September 2011

Dayton Moore press conference notes

After wrapping up the 2011 season, Royals General Manager Dayton Moore expressed his thoughts in a press conference on Thursday. After several rookie call-ups throughout 2011, Moore couldn’t be happier with the organization’s decisions and the progression of each rookie. The Royals had 16 rookies play at the Major League level during the 2011 season.  The group of fresh faces included debuts by Nate Adcock, Louis Coleman, Tim Collins, Aaron Crow, Danny Duffy, Johnny Giavotella, Kelvin Herrera, Eric Hosmer, Mike Moustakas, Salvador Perez, Manny Pina and Everett Teaford.  Moore explained that he was impressed with the overall approach the rookies developed at the Major League level and their efforts during the season. Most of the Major League debuts came earlier than anticipated.  Moore commented that the organization expected Moustakas and Duffy to appear in 2011 but reevaluated the development pace of other rookies after observing the team’s progress during Spring Training.

“Spring Training we began to refocus on the timetable, just how they adjusted into that setting,” Moore said. “They’re very comfortable, they’re very sure, they’re very confident leaders, just very poised people, and the way they handle that environment perhaps it can come a little quicker.”

Moore praised pitching coach Bob McClure for his passion and time with the Kansas City Royals. McClure has been released from the coaching staff after spending six seasons with the squad. The GM went on to say that McClure gave a tremendous amount of his talent and teachings to the team along with bench coach John Gibbons, who was released from the after three seasons.  Moore credited Gibbons for his outstanding knowledge of the game, but explained that the organization’s decision was based on a different approach in certain areas and a new voice amongst the coaching staff.

Ned [Yost] certainly has a vision for what he wants and he’s with the players every single day,” Moore said. “He knows what they need and we have to trust his opinion there and his judgment there and that’s what we’ll do.”

Moore touched on Royals 2011 First-Year Player Draft pick Bubba Starling and his underage drinking citation that occurred last Saturday in Tempe, Arizona. Moore had nothing but positive things to say about the incident and pointed out that it is a learning experience for Starling. The GM explained that everyone goes through life lessons and this is just one of those lessons that Starling will grow from.

“When things like that happen with our young players it’s the greatest teaching moment that we can have, we can’t recreate that,” Moore said. “Part of being a role model is how you handle mistakes.”

Moore looks forward to the 2012 season and the MLB All-Star Game set for July 10th at Kauffman Stadium.  He says that everyone will be working towards a better year, including the players, staff and coaches. Moore explains that the progress made in 2011 shows other teams just a glimpse of what the organization has in store and that everyone will have to work that much harder for steady improvement overall.

“The Kansas City Royals aren’t sneaking up on anyone next year,” Moore said. “It’s going to be a different challenge for us next year.”

Eric Hosmer voted A.L. Rookie of the Month for September

Royals first baseman Eric Hosmer has been voted the September recipient of the Gillette presents American League Rookie of the Month Award.

Hosmer, who also won the award for the month of July, led A.L. rookies with 37 hits and 21 runs scored in 25 contests during September. The 21-year-old added seven doubles, five home runs, a .557 slugging percentage, a .360 on-base percentage, and was tied for the A.L.-rookie lead with 19 RBI. The left-handed-hitting slugger collected 11 multi-hit games during the month, including a five-for-five performance in a 10-2 victory over the Detroit Tigers on September 20th at Kauffman Stadium. In the contest, Hosmer recorded four singles and a three-run home run for the 39th five-hit game in Royals franchise history. The third overall selection in the 2008 First-Year Player Draft compiled a nine-game hitting streak from September 14th-24th, batting .476 (20-for-42) with two home runs and seven RBI in that stretch. Hosmer finished the season among the A.L. rookie leaders in a number of offensive categories, including runs (66, 1st); hits (153, 1st); multi-hit games (42, 1st); batting average (.293, 2nd); RBI (78, 2nd); total bases (243, 2nd); doubles (27, 2nd); extra-base hits (49, 2nd); home runs (19, 3rd); walks (34, 3rd); slugging percentage (.465, 3rd); on-base percentage (.334, 4th); and stolen bases (11, T-6th). In addition, his 26 go-ahead RBI and 13 game-winning RBI led A.L. rookies and the Royals in 2011. He joined Bo Jackson (1987) and Carlos Beltran (1999) as the third Royals rookie with at least 18 home runs and 10 stolen bases. The 19 home runs hit by Hosmer rank fifth all-time in franchise history among rookies, and among the 19, 12 either tied the game (four) or gave Kansas City a lead (eight).

