Results tagged ‘ Mitch Maier ’
Royals Caravan launched yesterday with an awards luncheon and last night, fans flocked to Rally House in Independence for an autograph session. We had a great turnout – the line stretched out the door (and it was a chilly night in the Midwest). Lorenzo Cain, Johnny Giavotella and Eric Hosmer led off, followed by Bruce Chen, Alex Gordon and Mitch Maier. Let’s take a look:
The Royals Caravan headed to St. Joseph, Mo., and Omaha, Neb., on Thursday. Alex Gordon, Luke Hochevar, Frank White and John Mayberry traveled on the Caravan Bus to meet 200 fans near the salad bar at Hy-Vee in St. Joe. They went room-to-room talking with kids at the Omaha Children’s Hospital and then visited with 350 Royals fans at the Omaha Storm Chasers event.
Mitch Maier was to join the crew, but his flight was canceled during the big snow storm that blanketed Kansas City on Wednesday Night. Mitch will have to join Gordon’s homecoming to the Cornhusker state next year!
The Royals will launch the 2011 Royals Caravan presented by Fox Sports Kansas City as they visit fans in St. Joseph, Mo., and Omaha, Neb., on Thursday, January 20. A number of current Royals players and front office officials, as well as Royals legends, will take part in the annual Caravan event with trips to Midwestern towns throughout January.
This Caravan trip will include Royals outfielders Alex Gordon and Mitch Maier, pitcher Luke Hochevar and Royals Hall of Famers John Mayberry and Frank White. A tentative schedule of Caravan events is listed below and at royals.com/caravan.
Following the one-day trip, the club will host the marquee off-season event, Royals FanFest, taking place on January 21-22 at the Overland Park Convention Center in Overland Park, Kan. The best place for fans to meet their favorite Royals, FanFest features appearances from more than 40 current, former and future players, interactive games for fans of all ages, main stage programming and much more. Additional details can be found at royals.com/fanfest.
2011 Royals Caravan presented by Fox Sports Kansas City
North Caravan Trip: Thursday, January 20
Participants: Alex Gordon, Luke Hochevar, Mitch Maier, John Mayberry, Frank White
11:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m.: Meet & Greet at Hy-Vee – 201 N. Belt Hwy. in St. Joseph (Hosted by KFEQ Radio and St. Joseph Cablevision)
4-5 p.m.: Visit kids undergoing treatment at Omaha Children’s Hospital – 8200 Dodge St. in Omaha (Hosted by Omaha Storm Chasers)
*Private event, but members of the media are welcome to attend
5:30-7:30 p.m.: Meet & Greet at Ultimate Baseball Academy – 4225 S. 121st St. in Omaha (Hosted by Omaha Storm Chasers)
Yost said he sees a lot of similarities between the type of team the Royals are trying to build and the squad the Rays have this season. The manager said he hopes to become a perennial contender like Tampa Bay by creating a successful farm system and bringing up the youngsters at the right time. He admitted it can be a struggle to have the necessary patience to wait on calling up productive minor leaguers, especially when others are pressuring to do so. Yost added that he thinks a minor league player is ready for the big leagues when he has strong numbers, shows maturity, and has proven that he has the right mentality to overcome failure.
The Blanco Beat
Gregor Blanco will play in right field tonight due to Mitch Maier still having stiffness in his knee. Yost said another reason for playing Blanco in that position is to get a look at his versatility. Maier is still a day or two away from taking the field.
Blanco will also bat leadoff, while yesterday’s leadoff hitter, Jarrod Dyson, will bat ninth. Yost explained that he likes Dyson hitting ahead of Blanco because if they get on base at the same time, Dyson will be more aggressive in taking advantage of the double steal.
Welcome to the big show!
Lucas May will make his Major League debut tonight. Yost sees the start as necessary in order to get a good look at the catcher and see what he’s capable of doing. The manager doesn’t plan on filling May’s head with advice before the game, but does expect him to discuss strategy with tonight’s starter, Bruce Chen. Yost believes the veteran Chen will pair up well with the “newbie” and will have the patience to hang with the young catcher and help him get through his first start.
Detroit catcher Max St. Pierre is also making his big league debut in tonight’s ballgame after having spent nearly 14 years in the minors. St. Pierre spent 2007 Spring Training in Surprise with the Royals.
It’s a balancing act
Yost also discussed his “dual thinking,” meaning he first and foremost shows up everyday to win, but at the same time he is trying to figure out how to get better for next year. For example, Yost might let a player hit when he would normally would pinch hit for the player because he needs to see what the player is capable of doing in certain situations. He admitted it’s tough to balance the two, but he tries to keep it as steady as he can.
In the two-hole
With Jason Kendall out due to extensive repair to his rotator cuff, Mitch Maier is now seeing playing time at the two-hole in the batting order. According to Yost, Maier is statistically the best situational hitter on the team (Kendall had been second). Situational hitting is something the team tracks from game one until the end of the season, and is also something the club works on everyday.
With the news of Scott Podsednik’s trade to the Dodgers not even a day old, Yost faced several questions regarding the impact the move will have on the team. First, Yost pointed out that the loss of Podsednik creates the opportunity for Alex Gordon to further develop on a day-to-day basis as an outfielder. Yost also added that the change allots more playing time to Mitch Maier. Furthermore, Yost sees the move as a positive exchange for two quality players, catcher Lucas May and pitcher Elisaul Pimentel, whom he views as adding depth to the organization. Yost believes creating depth is very important and will be key to not missing a beat in critical situations, such as when Gil Meche and Luke Hochevar were placed on the disabled list and the quality pitchers necessary to fill the void simply were not there. The manager also noted the downside of the trade, however, saying that the team lost a .300 hitter and a spark on the bases, as well as a real pro and classy individual. In the end, Yost sees the trade as a move made in the best interest of the organization because it is crucial to increase the talent base at the minor league level and to allow home grown players (such as Gordon) more time to develop at the Major League level.
