Royals designated hitter Billy Butler and his wife Katie have been involved in work at St. James Place Food Pantry and the Bishop Sullivan Center since 2008. On Thursday, pitcher Aaron Crow joined Billy and Katie at St. James Place, where they packaged and distributed food, including Billy’s barbecue sauce. Billy and Katie’s “Hit-It-A-Ton” program has raised over a quarter of a million dollars to help local families.
Prior to today, this blogger had visited Arkansas, Kansas and Missouri over the last three years on Royals Caravan. Today was my first trek to Nebraska while on Caravan – and what an experience it was! Alex Gordon is the pride of Lincoln Southeast High School and the University of Nebraska. Many fans today knew him personally and many more call him their favorite Royal. Today’s Caravan with Gordon, Dennis Leonard and FSKC’s Joel Goldberg featured a stop at a middle school in Blair, Nebraska. The kids made special posters for Alex, Leo and Joel. They also learned the importance of hard work in the classroom from Gordon and Leonard. The Royals donated seats from Kauffman Stadium to the school (the seats go in the school library as part of a reading promotion). Four lucky students had their picture taken next to the seats with Gordon and later with Leonard.
Billy Butler, Aaron Crow, Brian McRae, Steve Physioc and Sluggerrr toured Kansas on Wednesday. It was a homecoming in Topeka, where Physioc worked at WIBW and where Crow was born.
Aaron Crow signs for a young fan in Emporia.
Billy Butler in Topeka
Sluggerrr made new friends in the kitchen at our Lawrence stop!
We are currently on Caravan and posting during our bus trip. We will add more Caravan and FanFest pictures over the weekend!
The 2014 Royals Caravan, presented by Academy Sports + Outdoors, will kick off this Wednesday and Thursday, January 29 and 30.
Please check the link below for Caravan stops and participants. Around the Horn will be traveling north on the Blue Caravan. We hope to see you and we plan to post reports from the various Caravans.
The Royals today named their Player and Pitcher of the Year awards for 2013. Outfielder Lane Adams was tabbed the George Brett Hitter of the Year, while right-handed pitcher Yordano Ventura was named the Paul Splittorff Pitcher of the Year. Both award winners will be recognized during spring training.
Adams, 24, was previously named the Wilmington (A-Advanced) Player of the Year. He played at three levels during the 2013 season, seeing time at Wilmington, Northwest Arkansas (AA) and with Omaha (AAA) during the postseason. He hit .276 in 87 games for the Blue Rocks, collecting 23 doubles, seven homers and 39 RBI. He ranked ninth in the Carolina League with 23 stolen bases. The 6-foot-4 outfielder tied Naturals’ club records in an August 13 game against Corpus Christi, slugging three homers and collecting seven RBI.
Ventura, 22, made his Major League debut with the Royals on September 17 of this year, but split most of the season between Northwest Arkansas and Omaha. He opened the year with the Naturals before being promoted to Triple-A on his 22nd birthday, June 3. The right-handed pitcher recorded 155 strikeouts in 132.2 innings between the two levels, while he was 3-1 with a 2.76 ERA for the Storm Chasers after the All-Star break. He made three starts with Kansas City in September, going 0-1 with a 3.52 ERA. His debut against Cleveland made national headlines when he clocked a pitch at 102.8 mph, the fastest recorded by an MLB starting pitcher in 2013. Ventura was recently named the second-best prospect in the Royals’ organization by Baseball America.
The Royals and 610 Sports Radio today announced the first 18 broadcasts of the 2014 Royals Spring Training Radio schedule that will air on KCSP-AM. All Spring Training contests will be webcast on royals.com, including the games not on 610 Sports Radio. Two more broadcasts will be finalized once the NCAA Tournament schedule is released due to 610’s commitment to University of Kansas basketball.
The 2014 spring radio broadcast schedule is as follows:
Thursday February 27 vs. Texas 2:05 p.m.
Friday February 28 @ Texas 2:05 p.m.
Saturday March 1 vs. San Diego 2:05 p.m.
Sunday March 2 @ Chicago Cubs 2:05 p.m.
Monday March 3 @ Chicago White Sox 2:05 p.m.
Tuesday March 4 vs. Cincinnati 2:05 p.m.
Thursday March 6 vs. Chicago White Sox (ss) 2:05 p.m.
Friday March 7 vs. San Francisco 2:05 p.m.
Sunday March 9 vs. Colorado 3:05 p.m.
Monday March 10 @ Seattle (ss) 3:05 p.m.
Tuesday March 11 vs. Los Angeles Dodgers 3:05 p.m.
Wednesday March 12 @ Oakland 3:05 p.m.
Sunday March 16 @ San Diego 3:05 p.m.
Monday March 17 vs. Texas 8:05 p.m.
Wednesday March 19 vs. Cincinnati 8:05 p.m.
Saturday or March 22 or vs. Texas* 3:05 p.m.
Sunday March 23 @ San Francisco* 3:05 p.m.
Monday March 24 @ Colorado 3:05 p.m.
Tuesday March 25 vs. Seattle 8:05 p.m.
Wednesday March 26 @ San Diego 2:05 p.m.
Friday or March 28 or @ Milwaukee** 7:10 p.m.
Saturday March 29 @ Milwaukee** 1:10 p.m.
*Either the March 22 or 23 game will air, to be determined by NCAA Tournament schedule
**Either the March 28 or 29 game will air, to be determined by NCAA Tournament schedule
All Times Central – Game Times Subject to Change
For the 46th year, Royals Hall of Famer Denny Matthews will call Spring Training play-by-play action. Matthews will be joined by Ryan Lefebvre, Steve Physioc and Steve Stewart. The exhibition webcasts will be anchored by Stewart.
The Royals announced today that the club has agreed to terms on a minor league contract with right-handed reliever Jon Rauch for the 2014 season. Rauch has been invited to Major League Spring Training.
The 35-year old began 2013 with the Miami Marlins, going 1-2 with a 7.56 ERA over 15 games. He also made 10 appearances with Triple-A Norfolk in the Orioles organization, compiling a 2.89 ERA. Rauch is 43-40 with 62 saves over 556 career Major League appearances since debuting in 2002.
It has been a busy 24 hours for the Royals…last night, lefty reliever Tim Collins agreed to terms on a 2014 contract, avoiding arbitration.
Today, infielder Emilio Bonifacio, right-handed pitcher Luke Hochevar and first baseman Eric Hosmer all agreed to terms, leaving just three unsigned arbitration-eligible players: right-handed pitchers Aaron Crow and Greg Holland and outfielder Justin Maxwell.
The Royals followed the Brad Penny signing by inking pitcher Guillermo Mota to a minor league contract for the 2014 season. Mota will receive an invite to Major League Spring Training.
Mota, 40, last pitched in the Majors in 2012, when he was Penny’s teammate in San Francisco. Mota made 26 relief appearances for the Giants that season, going 0-1 with a 5.23 ERA, recording 24 strikeouts in 20.2 innings. The right-handed reliever began his career in 1999 with the Montreal Expos and has pitched for six other organizations: Los Angeles Dodgers (2002-04, 2009), Florida (2004-05), Cleveland (2006) New York Mets (2006-07), Milwaukee (2008) and San Francisco (2010-12). He is 39-45 in 743 appearances (all in relief) with a 3.94 ERA. Since 1999, only five other pitchers have made more relief appearances than Mota.
Mota and Penny were actually involved in the same trade in 2004 – a six-player deal that sent Penny, Hee Seop Choi and Bill Murphy to the Dodgers, with Mota joining Paul LoDuca and Juan Encarnacion in Florida.