Other rookies receiving votes included Chicago White Sox third baseman Brent Morel (.224, 8 HR, 19 RBI, 4 2B, 14 R, .553 SLG); Hosmer’s teammates Salvador Perez (.375, 2 HR, 13 RBI, 3 2B, 1 3B, 14 R, .400 OBP) and Mike Moustakas (.352, 4 HR, 12 RBI, 6 2B, 1 3B, 10 R, .580 SLG); Tampa Bay Rays right-hander Jeremy Hellickson (2-0, 2.67 ERA, 33.2 IP, 1 CG, 20 H, 11 SO, 16 BB); Oakland Athletics second baseman Jemile Weeks (.323, 2 HR, 12 RBI, 7 2B, 15 R, .455 SLG); Baltimore Orioles right-hander Pedro Strop (2-0, 12 G, 12.1 IP, 8 H, 12 SO, 3 BB); and Minnesota Twins infielder Trevor Plouffe (.235, 2 HR, 13 RBI, 8 2B, 15 R).

 

Ned Yost reviews 2011, talks about 2012

As the 2011 season concludes for the Kansas City Royals, manager Ned Yost wrapped up the year with his final thoughts and statements in a press conference held today at Kauffman Stadium. Yost informed the media that bench coach John Gibbons and pitching coach Bob McClure will not be returning for the 2012 season. Gibbons had been with the Royals for three seasons after being named to the staff on October 13, 2008 and McClure had spent six seasons with the Royals. Yost praised both of the coaches for their time and talents that set a great foundation for KC’s young squad.

Yost commented that the organization is looking for a bench coach to guide the squad’s collection of young Latin catchers including Salvador Perez, Brayan Pena and Manny Pina. Yost stated that candidates for the pitching role will bring energy, a competitive spirit and a focused approach. Yost and the Royals organization agree that they have some big shoes to fill in both areas but are looking forward to adding to their coaching staff.

“They’re really hard to find, so you have to find one like I did with Mike Maddux [former Milwaukee pitching coach, now with Texas].  We got Maddux out of Double-A,” Yost said. “I’m looking for a guy that pitched in the big leagues for a long time with mediocre stuff… and those guys that have to work really hard at their game and have longevity usually are going to make dynamic pitching coaches.”

Offensively and defensively the Royals squad made steps towards improving. Yost commented that he would like to see his players take more walks in the 2012 season but explains that everything comes with experience and time. For the rookies, the 2011 season has been full of learning experiences which will only help the team enter next season with a more relaxed approach. Yost praised his squad for surpassing his expectations during the 2o11 season and explains how the Royals organization has taken great strides to get where they are today.

“What Dayton has done here in the last five years in rebuilding this system has been amazing, with the scouts that he has hired, both professional and amateur, to get these players, to beat the bushes all over the country to find these special players and then turn them over to an outstanding player development staff that has worked for the last three and four and five years with these guys and getting them ready to get to this point,” Yost said. “It’s been tremendous and now we’re starting to finally see it at the Major League level but it’s still a process.”

Minor league left-handed pitcher Mike Montgomery and Royals right-handed reliever Aaron Crow were mentioned by Yost as players that will have a chance to compete for a starting role. Yost commented that both the squad’s rookies and veterans have impressed him during the month of September by pushing through, continuing to stay focused all the way till the very end.

“I’ve never seen a group of guys that played so hard in September, being in our situation, with their mindset to play hard, to finish the year out strong, and to get momentum going next year,” Yost said. “They we’re really focused and intent on doing that as a group.”

The Royals will host the 2012 MLB All-Star Game on July 10. Yost served as an All-Star coach for Bobby Cox while with Atlanta.  He explained that his previous experience with the All-Star Game was one of his greatest memories and beleives that it will be a memorable experience for the Royals organization, the squad, andKansas City. The Royals skipper encouraged fans and teams alike to enjoy all of the events, saying that it’s something you’ll never forget.

Royals acquire pitcher Ethan Hollingsworth from Oakland for Kila Ka’aihue

 The Royals announced today that the club has acquired minor league right-handed pitcher Ethan Hollingsworth from the Oakland Athletics in exchange for first baseman Kila Ka’aihue.  Hollingsworth was assigned to the Omaha (AAA) Storm Chasers roster.