Without Podsednik in the order, the lineup will look a bit different from now on. Willie Bloomquist will bat leadoff in tonight’s game, but Yost said the spot will vary from day-to-day. Yost believes the Royals no longer have a prototypical leadoff hitter, but he doesn’t see this as a major problem, adding that Bloomquist, Maier, and Jason Kendall are all capable of hitting in the one spot.
The recent vacancy of Podsednik’s roster position also created changes in the bullpen, with right-hander Greg Holland being called up from Triple-A Omaha. Yost said he opted for a pitcher in this situation because the bullpen has been in a flux and he doesn’t want to overuse guys. He thinks Holland will be able to split some time and showcase his 94-97 mph fastball, though he admitted Holland need to improve his command that he has struggled with at times in the minors.
Tonight fans will see David DeJesus in center field and Mitch Maier in right field, a decision Yost made simply because DeJesus is playing great at that position and he wants Maier to become acclimated with all three outfield positions.
Yost said the two errors in last night’s game were not due to a lack of focus nor were they related to the team having time off over the All-Star Break. Instead, he believes the errors were aggressive mistakes and the result of the players trying to do too much in an effort to get off on the right foot in the second half of the season. Yost expects the team to be less anxious tonight and to play a little more controlled.
Under further review
The manager also discussed Coco Crisp’s controversial leadoff double in last night’s game. Yost said the reversed call definitely set a dangerous precedent for the contest. While he understands that human error is a natural part of the game and that players and coaches have to live with mistakes, he also believes players and teams should get what they earn, but not to the point that the game is stopped for review after every play.
Pena playing time
Yost also announced that Brayan Pena will see a little more action in the remainder of the season. Yost knows, however, that playing time is not a major concern of Pena’s. The manager described Pena as a great team player who understands and accepts his backup role behind Jason Kendall. Additionally, Yost claimed that Pena is the perfect guy for the backup catcher position and is always working hard and getting in as many reps as possible.
Gil Meche bounced back really well today and has plans to play catch, play long toss, and throw a side tomorrow. Should things go as planned, Yost hopes to send the pitcher out on a rehab assignment, probably to Double-A Northwest Arkansas, on Wednesday. According to Yost, Meche is back to feeling good and healthy, though his command is still a bit shaky.
It’s not over ’til it’s over
So far this season, the Royals have scored 28 times with two outs and no runners on. According to Yost, this statistic is a good indication of the offense’s attitude and understanding that an inning isn’t over until there are three outs. Yost takes no credit for the headstrong attitude, but instead says it is just a mindset ingrained in the players themselves.
Hoping for a Banny repeat
In tonight’s game vs. the White Sox, Yost hopes to see starting pitcher Brian Bannister do what he did in his last outing against the Nationals when he went 6.0 innings, giving up five hits and no runs. Yost believes Bannister will have another successful start if he keeps the ball down, which he can do very well with his cutting fastball and sinking changeup.
Wilson Betemit is back in the lineup for the second time in three games, a move Yost made because of Betemit’s hot bat and power potential. Not in the lineup for the third straight contest is Mitch Maier, but Yost had nothing but positive things to say about the outfielder.
In Sunday’s interview with manager Ned Yost, Yost began the conversation by talking about the lineup. Yost said he didn’t change today’s order because he wants to get his feet on the ground, especially after a quick turnaround from last night’s game, but will likely start changing it up while on the road. Yost continued by saying that eventually he wants a set lineup and will try to refrain from moving hitters up and down in the order on a regular basis. The manager also mentioned that he sees a couple candidates for the Royals three-hole, but he would like to keep a certain comfort level in the clubhouse, so he doesn’t want to make any drastic changes.
Yost also discussed the work ethics of several players, including Scott Podsednik, whom he managed in Milwaukee, Mike Aviles and Mitch Maier. The manager said that all three are good examples of players taking full advantage of opportunities. Yost also expressed that the three represent the type of players he wants to manage–those who come willing to work their tails off every single day. The new manager doesn’t want players who are satisfied with being good, but rather those who want to be great.
Finally, Yost provided brief injury updates on Jose Guillen, Robinson Tejeda, John Parrish, and Rick Ankiel. Yost said that after getting hit in last night’s game, Guillen’s finger went numb for about an inning but is fine now. Additionally, Tejeda (strained left calf) feels virtually no pain in his leg, Parrish (inflamed rotator cuff) is feeling better, and Ankiel (right quad strain) is also feeling better but is still some days away. Both Parrish and Ankiel will go out on rehab assignments before they return to Kauffman.
Fields to undergo surgery
Manager Trey Hillman told the media that infielder Josh Fields will undergo right labral hip surgery. He is likely out for the season at this point. The surgery will be performed by the same hip specialist that handled the surgeries for Alex Gordon and Alex Rodriguez.
Rick Ankiel left last night’s game with a slight pull of the right quad. Mitch Maier is in the lineup today and Ankiel is “probable” for a potential pinch hit appearance. The injury is considered day-to-day and not serious enough to send the outfielder to the D.L.
Second baseman Chris Getz is doing well and will start a rehab assignment on Monday in Omaha. The plan is for Getz to play three to four games with the O-Royals before returning to the Major League squad. He is eligible to return from the D.L. on Friday.
Joakim Soria pitched a season high 2.0 innings last night. His availability for Sunday’s game depends on the situation.
Josh Rupe worked out of a bases-loaded situation last night, then worked another scoreless frame. Hillman is pleased with Rupe’s progress and his aggressiveness on the mound.