June 2012

Ned Yost media session: June 6

Manager Ned Yost met with the media this afternoon before tonight’s final game of the Minnesota Twins series. Alcides Escobar was given a break this game and Yuniesky Betancourt will be filling in for him at shortstop. Yost said, “He has had one day off all year long and it is just time. I look for a day off when we have another day off next to give him a “two-for-one”. It was the perfect scenario for him.”

To begin Interleague play on Friday, Eric Hosmer will be playing in right field along the side of Jeff Francoeur in center. “He (Hosmer) is such an athletic player and he will be able to make the adjustment. He looked good when we put him there during spring training,” said Yost. Hosmer gives the Royals options since he is able to play the outfield and first base. Yost said, “He is a very accomplish defender at first base and gives us options, which is a good thing to have. It opens up opportunities to get us our best hitters on the field.”

The Royals’ players are a bunch of hard workers that will show up to the field early to take batting practice and work on their defense. “These guys are young and advanced for being young. They all have a hunger to play the game right and at a championship level and they know that involves consistency. They work every single day on various aspects of their game to try to be the best that they can be.” In the end, all of their hard work is going to pay off and get them to where they want to go.

The off day tomorrow will give the Royals a clean slate with pitching. Yost said, “It benefits us more today than it does in Pittsburgh because generally we tend to pitch guys two days in a row and then give them a day off and I don’t have anyone in the scenario tonight. So we can use them today and they have an automatic day off tomorrow.” With the two off days coming up (also next Monday) it will provides the Royals with the opportunity to go with four starters until the St. Louis series next weekend.

Luke Hochevar has had a rough couple of starts for the Royals this season and they count on him to lead their staff alongside of Felipe Paulino and Bruce Chen. Yost said, “We constantly think about Hochevar and what we need to do to get him to be consistently successful. We think that we need to get him to focus more on his core pitches and if he can do that we think that will be the difference in him getting over the hump.”

Tomorrow Salvador Perez, Chris Getz and Everett Teaford will be in Omaha playing with the Storm Chasers. Perez caught seven innings yesterday in Arizona, so he is getting close to catching nine innings. “He will not be an everyday player when he first gets here because we have to work with him to getting back to an everyday routine, but I imagine he will catch four days a weeks and we are trying to prepare him for that schedule,” said Yost.  We will be seeing Perez back at Kauffman Stadium as soon as he is ready.


Royals compete second day of draft

The Kansas City Royals completed the second day of the 2012 First-Year Rule 4 Player Draft today, selecting 14 players after drafting University of San Francisco pitcher Kyle Zimmer in the first round (fifth overall) on Monday. 
Kansas City’s first selection of the day came in the second round (66th overall) with 21-year-old Sam Selman, a left-handed pitcher from Vanderbilt University.  Left-hander pitcher Colin Rodgers, from Parkview Baptist (La.) High School, was the club’s third round pick (100th overall). 
The club selected eight players out of high school and six from the college ranks today, including two junior college picks. Among the 15 players selected over the first two days, the position-by-position breakdown includes: eight pitchers (three right-handers, five left-handers), two catchers, two infielders and three outfielders.
Below is a complete list of the players selected by the Kansas City Royals through the first two days of the 2012 Rule 4 First-Year Player Draft.  The draft concludes with rounds 16 through 40 on Wednesday beginning at 11 a.m. CDT.

Ned Yost media session: June 5

Today’s roster move that sent pitcher Will Smith back down to Omaha and brought up lefty Ryan Verdugo was the first topic of discussion when Manager Ned Yost met with the media this afternoon.  Yost said the move was made to get another fresh arm into the bullpen for a couple of days since Smith threw yesterday.  He said it offers some extra protection in the bullpen.  It was not anything Smith did or did not do while he was here.  Yost said he knew going into last night that they would probably make this move today.  He said they will have the extra guy [Verdugo] in the bullpen for the next couple of days and once they head on the road this weekend to Pittsburgh they will most likely swap him out for an extra position player.  Yost did also say there is a chance to see Smith again in another start down the road, possibly on the 16th against the Cardinals when he may be needed to start again. 

Yost said injured pitcher Everett Teaford and injured second baseman Chris Getz are both slated to head out tomorrow to Omaha on rehab assignments.  Teaford is supposed to throw two innings and Getz should play five innings for the Storm Chasers Thursday.

