November 2013

Royals request release waivers on Luis Mendoza, who plans to pitch in Japan

The Kansas City Royals announced today that the club has requested release waivers on right-handed pitcher Luis Mendoza, who plans to pitch in Japan during the 2014 season. 

Mendoza, 30, finished 2013 at 2-6 with a 5.36 ERA in 94.0 innings, which spanned 22 appearances. He opened the season in the Royals’ rotation, making 15 starts, before moving to the bullpen just before the All-Star break. Mendoza is 16-25 with a 5.39 ERA in seven Major League seasons between Kansas City and Texas.

Thank you to our veterans!

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Arizona Fall League game to air on MLB Network on Saturday

MLB Network is airing select Arizona Fall League games this week.  On Saturday at 7:00 p.m. Central, the network will broadcast the game between the Peoria Javelinas and the Salt River Rafters.  Eight Royals prospects are on the Peoria roster.  The game will feature testing of Major League Baseball’s new review procedures for expanded instant replay.

While we’re on the subject of the Arizona Fall League, we bring you this prospect profile on Orlando Calixte.  Our photos are courtesy of Lee Magenheim.

Player:  Orlando Calixte

Age: 21

Hometown:  Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic

Signed with KC: August 28, 2010

Position:  Shortstop (also playing second base in the Arizona Fall League)

2013:  Earned Texas League All-Star honors at Northwest Arkansas

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Eric Hosmer conference call notes

Eric Hosmer’s 2013 season started slowly.  He did not panic, knowing that he could turn it around by continuing to grind away.  Hosmer did just that, leading the Majors in hits from May 19 on.  He finished the season with a .302 average, his first Rawlings Gold Glove and his first Les Milgram Royals Player of the Year award.

An early hand injury slowed Hosmer, though he fought through it with help from the Royals training staff.  Hosmer’s resurgence also coincided with the additions of George Brett and Pedro Grifol to the coaching staff.  Hosmer cited Brett’s presence and mentality, which rubbed off on the team.  He also mentioned learning the importance of a daily routine from Brett and Grifol.  He is excited to work with Grifol again next season, saying that KC’s hitting coach shares great insight about opposing pitchers while helping the Royals build on their strengths.

Hosmer mentioned the strong work ethic of the Royals, which starts with Alex Gordon leading by example.  Eric is currently working out three times a week to stay in shape.  He will ramp up his offseason routine soon.  Eric’s brother Mike worked with him on drills last offseason, which he believes was a big factor in his 2013 success.

Eric Hosmer named 2013 Les Milgram Royals Player of the Year

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The Royals announced today that first baseman Eric Hosmer has been named the 2013 Les Milgram Royals Player of the Year.  The award was voted on by the Kansas City Chapter of the Baseball Writers Association of America (BBWAA).
Hosmer, 24, earned his first Les Milgram Player of the Year award after leading the team with a .302 batting average with a career-high 34 doubles, 17 homers and 79 RBI.  He paced the American League with 60 multi-hit games, which were tied for the fifth-most in Royals history.  Kansas City’s first-round selection in 2008, Hosmer ranked seventh in the league in hits (188), ninth in overall batting average (.302) and sixth in batting average vs. left-handed pitching (.323).  On May 18, he was batting .244 with 4 doubles, a homer and 11 RBI, but from May 19 on, he hit .317 with a Major League-leading 156 hits, 30 doubles, 16 homers, 68 RBI and a .484 slugging percentage.  He was selected as the Majestic Royals Player of the Month three times (June, July and August) during the season, while he hit over .300 in each of the last four months of the year, including .324 in July and September.  Hosmer earned his first Rawlings Gold Glove Award in 2013.
The Royals announced yesterday that closer Greg Holland has been named the 2013 Bruce Rice Pitcher of the Year, while starting pitcher James Shields was honored with the Joe Burke Special Achievement Award last week.

Greg Holland conference call notes

Greg Holland had an incredible 2013 season as he won a second straight Bruce Rice Royals Pitcher of the Year award.  He reflected on the season in a conference call on Monday and was asked about making adjustments in order to continue his success.  Holland says that the best hitters know what a pitcher likes to do and that you cannot get into patterns.  He talks to Billy Butler regularly to get a feel for what hitters are looking for.  Holland also feels that he must continually get better at his strengths.

Greg’s only struggles in 2013 came early in the season.  He made adjustments after the opening road trip by consulting with pitching coach Dave Eiland. Holland worked on getting back to his strengths from 2012.

Greg’s favorite outing was the September 14 contest in Detroit when Alex Gordon, Alcides Escobar and Salvador Perez combined on a game-ending play at the plate.  Holland said that KC’s strong defense gave him the ability to attack hitters more.  He believes the Royals could have more than three Gold Glove winners in the future.

Holland is spending the offseason at home in North Carolina.  The self-described “old country guy” enjoys time outside, including cook outs, sitting by the fire and hunting.

Greg Holland named 2013 Bruce Rice Royals Pitcher of the Year

Greg Holland_2337The Kansas City Royals have announced that right-handed reliever Greg Holland has been named the 2013 Bruce Rice Pitcher of the Year. The award was voted on by the Kansas City Chapter of the Baseball Writers Association of America (BBWAA).