The 24-year-old Hollingsworth spent a majority of the 2011 season with Midland (AA) in the Texas League, compiling a 6-5 record with a 3.61 ERA in 17 appearances, including 16 starts.  The 6-foot-2, 200-pounder also made a pair of late season starts with Triple-A Sacramento and one relief appearance in the Pacific Coast League playoffs.  Born and raised in Joliet, Ill., Hollingsworth, whose first name is Phillip but goes by his middle name Ethan, was originally drafted by the Colorado Rockies in the fourth round of the 2008 Draft out of Western Michigan University.  He was traded to Oakland for pitcher Clayton Mortensen on January 24, 2011.

Ka’aihue, 27, opened the season as the Royals starting first baseman and hit .195 (16-for-82) with two home runs in 23 games before being optioned to Omaha (AAA).  He spent the remainder of the season with the Storm Chasers and was designated for assignment by the Royals on September 21. 

 

Register now for 2012 KCrew auditions!

Do you have what it takes to entertain with the best?  The Royals will be holding auditions for the 2012 KCrew on Saturday, October 22 at Kauffman Stadium.  If you feel you have the style, skill and enthusiasm to be a member of the premier MLB interactive team, this is your chance to show us!

 The KCrew will be in its sixth season as a MLB entertainment team, and the Royals are eager to select individuals that will demonstrate excellent entertainment and performance ability and a highly enthusiastic personality.  In addition to providing entertainment at home games, the KCrew is called upon to make promotional appearances and participate in community and charity events.  The 2012 KCrew will be a part of MLB All-Star events, including the FanFest, Futures Game and All-Star Game!

It’s your time to shine, so come out to this year’s KCrew auditions.  The deadline to apply is Monday, October 17.  Make sure to fill out all the necessary paperwork – those selected to audition will be notified by mail before October 22. Registration information can be found on the Official K Crew Web page.  For more information, e-mail kcrew@royals.com.

Weekend preview: Melky marches toward 200

The Royals are in Chicago tonight to battle the White Sox in a 7:10 start at U.S. Cellular Field (FSKC/Royals Radio Network).  Melky Cabrera enters Friday with 196 hits on the season.  He looks to become the seventh player in franchise history with 200 or more hits in a season.  Let’s take a look at the list:

Willie Wilson – 230 in 1980

George Brett – 215 in 1976

Johnny Damon - 214 in 2000

George Brett – 212 in 1979

Kevin Seitzer – 207 in 1987

Mike Sweeney – 206 in 2000

Ned Yost media session: September 21

Editor’s Note:  ATH would like to recognize our interns, who compile the Ned Yost media sessions on a daily basis throughout the season.  This year, we had Sarah, Tyler and Colby.  All three did a great job for our department.  Tyler left midseason to take a job with our football friends across the parking lot.  Colby stepped in and picked things up right away, giving us two people named Colby in the department (which was fun and sometimes confusing)!

Before wrapping up the final homestand of the 2011 season with tonight’s 7:10 contest vs. the Detroit Tigers, Royals manager Ned Yost summed up the season saying that the team has come a long way since Opening Day.

“We wanted to improve our defense beginning of the year and we feel like we’ve done that to a great degree,” Yost said. “We wanted to get these young guys up here, we wanted to give them experience and we’ve done that.”

Yost went on to explain that his squad accomplished most of the goals set out for 2011 setting up  a bright future for the year ahead. With Yost’s previous managing experience with the Milwaukee Brewers and coaching experience with the Atlanta Braves, he comments that he has seen this scenario before and is not surprised by how well the rookies have adapted and the overall improvement of team.

“You set your plan, you’ve got your vision and you just keep moving forward with what you’ve got,” Yost said.

Yost expects to see more consistency for 2012 as well learning from this season’s mistakes. Not only was the season a learning experience for the rookies but a learning experience for the Royals skipper as well. Yost went on to praise his squad for keeping up their drive and energy despite starting September out of the pennant race.

“It’s a really unique group of guys,” Yost said. “This group has played fantastic the month of September without any motivation from me.”