The draft was the next big topic brought up by the media today.  The Royals selected pitchers with their first three picks of the 2012 draft.  They selected RHP Kyle Zimmer out of San Francisco with their first pick (5th overall), LHP Sam Selmon out of LSU with their second-round pick (66th overall), and LHP Colin Rodgers out of Parkview Baptist School in Baton Louge, LA with their third-round pick (100th overall).  Yost said their target guy was Zimmer so they got what they wanted and they knew this draft was going to be an opportunity to stock-pile some pitchers and get some good young arms in the system so that is what they did.  He said the Royals’ scouts have done and continue to do a tremendous job getting to know the kids on and off the diamond, player development is also excellent, and he is excited to get these kids signed and get them in the Royals’ system and headed towards Kansas City.

Interleague play and the possibility of Eric Hosmer seeing some playing time in right field was the last topic of discussion for Yost’s media session today.  Yost said it is more than probable that Hos will see time in right field with the games coming up in National League parks and no designated hitter available.  He said they will likely move Jeff Francoeur to center field and put Billy Butler at first base to make it all work.  He said they have been preparing for this for a while so they will be ready for Interleague play.  Yost said the National League is different and it is a different style of game, but it is not an extreme difference.  He said both the American and National Leagues are unique and he feels the National League is more difficult because the strategy is way different, but they are both enjoyable to manage in.

Draft press conference notes: Round one

The 2012 June Free Agent Draft kicked off on Monday, and according to the prognosticators, it unfolded with some early surprises.  The Royals owned the fifth pick and were ready for every scenario from the first pick to the fifth.  In the end, the Royals got the player that they wanted in USF pitcher Kyle Zimmer

General Manager Dayton Moore, Assistant General Manager-Scouting & Player Development J.J. Picollo and Director of Scouting Lonnie Goldberg participated in a press conference after the selection.

Goldberg was asked how soon Zimmer could reach the Majors.  While Goldberg sees the talent to pitch right away, he says that Zimmer will need some seasoning and could be in the big leagues in two years.

Moore sees a player who is hungry to play, a top academic talent from an athletically gifted family, and a perfect fit for the organization. 

Zimmer was reached by telephone after the press conference.  When asked what it was like to be drafted, Zimmer said “speechless”.  He is excited and looking forward to making history as a Royal.  He has never been to Kauffman Stadium, but he has seen games on TV and believes that it is a beautiful venue.

A former position player, Zimmer is very happy that he made the transition to pitching.  He describes himself as a gritty competitor, dating to his days as a position player.  He likes watching Matt Cain of the Giants and has been told that his approach resembles Josh Johnson of the Marlins.  Goldberg also mentioned Matt Cain as a player that Zimmer resembles.

One additional note – a reporter asked about 2011 first-round pick Bubba Starling, who has been playing in extended spring training.  Picollo said that a decision will be made this weekend on what team Starling will join with the extended spring schedule wrapping up.

Royals select Kyle Zimmer in first round

The Royals have selected Kyle Zimmer, a right-handed pitcher from the University of San Francisco, with the fifth overall pick of the June Free Agent Draft. 

The 20-year-old Zimmer, a 6-foot-4, 220-pound right-handed starter, went 5-3 with a 2.85 ERA in 13 starts, including three complete games, for the Dons in 2012.  In 88.1 innings, he allowed 76 hits, 28 earned runs and 17 walks, while striking out 104.  Zimmer led the West Coast Conference in shutouts (2), strikeouts and strikeouts per nine innings (10.6).  Baseball America rated Zimmer as having the best fastball among all collegiate prospects and his curveball as the third-best in the collegiate ranks.  He was named a preseason second-team All-American by Baseball America entering 2012 and to the 2012 Midseason USA Baseball Golden Spikes Award Watch List last month.  Zimmer was also a member of the 2012 WCC All-Academic team, posting a 3.72 GPA.

Born in San Francisco, Calif., he attended La Jolla (Calif.) High School in the San Diego area where he played four years of baseball, mostly as a third baseman, while also competing in water polo and basketball.  Serving mostly as a position player, he pitched a total of 21.1 innings during his high school career.  Zimmer converted to pitcher his freshman season at USF, but only made five appearances that year.  He then posted a 6-5 record with a 3.73 ERA last season, including outdueling 2011 first-overall selection Gerrit Cole and the UCLA Bruins, 3-0, in a four-hit complete-game shutout with 11 strikeouts in a NCAA regional game on June 3, 2011.

Zimmer becomes the 23rd pitcher to be selected by the Royals in the first round and the first since 2011 All-Star Aaron Crow in 2009.

