000.

The KC legend believes that Jeter’s first plate appearance on Thursday night will be tough due to the anticipation.  However, he notes that Jeter has dealt with plenty of pressure situations (Jeter has 679 postseason plate appearances, the equivalent of a full regular season).  Brett believes that getting three hits in a four-game series will be easier on Jeter than the pressure of a World Series.  He believes that number 3,000 will be the most difficult and that Jeter may not record the hit in his first or second attempt.

Brett has never met the New York shortstop, though he watches him on television and when the Yankees play in Kansas City.  While they are from different eras, Brett admires Jeter’s consistent play, noting that Jeter comes to play every day.  He described Jeter as the “straw that stirs the drink” for the Yankees and will be pleased to welcome him to the 3,000 hit club.

 

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