July 2012

Dayton Moore, Ned Yost comment on trade for Guthrie

Royals’ general manager Dayton Moore and manager Ned Yost each met with the media this afternoon inside the dugout to discuss this morning’s trade with Colorado that sent left-hander Jonathan Sanchez to the Rockies in exchange for right-handed pitcher, Jeremy Guthrie.  Dayton said Guthrie did not work out the way the Rockies had hoped this season and Sanchez did not the way they hoped in Kansas City either, therefore this trade will give both pitchers a shot at a fresh start.  Dayton said they wish Jonathan the best in his future with Colorado and they are expecting Jeremy to come in and do a very good job for the Royals and give them some innings and stability in the rotation.  Dayton is hopeful he will pitch better in this second half and away from Colorado. 

Yost said Jeremy has a good fastball, a good slider, a decent curveball and a decent changeup.  He went on to say he was Baltimore’s number one starter in 2009-2011 and when the Royals have faced him in the past he has been very good.  Yost also said he was not only impressed with his stuff, but also his competitiveness on the mound.  He said there are certain instances and situations when a change in scenery is what is needed and a player will really benefit from that.  Yost offered pitcher Felipe Paulino as an example when he too came over from Colorado in 2011 after a rocky start.  He then said they are hopeful Jeremy will take a lot of pressure off the bullpen by providing good innings and he will really help out the staff as a whole.  He said they are excited to get Jeremy over here and he is looking forward to see where this takes the Royals. 

Jeremy’s numbers with the Rockies, especially at their home park Coors Field, were not outstanding and was the topic of discussion for the media, Moore and Yost.  Dayton said he does not know what kind of affect pitching at Coors Field had on Jeremy and some pitchers go out there and pitch very well and others do not.  He went on to say when he spoke with Jeremy earlier today he did not make any excuses about the way he pitched involving the ballpark or the elevation, instead he just felt he was not making good enough pitches and guys were squaring him up.  Yost said in the light air at Coors in Colorado it is tough to pitch.  He said, for whatever reason, it is harder to spin a breaking ball and command the ball.  He said it is very dry out there which makes pitching tougher because pitchers will tell you that humidity and moisture help grip a baseball.  He said that is why you see guys lick their fingers or wipe sweat off their brow when their on the mound, it’s because that moisture helps you spin the ball and get a grip on the ball.  He said it is difficult to get that same feeling on a ball out in Colorado.  Yost said he feels it is going to be different for him to come here and he feels the conditions are set up favorably for him to have success here. 

Yost said the addition of Jeremy to the roster and rotation will send Everett Teaford into the bullpen and back into a long relief role.  He said Teaford is a great guy for that role and has proved that he can be trusted to come in the game in situations like that and keep a game where it is while eating up innings and saving the bullpen.  He said he likes Teaford in the starting role as well, but Luis Mendoza has been doing well and they want to give Will Smith more time starting too, therefore long relief is what he will do right now.

Jeremy Guthrie is excited for an opportunity in Kansas City

New Royals pitcher Jeremy Guthrie spoke with media members on a conference call today.  Guthrie said right away that he is excited to be with the Royals.  Guthrie is disappointed that he could not win more games for Colorado, but sees a perfect fit with a core of young players in Kansas City.  He is eager to set a good example for the staff through his work ethic. 

Guthrie is going from the high altitude of Colorado to an expansive outfield at Kauffman Stadium.  He recognizes The K as a good park for pitchers and believes that Kansas City’s defense makes it even better. 

The 33-year old has struggled this year, allowing 21 home runs, the most by a National League pitcher.  He acknowledges that hitters were making too much solid contact and said that the home runs were not wall scrapers – most would have been out of any stadium.  He felt like he had good stuff in his last start at Coors…and as for the impact from Colorado’s altitude, he stated, “I’m not a scientist, so I don’t know”.

Reporters asked the right-hander about his freak bicycle accident, which occurred in April.  Guthrie said that a rear piece of the bike popped loose, forcing the tension in the chain to be lost.  He stumbled sideways and jammed his elbow into the ground.  He described the injury as more of a football injury that typically occurs with contact. 

Guthrie has always worked hard to stay healthy – which shows as he has pitched 200+ innings in each season from 2009 to 2011.  He also has a connection in Kansas City as head trainer Nick Kenney was an assistant trainer while the pair were with Cleveland.

