October 2011

Royals exercise 2012 club option on pitcher Joakim Soria

The Royals announced today that the club has exercised the 2012 club option on closer Joakim Soria.  Consistent with club policy, terms of the option were not disclosed.

“This decision was more of a formality,” Royals GM Dayton Moore said.  “Joakim has been an exceptional closer for the last five years.  For us to put together a strong pitching staff in 2012, it is important that Joakim remain a key component at the back end of the bullpen.”

Soria, 27, was 5-5 with 28 saves and a 4.03 ERA in 60 relief appearances in 2011.  From June 1 through the end of the season, Soria converted 21 of 23 save opportunities while posting a 2.58 ERA.  The two-time American League All-Star (2008, 2010) has compiled 160 saves in 180 opportunities while posting a 2.40 ERA in five seasons with the Royals since making his debut in 2007.


Francoeur, Gordon named finalists for Rawlings Gold Glove

RF Jeff Francoeur and LF Alex Gordon are finalists for the 2011 Rawlings Gold Glove Awards!  Winners will be announced at 9:00 p.m. Central on Tuesday, November 1 on ESPN2.  For a full list of finalists, which includes three players in each league at every position, visit the following website:


Royals and Alex Gordon host online auction to benefit Diamond Dawgs, American Cancer Society

The Royals and outfielder Alex Gordon are hosting an online auction featuring unique autographed memorabilia to benefit the Diamond Dawgs, a youth baseball team from Lincoln, Neb., and the American Cancer Society. 

As part of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, the special auction features pink-themed items autographed by Gordon as well as teammates including Billy Butler, Jeff Francoeur and Luke Hochevar.  The auction, which is now open at http://royals.auction.mlb.com/, will close on Monday, October 31 at 5 p.m. 

The Diamond Dawgs honor the mothers of two team members who have lost their lives to cancer each time they take the field by wearing pink jerseys featuring words like “hope” and “fight.”  In addition to raising awareness for cancer research, the youngsters are raising funds for both the American Cancer Society and to participate in a tournament next summer in Cooperstown, N.Y.

In support of the Diamond Dawgs, Gordon is hosting a Playing for Pink Casino Night scheduled for Saturday, November 19 in Lincoln, Neb.  The event, which will be held at The Lodge at Wilderness Ridge, will feature appearances from Butler, Francoeur, Hochevar and Royals hitting coach Kevin Seitzer.  In addition, fellow big leaguers and former Nebraska Cornhuskers including Joba Chamberlain, Brian Duensing and Tony Watson are also scheduled to attend.

Fans are encouraged to visit www.crowdrise.com/playingforpink for information on the Playing for Pink Casino Night or to donate to the cause.

Eiland treasures opportunity with KC

 Last month, Royals manager Ned Yost was asked what he wanted in a pitching coach. Yost mentioned that he was seeking someone who worked hard and had a long playing career while having mediocre stuff.  Naturally, the first question for new Kansas City pitching coach Dave Eiland in today’s conference call with reporters centered on whether he fit the bill.   Eiland was very candid in his self-evaluation as a pitcher, saying that his “stuff” was probably even south of mediocre.  He had to work very hard to stay in the game by studying hitters and other pitchers during a playing career that spanned 14 seasons, including parts of 10 seasons in the Majors.

Eiland is proud and honored to be in the Royals organization.  The Florida resident recently spent a day with Ned Yost at the manager’s farm in Georgia.  While he didn’t drive a tractor or go hunting with the skipper, Eiland found that they share similar personal and professional philosophies.  He later met with Dayton Moore and the Royals baseball operations staff in Kansas City, where Eiland again discovered similar goals and beliefs. 

Eiland is eager for Spring Training to begin, though he’ll have to wait until February.  At the moment, his number one priority is to familiarize himself with the club’s pitchers.  He expects to be poring over video of his new pupils by Wednesday and soon after will begin reaching out to the pitchers. 

He knows that the Royals have a strong collection of good, young power arms.  Eiland has experience working with young arms from his time with Yankees – both as a minor league coach and as the club’s Major League pitching coach from 2008 to 2010.  Eiland can also pass along personal knowledge of what it’s like to make it to “the show” at a young age – he debuted for the Yankees at age 22 after just one appearance at the Triple-A level.


Royals name Dave Eiland as the Major League Pitching Coach

The Royals today announced that the club has named Dave Eiland as the Major League Pitching Coach.

“We are delighted to have Dave join our coaching staff,” Royals General Manager Dayton Moore said.  “He is an extremely talented pitching coach and a proven winner who has the ability to relate to the young pitchers who are transitioning to the Majors.  He has also shown effectiveness in working with established pitchers.  Ned and our entire baseball operations staff have strong convictions about Dave’s ability to make a positive difference with our pitching staff.”

Eiland (pronounced: “Island”), 45, served the Tampa Bay Rays in 2011 as a special assistant to Andrew Friedman after working from 2008-2010 as the New York Yankees pitching coach, including helping the Yankees to 103 wins and a World Series title in 2009.  New York pitchers combined to strike out 1,260 batters in 2009; the franchise’s second-highest total in history.  Prior to his time as the Major League pitching coach, Eiland spent five seasons as the pitching coach in the Yankees minor league system as three separate levels.  As a player, he appeared in 92 career Major League games, including 70 starts, over 10 seasons with the Yankees (1988-91, 1995), San Diego Padres (1992-93) and Tampa Bay Devil Rays (1998-2000) and compiled a 12-27 career record with a 5.74 ERA.

Eiland and his wife, Sandra, have two daughters, Nicole and Natalie, and reside in Wesley Chapel, Fla.

Giavotella undergoes surgery, Chavez claimed by Blue Jays

The Royals announced today that second baseman Johnny Giavotella underwent arthroscopic surgery yesterday to correct a labral tear in his right hip.  The surgery was performed by Dr. Marc Philippon in Vail, Colo.  Recovery time is estimated at 10-12 weeks, meaning Giavotella is expected to be available for the start of Spring Training in February, 2012.

In addition, the Royals also announced that right-handed pitcher Jesse Chavez was claimed on Outright Waivers by the Toronto Blue Jays.  Chavez was designated for assignment by the Royals on October 11.

Royals claim pitcher Aaron Laffey on outright waivers from the Yankees

The Royals today announced that the club has claimed left-handed pitcher Aaron Laffey on Outright Waivers from the New York Yankees. To create room on the 40-man roster, the club designated right-handed pitcher Jesse Chavez for assignment.

The 26-year-old Laffey was acquired by the Seattle Mariners from the Cleveland Indians on March 2 of this year and made 36 relief appearances out of the Mariners bullpen, going 1-1 with a 4.01 ERA.

The Yankees then claimed Laffey on waivers on August 19 and he went 2-1 with a 3.38 ERA in 11 relief appearances down the stretch. He did not appear on the Yankees playoff roster. The 6-foot, 200-pounder is 21-23 with a 4.34 ERA in 126 career Major League appearances, including 49 starts.

Laffey debuted with the Indians, who originally selected him in the 16th round of the 2003 Draft, as a 22-year-old in 2007. Laffey and his wife, Jackie, have one son, Braeden, and reside in Cumberland, Md.

Chavez, 28, spent a majority of the 2011 campaign with Triple-A Omaha, but also posted a 10.57 ERA in four relief appearances over two stints with the Royals.


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