With today’s call ups of right-handers Kelvin Herrera, Vin Mazzaro, Sean O’Sullivan, outfielders Lorenzo Cain and Jarrod Dyson, and catcher Manny Pina; the Royals will be looking to give playing time opportunities. Yost commented that in the next few days he would like to place Mazzaro in middle relief and look at possibilities for a starting pitcher such as Mazzaro or O’Sullivan for September 27in Minnesota. After concluding the home slate with tonight’s game, the Royals will set off for a six game road trip with a pair of three-game series vs. the Chicago White Sox and the Minnesota Twins to end the season.

Home finale – Join us at The K!

Here’s the lineup for tonight’s 7:10 start vs. Detroit:

Gordon – LF

Cabrera – CF

Butler – DH

Hosmer – 1B

Francoeur – RF

Moustakas – 3B

Giavotella – 2B

Perez – C

Escobar – SS

Paulino – RHP

Ned Yost media session: September 20

Before opening a two game series with tonight’s 7:10 contest vs. the Detroit Tigers, Royals manager Ned Yost gave an update on closer Joakim Soria. The two-time All-Star has been day-to-day with a strained right hamstring since pitching the ninth inning for a 2-1 win for the Royals at Seattle on September 11.  Soria played catch today but has yet to throw a side session.  With Soria out, this leaves opportunities for relief pitchers Aaron Crow and Greg Holland.

“It’s not a bad thing to give them [Crow andH olland] closing experience even though it’s a week or two weeks,” Yost said. “Every little bit of experience helps.”

Designated hitter Billy Butler is out of the lineup today due to illness. Mitch Maier will be filling the designated hitter role and batting seventh. The Royals skipper confirmed that Butler has a small touch of the flu bug. Butler is receiving treatment and Yost hopes that he will be ready for Wednesday.

“If it was a real dire situation we’d probably play him [Butler] tonight,” Yost said. “Right now we want to make sure we don’t want to wear him out too much and let him go ahead and finish the last seven games strong.”

Starting right-hander Luis Mendoza will be taking the mound for the Royals tonight, making his first big league appearance in 2011 after having his contract selected from Triple-A Omaha. Mendoza appeared in four games in 2010 as a reliever, with his last Major League start in 2008 with Texas.

Ned Yost media session: September 17

The Royals head into their 1:10 matchup with Chicago looking to complete a four-game sweep of the visiting White Sox.  The Royals have won seven in a row for the first time since September 13-18, 2008.  A win today will give them their first eight-game winning streak since opening the 2003 season with a 9-0 record.  Taking the hill for Kansas City will be veteran left-hander Bruce Chen, who is coming off his best start of the season Tuesday against Minnesota.  Bruce threw eight shutout innings in the Royals 4-0 victory, limiting the Twins to just two hits and a walk.

The talk in Royals manager Ned Yost’s media session, however, was all about the newest Royal, right-hander Luis Mendoza.  Mendoza, the Pacific Coast League Pitcher of the Year, was called up earlier this morning to make his 2011 debut on Tuesday night against Detroit, the American League Central Division champions.

Mendoza was 12-5 with a league-leading 2.18 ERA during the Pacific Coast League regular season.  He was also named the MVP of the postseason after helping Omaha win the Pacific Coast League Championship.  Tuesday will be his fifth appearance as a Royal and his first start for Kansas City.

Yost liked what he saw of Mendoza in spring training, even though Mendoza didn’t make the Major League roster to start the season.  Yost mentioned that Mendoza not making the Opening Day roster had more to do with the other Royals pitchers than it did with Mendoza.

“I’d have taken him [Mendoza] on the club, he threw that well.  But we had other guys that were throwing the ball really well, too.  He made some adjustments last year in Triple-A [Omaha], so when he came to spring training this year, he threw the ball very, very well,” Yost said. 

“He had a nice, downhill action on his fastball and nice breaking stuff.  He actually had a very, very good spring.  He just kind of got caught up in the numbers.  We’re excited that he went to Triple-A [Omaha] and had a great year.  We’re excited to see him here for his last two games.”

Yost mentioned that having situations like Mendoza’s, having too many quality players for a limited number of spots, is a necessity for a ball club to be able to compete.  Those players provide much-needed depth in the minor leagues in case of an injury.

“You’ve got to have that depth.  We were very lucky that we didn’t have an outfielder go down this year.  We didn’t have injuries,” Yost said.

“When you get to a point where you can compete, if somebody gets hurt, you better have another quality player that you can plug in there so you don’t miss a beat.  Depth is very, very important.  And it’s most important in your pitching department.”

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