Guthrie described himself as a person that is always optimistic and ready for the next challenge.  The Stanford product knows that he can learn from his experience in Colorado and is ready to pitch in front of some great fans here in Kansas City!  He is slated to join the club here tomorrow and will wear uniform #33.

Royals acquire pitcher Jeremy Guthrie from Rockies for pitcher Jonathan Sanchez

 The Royals today acquired right-handed starter Jeremy Guthrie from the Colorado Rockies in exchange for left-handed starter Jonathan Sanchez

Guthrie, 33, is 3-9 with a 6.35 ERA in 19 games, including 15 starts, for Colorado in 2012.  He has pitched well away from Coors Field, posting a 3.67 ERA in 10 games (8 starts) on the road.  The six-foot-one, 205-pound right-hander is 50-74 with a 4.37 ERA in 196 career outings (169 starts) for the Indians (2004-06), Orioles (2007-11) and Rockies (2012).  The Orioles’ Opening Day starter in 2008, 2009 and 2011, Guthrie posted double-digit wins in three straight seasons for Baltimore in 2008-2010 and has topped the 200-inning mark in each of his last three seasons entering 2012.  He pitched for the United States at the 2009 World Baseball Classic.

Originally a first-round selection (22nd overall) for Cleveland in 2002 out of Stanford University, Guthrie was claimed off waivers by Baltimore in 2007 and then was traded to Colorado on February 6, 2012 in exchange for pitchers Jason Hammel and Matt Lindstrom. Born and raised in Oregon, Guthrie and his wife, Jenny, now reside in Pleasant Grove, Utah, and have a daughter, Avery, and two sons, Hudson and Dash.

The 29-year-old Sanchez was 1-6 with a 7.76 ERA in 12 starts for the Royals this season after being acquired from the San Francisco Giants with left-handed pitcher Ryan Verdugo for outfielder Melky Cabrera on November 7, 2011.  He was designated for assignment by the Royals on Tuesday, July 17.

 

Ned Yost media session: July 19

Royals’ manager Ned Yost met with the media before today’s series finale vs. Seattle. Last night Billy Butler hit a walk-off to take the third game from the Mariners. Yost said, “He (Butler) has a plan and he knows what he wants to do when he goes up there. He’s not necessarily going up there trying to hit a home run, he’s trying to get on base, trying to create a rally, be a runner if you will. But he also has the ability where he can put the ball in the stands, he can drive the ball in the gaps, he can do a lot of different things for you. I always feel good in a tie game and Billy coming up in the ninth inning because eight times out of 10 it just seems like he’s going to get on base and we got a chance to win it right then and there. When he smoked that ball, I am expecting him to get single or a double and he put it in the stands, which was great. But he knows what he’s doing when he steps in the box and he has a plan and I appreciate that. A lot of hitters don’t do that; a lot of hitters will get up there and look for a pitch. He did a great job.”

Eric Hosmer was recently hitting in the three spot of the lineup and today he got moved down to the six spot. “He is battling through a lot of different things. Some of its mechanics, some of it’s a little bit of confidence, and some of it’s a little pressure that he is putting on himself to produce in that three hole. So we will take that away from him, put him down in the order a little bit and get him going,” said Yost. Yost believes that Hosmer eventually will be an All-Star hitter, but they just need to get him back into the swing of things. 

Veteran catcher Jason Kendall was signed to a minor league contract and will be going to Double-A Northwest Arkansas today.  He is scheduled to catch five innings tomorrow’s game at Springfield. “It is giving him an opportunity to see where he’s at. We like our two catchers that are here, but you know how quickly things can turn. The more depth you have down there, especially in terms of Major League experience is very valuable.  He doesn’t know if he can do it. He feels good and has been working hard. He has taken his rehab to a point where he feels like he can play so he’s going to go give it a shot,” said Yost. He then followed with, “It is a huge value having a guy with his experience down there. It is good for everyone involved.”

Jeff Francoeur will be getting a day off and Lorenzo Cain will be roaming right field. “He (Cain) is a very solid right fielder. The thing we got to do right now is get Cain’s legs underneath him. His bat is so strong right now it is hard to get him out of the lineup,” said Yost.

