Results tagged ‘ Devon Lowery ’
A Major League manager has duties that extend beyond what happens on the field, in the dugout and in the clubhouse. One major part of the job is to speak with the media on a daily basis. ATH estimates that Trey Hillman has had over 400 media sessions during his first season with the Royals. That’s two a day for nearly all of the 162 regular season games, plus spring training. Questioners come and go during the season, but it’s usually the same core contingent. Manager Hillman now knows many of these people very well. Today, he met with them one final time to discuss the 2008 Royals and what he sees going into 2009. Here’s a snippet of what he had to say:
Overall impression of 2008: Trey mentioned that the team made considerable progress as they finished 13.0 games behind the division leader after being 27.0 games back in 2007.
On pitching: Hillman’s opening remarks included emphasis on Zack Greinke’s strong season. He later touched on Greinke’s strong preparation during the season. The emergence of Kyle Davies (right) was a key point that Hillman drove home. He said that Davies worked with Bob McClure and really improved his mental approach to each and every start down the stretch.
Differences between Japan and the U.S.: Hillman did not see “earth shattering” differences between the managing environments. He did note that Japanese teams have only one minor league club, so players have a little more urgency to prove themselves.
The September charge: The Royals finished a MLB best 18-8. Hillman noted that the strong finish left him with some nice memories to hang on to. He was impressed with the high character and intense work ethic of Kila Ka’aihue and Ryan Shealy. Hillman described the emotion that Devon Lowery brought to his first big league appearance. Manager Hillman will be speaking to the Royals’ instructional league players in Arizona on Wednesday morning. The “never be content” attitude of Ka’aihue, Shealy, and Lowery figures to be a central theme of his speech.
Changes in approach for 2009: Hillman spent much of the 2007-08 offseason getting to know the players on his roster. Now that relationships have been made, he wants to focus on other areas. He believes that any manager should strive to get better each season. One of his goals is to manage people better.
How the Royals can improve in 2009: When a media member asked if the Royals needed another big bat in the offense, Hillman contended that the run differential could be narrowed more by improvements on the mound. He said that the Royals will look for ways to add runs, but sometimes it is easier to improve from a pitching standpoint.
Other notes: Hillman will be studying an external hard drive filled with video of potential free agents. He has a ‘wish list’ of free agents, but he will leave any negotiating to Dayton Moore and his baseball operations staff. Hillman knows that the health of his players will go a long way toward a successful 2009. He has been working with the Royals training and conditioning staff for a few months on a ‘check and balance’ system for individual health and workouts this off season.
Royals Player/Pitcher of the Month: The September winners are Ryan Shealy and Zack Greinke. As we mentioned yesterday on ATH, Shealy led the Royals with 7 home runs, 20 RBI, and a .603 slugging percentage. This is his first Player of the Month award. Greinke went 4-1 with a 2.18 ERA, which placed sixth in the American League. The right-hander did not allow a run over his final 2 starts. This is Zack’s second monthly honor in 2008 (also April) and third of his career (September 2004).
Tonight is Futures’ Night, which means Kansas City will get to take a peak at the future of the organization. With the team on a seven game roll, tonight is a great night to make it out to the stadium.
The Minor League Players of the Year will be on hand. We’re going to have one last fireworks spectacular here at the “old” Kauffman Stadium, it’s Buck Night and of course the Royals pit their surging brand of baseball against the first-place White Sox. Let’s go Around the Horn…
The past few years the team has given Royals fans a glimpse of what is to come and not just with September call-ups (though it’s been exciting seeing the successes of Ryan Shealy and Kila Ka’aihue and Devon Lowery this month). Futures’ Night is that chance. Names like Mike Moustakas, Dan Cortes, Derrick Robinson, and Mike Montgomery are just a few of the players we’ve mentioned in this space who will be here to meet the fans.
But these players got a taste of what it means to be a Kansas City Royal earlier today. Some of the front office accompanied the players as they helped out at Harvesters and then toured the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum. The future of the Club then made its way to Kauffman to take in the Royals batting practice earlier this afternoon. It is important that these young players understand about the community they hope to play in and their short tour was designed to do just that. It’s worked in the past.
Among some of the names you might recognize from the last few years, Mike Aviles has won Minor League Player of the Year for his respective team three times (2007 at Omaha, 2004 at Wilmington and 2003 at Surprise), including the title of 2007 Minor League Player of Year last season for the entire organization. In 2006, three players who’ve seen time in the Majors this season were given the award. Zack Greinke and Alex Gordon – two of the building blocks for the team – won Pitcher and Player of the Year at Wichita and Carlos Rosa, who had three strikeouts in three innings earlier this season, was the Burlington Pitcher of the Year.
Billy Butler joins Aviles as a two-time winner of the award. He also won at two different levels. At 18, he won the Idaho Falls Player of the Year and followed that performance with the honor at High Desert as a 19-year old.
Some of the lower-level award winners over the past couple of years are already starting to help the organization win. Luis Cota and Nick Van Stratten won the award for Burlington Pitcher of the Year (2005) and Arizona Player of the Year (2006), respectively. Both were key to the success of the Burlington Bees in their run to the Midwest League Championship.