Holland, who will turn 28 on November 20, earned his second consecutive Bruce Rice Pitcher of the Year award after a record-setting season. The North Carolina native set a franchise mark with 47 saves, topping the previous best of 45 by Dan Quisenberry (1983) and Jeff Montgomery (1993). Holland made his first All-Star team while finishing third in the Majors in saves. He led MLB with 40 saves from May 30 to the end of the season and converted 31 opportunities in a row from May 30 to September 3. His 1.21 ERA set a club record for a reliever, besting Montgomery’s 1.37 mark in 1989. Holland’s 103 strikeouts matched a 42-year old club record for a reliever while his 13.84 strikeouts per 9.0 innings topped his own franchise best from 2012. Holland was named MLB Delivery Man of the Month for July and September along with Royals Pitcher of the Month in May, June and July.
On October 31, the Royals announced that right-handed pitcher James Shields won the 2013 Joe Burke Special Achievement award. Tomorrow, the club will announce the 2013 Les Milgram Player of the Year at noon CT.

Royals announce minor league coaching staff for 2014

The Royals announced their 2014 minor league staff assignments, promoting three managers within the organization.  Northwest Arkansas (AA) manager Brian Poldberg was named to the same position at Omaha (AAA), replacing Mike Jirschele, who was named Major League coach with Kansas City last week.  Wilmington (A-Advanced) manager Vance Wilson will take over managerial duties at Northwest Arkansas, while Surprise (Rookie) manager Darryl Kennedy will assume Wilson’s former role with the Blue Rocks next season.

Poldberg, a resident of nearby Carter Lake, Iowa, completed his sixth season at Northwest Arkansas in 2013.  The only manager in Naturals history, Poldberg led the club to a Texas League championship in 2010 and earned the Dick Howser Award in the same season. He spent the 2004-07 seasons serving on the Royals’ Major League staff as the bullpen coach (2004-05), first base coach (2006) and third base coach (2007).   Joining Poldberg in Omaha will be pitching coach Larry Carter, hitting coach Tommy Gregg, athletic trainer David Iannicca and strength coach David Kathmann.

Wilson, who makes his home in Springdale, Ark., the home of the Naturals, just completed his second season as the manager at Wilmington and third in the Royals’ organization, after debuting as the manager with Kane County (A) in 2011.  His staff at Northwest Arkansas will consist of pitching coach Jim Brower, hitting coach Andre David, athletic trainer Masa Koyanagi and strength coach Austin Driggers.
Kennedy returns to Wilmington after four seasons as the manager at Surprise.  He also served as skipper of the Blue Rocks in 2008 as well as managing at Burlington (2007) and Idaho Falls (2009) within the organization as well as at Frisco (2005-06), the double-A affiliate of the Texas Rangers.  His staff includes pitching coach Steve Luebber, hitting coach Jose Castro, bench coach Justin Gemoll, athletic trainer James Stone and strength coach Joe Greany.

Brian Buchanan will begin his second season at Lexington and fifth in the Royals organization after previously managing at Kane County (2012) and Idaho Falls (2010-11).  He will be joined on the bench by pitching coach Steve Merriman, hitting coach Abraham Nunez and bench coach Glenn Hubbard as well as athletic trainer Mark Keiser and strength coach Aaron Reis.
The Royals announced that their 2014 Rookie League affiliates will be Idaho Falls in the Pioneer League and Burlington in the Appalachian League.  KC will not field a minor league team in Surprise, Ariz., during the 2014 season.
Manager Omar Ramirez led Idaho Falls to the Pioneer League championship this season and will be in his third year at the helm of the Chukars in 2014.  His staff will consist of pitching coach Mark Davis, hitting coach Damon Hollins, bench coach Julio Bruno, coach Willie Aikens and athletic trainer Robbie Oates.

Manager Tommy Shields returns to Burlington for his third season managing the Rookie-level Royals.  Shields led Burlington to the Appalachian League championship series in 2012.  His staff will include pitching coach Carlos Martinez, hitting coach Nelson Liriano, first-year bench coach Scott Thorman and trainer Sab Hagihara.  Thorman comes to Kansas City after spending 11 seasons in the minor leagues as a player, retiring in 2011.  He played two seasons (2009-10) in the Royals’ system at Omaha as well as parts of two seasons in the Major Leagues with the Atlanta Braves (2006-07).
The Royals’ Dominican Academy will be led by field coordinator Victor Baez and staff members Rafael Roque, Juan Guadron, Miguel Benard, Ramon Martinez, Onil Joseph and trainers Martin Berroa, Manny Plaza and strength coaches Jose Rosario and Reymundo Sido.  The manager of the Dominican Royals will be named at a later date.

Kansas City’s Coordinators and Roving positions for 2014 include Field Coordinator Tony Tijerina, Advisor to Player Development Chino Cadahia, Senior Pitching Advisor Bill Fischer, Special Assistant to Player Development/Hitting Jack Maloof, Special Assistant to Player Development John Wathan and Special Assistant to the General Manager/Pitching Coordinator Steve Foster.  Terry Bradshaw will be the hitting coordinator and Milt Thompson will be the outfield/bunting/base running coordinator.  Other organizational positions include Chris DeLucia as medical coordinator, Tony Medina as Latin America medical coordinator,  Garrett Sherrill as strength and conditioning coordinator, Luis Perez as Latin America strength and conditioning coordinator, Justin Hahn as rehabilitation coordinator/physical therapist, Carlos Reyes as rehabilitation pitching coach, Jeff Diskin as cultural development coordinator, Nick Leto as manager of Arizona operations,  Will Simon as minor league equipment manager and Freddy Sandoval as mental skills coach.  New to the organization are Sandoval and Hahn, while Diskin begins his first full season in the Royals’ organization.  Sandoval played eight seasons in the minor leagues within the Los Angeles Angels’ system, reaching the big leagues for parts of the 2008 and 2009 seasons.  Hahn, a physical therapist from Lakeville, Minn., was the Royals’ physical therapist fellow in 2013, working out of the complex in Surprise, Ariz.  Diskin, who started his position as the cultural development coordinator last June, is a former teacher and varsity baseball coach at Pembroke Hill School in Kansas City.

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