Photos: Luis Mendoza visits young fans at Ability Camp

On Tuesday, the Royals partnered with the Recreation Council of Greater Kansas City (RCGKC) to present a free interactive camp that allowed kids with physical or developmental disabilities to experience the joy of playing baseball.   Royals pitcher Luis Mendoza met with the campers:

Ned Yost media session: July 18

Pitching was the topic of discussion when manager Ned Yost met with the media this afternoon.  The opening questions involved tomorrow’s starter and call-up from Triple-A Omaha, 22-year-old left-hander Will Smith.  Smith will be making his fourth start at the big league level tomorrow when the Royals take on the Mariners at 1:10 p.m.  Thus far he has posted a 1-2 record with a 9.00 ERA (14.0 IP, 18 H, 14 ER) with Kansas City.  Yost said the biggest reason they are going with Smith tomorrow is because he has been throwing the ball very well down at Omaha and arguably as well, if not better, than anyone else down there.  He said Smith is a young guy and he is going to develop, but he likes his mound presence and his stuff.  Yost is looking for him take the mound tomorrow and command the baseball, while keeping the ball down and giving the Royals a chance to win.  Yost said he gave the Royals a very good start at Cleveland back on May 29 and he is looking for Smith to do more of the same tomorrow.  In the Cleveland game, Smith only surrendered two runs on four hits through six innings of work in the winning effort.  Yost said if he keeps the ball down, which as a staff they have not done a good job at during the past few games, then he is going to do just fine. 

The next question brought up by the media surrounded this afternoon’s call-up from Omaha, left handed pitcher Francisley Bueno.  Yost said they like that he competes very well on the mound, throws strikes and he is left handed.  He said they used lefty Tim Collins for two innings last night, therefore he is not available tonight so Bueno will be a good left handed tandem with Jose Mijares in the bullpen to match up against the amount of left-handed hitters the Mariners have in their lineup.

The last questions were asked about tonight’s starter, Bruce Chen, and what he needs to do in order to be successful tonight and get back on track as one of the stronger, more consistent pitchers in the Royals’ rotation.  Yost said, simply, he needs to pitch better.  Chen needs to keep the ball down, change speeds, establish his fastball and flat out pitch better.  Yost went on to say they have struggled here lately and they will continue to do so until they get one to three good starts out of their starting rotation.  He said they are poised to have that happen with their three best starters due up in the next three out of four days with Chen tonight then Luke Hochevar and Luis Mendoza on Friday and Saturday, respectively.  He said they have the opportunity to solidify this and put an end to the slide and get the bullpen back on track.  He closed by saying those three are basically the veterans on the staff and they need to take charge, step up and give the Royals some solid starts.   

 

Dayton Moore and Ned Yost discuss roster moves

Dayton Moore and Ned Yost met with the media today about the roster moves. Jonathan Sanchez was designated for assignment and Jason Bourgeois was optioned to Omaha.  Moore discussed the move with Sanchez.  “We felt that right before the All-Star break he was throwing the ball much better, yesterday actually we thought he turned the ball loose as good as he has before, but the results just weren’t very good. We just felt that change was required at this point in time. It was evident that we needed to deflate the situation and move forward,” said Moore.  Yost said, “He still has the stuff to be successful, but for whatever reason he just wasn’t successful here.”

Bourgeois wasn’t playing much up here and that was a main reason they optioned him to Omaha. Yost said, “We didn’t want him here as a pinch runner and we needed pitching. We had to have a spot for pitching and if something happens to one of our outfielders we want him down there playing and he can come back up here fresh and ready to go.”

Ryan Verdugo will be making his first Major League start in tonight’s game against the Seattle Mariners. The reason why Yost chose him to be a part of the pitching roster was because “Number one, he was available to pitch, and number two, he’s got pretty good numbers. We are just going to go and just let him pitch. He has good stuff and we are anxious to see him pitch.”

Ned Yost media session: July 16

The batting order was the first topic of discussion when manager Ned Yost met with the media this afternoon.  One reporter asked about Salvador Perez’s spot in the order, which is ninth today and has been towards the bottom since returning from the disabled list.  Sal has been hitting well since coming back and the reporter asked why he is still consistently towards the bottom of the order.  Yost said he doesn’t necessarily want to keep Sal at the bottom of the batting order, but with the way other guys are playing and who has the other spots, the nine-hole is the only one open at the moment.  Yost said Lorenzo Cain is swinging the bat really well so the fifth spot is taken.  Alex Gordon has the number one spot and has been very productive there.  Alcides Escobar has done a very nice job in the second spot and that is where they want to see him long term. They envision Eric Hosmer in the three-hole long term as well although he is struggling at the moment.  Yost said he (Hosmer) has to get accustomed to that spot and role because he feels he can be a three-hole hitter for the rest of the year. He continued by saying Billy Butler is fourth therefore that spot is also taken and Mike Moustakas has been doing great all season in the sixth spot so they are not going to put Sal there either.  In the seventh spot they have Jeff Francoeur and then Yuniesky Betancourt in the eighth spot.  Yost then said that only leaves one spot, the nine-hole, and that is where Sal is for the moment. 