The team has clicked. Through the streak, the starter has won every game. They’ve bashed 12 homers and run their season win total to 69, matching their 2007 win total. With one more victory, they can secure their first 70-win season since going 83-79 in 2003.
After their last loss, a week ago in Cleveland, the Royals were 19 games back and eight behind Detroit. While they haven’t shaved much off their deficit to the division-leading White Sox, they are just three behind the Tigers.
Manager Trey Hillman told the media today that the strong play will get a test tonight. Matching up against the White Sox, a team who is playing for the postseason, he said the Royals will see just how well they have been playing. He hopes that they can continue their run, but doesn’t want to diminish what the Royals did in Cleveland. The Indians have been strong for most of the second half and Hillman’s boys shut them down (with the exception of the eventual Cy Young winner Cliff Lee).
Hillman sees tonight as a chance to measure his team. He believes comparing his team to the rest of the division, his main competition, will give him an accurate read on where he sits. Chicago will bring a playoff atmosphere to the K and the Royals will need to stand up to the division leaders – “the pride of the division,” – if they want a shot at not finishing in last place, which is a goal the manager thinks shows something.
Alberto Callaspo has hit in 12 straight, a career high…David DeJesus picked up his 70th RBI yesterday. DeJesus and Jose Guillen (95 RBI) are the first pair of Royals to knock in 70 or more runs in a season since Emil Brown (86) and Mike Sweeney (83) did it in 2005…DeJesus currently has a .402 average with runners in scoring position and is trying to become just the third Royal to end a season with a .400 RISP mark. Sweeney (.402 in 2002) and George Brett (.469 in 1980) are the only others to do it…Mark Teahen had two hits in the fourth inning yesterday, which was the first time a Royal had done that since Tony Pena, Jr. did it in the second versus St. Louis on June 14, 2007…The 500th strikeout of Zack Greinke’s career was former Royal Raul Ibanez in the first inning yesterday.
Tonight is the final Buck Night and Fireworks Friday. But tomorrow has plenty for the fans as well. Stocking caps and “Shirts Off Their Backs” Night will highlight the rest of the weekend’s promotions.
With the season coming to a close and Around the Horn running out of time, we here at ATH and the K want to again voice our deepest gratitude to you – the fan – for your support and for your patience with the renovation process. You will not be disappointed when we re-open on April 10, 2008 versus the Yankees.
Today’s Official Game Notes.
Four new Royals will be in uniform today as the September call-ups. Along with the four call-ups, are a flurry of other moves. Lefties John Bale, Jimmy Gobble and Ron Mahay have all been activated from the Disabled List and in one fell swoop, the Royals bullpen jumped from none to three Southpaws.
Among the call-ups are two newbies (technically three since Yasuhiko Yabuta is still a rookie) and two players who’ve seen some service time. Ryan Shealy played parts of the last two seasons and will rejoin the Major League club. He’s slotted at first tonight, though rain is falling at Kauffman Stadium right now. Yabuta will also make his return, moving back into the bullpen.
To make all of this work, the Royals Baseball Operations made a flurry of other moves as well to open up roster spots for three players who weren’t on the 40-man roster. Angel Sanchez, Carlos Rosa and Shane Costa were all recalled and placed on the 60-day DL. Each had been on the Minor League DL before the Triple-A Omaha season. Royals second baseman Mark Grudzielanek was also moved to the 60-day, ending speculation that he might return from his ankle injury.
Congratulations to Mark Teahen. He’s the Roberto Clemente Award winner for the Royals. The Clemente Award is given to the player on each team who both sports the on-field skills to be a valuable member of his team but is also devoted to helping their community.
Teahen has played four positions for the Royals this year and over the weekend, banged homers in back-to-back games, giving him 12 on the year. He also became the first Royal since Brian McRae did it in 1992 to hit two inside-the-park home runs in a single season.
He’s delivered off the field just as well. Earlier this year his fashion show raised $75,000 for the Kansas City area Challenger Division of Little League Baseball. The Challenger program helps children with disabilities to play baseball, using able-bodied buddies and specially-designed fields.
The award comes at a great time for Teahen who has his next Challenger event set in stone at Cold Stone Creamery on the Country Club Plaza. Teahen will be there from 6-7 on Sunday, Sept. 7. During the hour Teahen is there, fans are asked to donate to Challenger instead of regular payment. 100 percent of the money collected during the hour will go to the program.
Former Royals broadcaster Buddy Blattner is up for the 2009 Ford C. Frick Award (vote here), the same award Denny Mathews won in 2007 and Mariners’ broadcaster Dave Niehaus won in 2008. Around the Horn interviewed Mathews and Niehaus earlier this season about the Cooperstown experience…Mike Aviles chatted with fans earlier today. He still leads rookies in batting average, sitting at .330…You can still get a great deal on gas and Royals tickets. Interested? Check it out…You can also be a hot dog (check here).
The next homestand will feature a very special opportunity. A deal this good hasn’t been around since 1973. You can get a seat at the K for $3. Yep, three bucks.
It’s called retro-pricing and it’s a tribute to the old stadium as the Royals prepare for the Grand Re-Opening next season.
So from September 15-18 (the Mariners’series), you can get an upper deck seat for 1973 prices. In addition, general admission parking for the four games is just $5, courtesy of The Parking Spot.
Today’s Official Game Notes.