Ned Yost media session: June 4

This afternoon Manager Ned Yost met with the media and a topic of discussion was about pitching.  Everett Teaford will be throwing an extended bullpen today and then head to a minor league rehab assignment at a to-be-determined affiliate. “We want to build him up as a potential starter so that we have that protection again,” said Yost. Will Smith will be facing the Minnesota Twins in tonight’s contest and it will be his third start in the Majors. His second start compared to his first was just a matter of trusting himself and his stuff. Yost said, “With young pitchers they have to understand when they get here is that their stuff is good enough to get big league hitters out, their stuff is good enough to have gotten them here and they need to continue and believe in that.” 

Today is the day of the MLB Draft and Yost discussed the difference between the draft today and the draft when he was selected seventh overall by the Mets in the secondary phase in 1974. “It was way different back then. Now it is televised and on the Internet, so you know instantly when you were drafted. Back in my day the draft would come and go and then that whole draft day we would call the newspaper to see if anyone from our area was drafted. Then four or five days later a scout would contact you.” The times have changed!


Send us your Royals travel photos…we start with Moose, Wyoming

It was nearly five years ago (June 7, 2007) when the Royals drafted Mike Moustakas.  Shortly thereafter, the “Moose” nickname took off.  A loyal Royals fan sent us this picture from Moose, Wyoming, which is located in Grand Teton National Park.  While unincorporated, Moose does have a post office (zip code, 83012).

Summer vacation season is here and we’re challenging you to send a location photo with a Royals connection to blog@royals.com for inclusion on the blog.  Here are a few possibilities of what we are looking for:

Butler, Missouri
George, Washington
Gordon, Nebraska
Holland, Michigan
Hosmer, South Dakota (population 208)
Montgomery, Alabama
Otis, Oregon (a quaint little town on the way to the coast)

Ned Yost media session: June 3

When Ned Yost met with the media in his office this morning the absence of Mike Moustakas in the lineup was the first item discussed.  Yost said everything is fine with Moose, he just wanted to give him a day off to get some rest.  Moose has not had a day off since the sixth game of the season when the Royals were at Oakland and they saw today as an opportunity to give him a little break.  Yost said he does not think it will be a total day off for Moose, however, and he looks to use his defense in maybe the sixth or seventh inning of today’s game if and when the Royals have the lead.   Yost said Moose has been fantastic for them and it was tough to even give him the day off today because of his level of play.  He went on to say you have to pick your spots and since he hasn’t had a break since the sixth game today was a good day with the lefty going for Oakland.

A’s starter Tommy Milone and his last outing against the Royals was the second topic brought up by the media.  Milone only allowed three hits through eight innings of work in his last start against KC winning 1-0 on April 9 in Oakland.  Yost commented about the last time by saying Milone changed speeds extremely well and located his fastball extremely well.  He went on to say Milone is a command guy and when he commands his pitches he moves the ball in and out while changing speeds which keeps hitters off balance and is very tough to hit.

Kansas City A’s honored

Members of the Kansas City Athletics were recognized in today’s pregame ceremony.  The honorees included Bill Fischer, who is serving as the Royals’ bullpen coach while pitching coach Dave Eiland is in Florida for his daughter’s high school graduation.

Fans also had a chance to take pictures with a Missouri mule, complete with Charlie O.’s original blanket.  Plus, the first 20,000 fans received a 1960 KC cap, courtesy of Taco Bell!



Ned Yost media session: June 2

Ned Yost met with the media before this afternoon’s game against the Oakland Athletics. The last several games the Royals have had a consistent lineup. Yost said, “The whole idea early on was to try to get a consistent lineup and get guys going where they go with it.” Alex Gordon has been in the lead off position, “I feel like it is a comfort spot for him and he has some good at bats since we have moved him back there,” said Yost.

Pitcher Felipe Paulino pitched 6.0 scoreless innings in last night’s win to up his record to 3-1 and lower his ERA to 1.70. “I knew coming off of last year that we could make some adjustments in his mechanics and get him finishing his delivery in a consistent basis that would result to more pitches down in the strike zone, which means greater success for him and that is exactly what we have seen so far,” said Yost.

Right-handed pitcher, Luke Hochevar, will be facing the Athletics in today’s game. He has had four quality starts this season, but has also had three rough starts that have given him an overall 6.19 ERA. Yost said, “I think what he has done with his last 3 or 4 starts is he has just attacked with all of his pitches better. I think the results have been much better and he is back to attacking to a certain location on the plate.”


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