The question about whether or not Frenchy should stay in the seventh spot or not because of his struggles this season arose next.  Yost said he is kind of a streaky hitter, but since the All-Star break ended he has swung the bat very well and he is not going to move him from that spot in the lineup right now.  Yost said he envisions Sal hitting towards the middle of the order in the future, but right now they need production everywhere and they have been getting very good production out of the number nine spot all year long and having Sal down there should only keep that going.  He went on to say that with Sal down there he can drive in the sixth, seventh or eighth place hitters or get on base for the top of the order as well, so it is a good fit.  Yost then said eventually he thinks Sal will move up in the order, but right now they have him hitting in the ninth spot and that is probably where he is going to stay for a while.

Jonathan Sanchez was the next topic and one reporter asked what will make him successful in tonight’s start.  Yost replied that he has to throw strikes and he has to keep his pitches in the zone while moving them around a bit.  He said if Sanchez can command his fastball and stay in the zone he will be successful.  Yost said nearly all year long his secondary pitches, such as his slider and split-finger fastball have been effective for him, so he just needs to locate his fastball.  He went on to say he wants Sanchez to be productive and he thinks he will be tonight.  He said he did it in Detroit in his last start and he is looking for another good one tonight.

 

 

Royals on FSKC channel numbers: DISH, July 16-22

Monday, July 16: 444

Tuesday, July 17: 444

Wednesday, July 18: 443

Thursday, July 19: 440

Friday, July 20: 443

Saturday, July 21: 444

Sunday, July 22: 443

Ned Yost media session: July 15

Alcides Escobar was the first topic of discussion when manager Ned Yost met with the media in his office before this afternoon’s game.  Before yesterday’s game, the media discussed how well “Esky has been doing in the two-spot. He then followed that with a monster game featuring two tiebreaking home runs and three RBI.  Yost said, “The home runs kind of take away from what he does really well, which is hit the ball up the middle and the other way, but he has the ability obviously to hit for some power.”  He went on to say, “Esky’s performance last night was very impressive and he has had a great offensive year to this point and I am very impressed to see the progress he has made to this point.”

First baseman Eric Hosmer was the next topic brought up by the media and how he is different from last year.  One reporter asked the question, “Are teams are pitching him different?”  Yost said, “They are pitching Hos a lot different this year.  When you have a young kid that first comes up, pitchers and teams do not know them until they learn about them and once they start to figure out who he is, they start making adjustments.  They come into the league and the league adjusts to them and then they have to adjust back to that.”  With that he said, “They are pitching him different, they are fielding him different (alluding to the shift he often faces) and he has been facing a lot of left handed pitchers down the stretch in games.”  Yost said, “It is tough on Hos, but it is good for him and in the long run and it will pay off because he will get better and better against lefties.  It is a learning process and an adjustment period for Hos right now.”  Another reporter asked the question, “Are the big leagues where he needs to make those adjustments.”  Yost responded with, “This is definitely where he needs to be and he cannot really see him doing it anywhere else.  Hosmer never had much trouble coming up through the minor leagues and this is his first real struggle he has had. You really get polished as a hitter at the Major League level.  The game is a lot different and every pitcher at this level can do things almost everyone at the minor league level cannot, so it is a process to get hitters where they are very consistent and productive.  It is an absolute matter of patience.  You worry more about the player in this situation, making sure he perseveres through this because he will get through it and I have no doubt how excellent Hosmer will be for years to come. I believe once he matures and gains his consistency you will see him in the All-Star Game for many years to come.”  Hosmer just has to keep up the hard work and good things will happen. “I have seen many players go through struggles like Hosmer and it is nothing out of the ordinary.  Escobar went through it in Milwaukee and Mike Moustakas went through it early last year and both of those guys have really come on this season. You just have to have patience with young guys who are gifted, natural players and Hosmer is definitely that. I am proud of the way he continues to battle and grind it out while not getting carried away with the negatives.”

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