Results tagged ‘ Rick Ankiel ’
Royals general manager Dayton Moore and his entire staff have had a busy few weeks, all culminating in a press conference today at Kauffman Stadium at 3:30 p.m. Moore and surprise attendee Royals manager Ned Yost sat down at the desk in front of local media to talk about a few subjects on today’s agenda.
The first topic was the announcement that the club and Yost had agreed to a two-year contract, keeping the manager in Kansas City through at least 2012.
Yost was asked how this situation in Kansas City compared to his time in Milwaukee, when he took over a club coming off a 106-loss season in 2002. The KC skipper said that while Milwaukee had a lot of very good prospects (Prince Fielder, J.J. Hardy, Rickie Weeks among them), they were at lower levels of the system than the bulk of the top prospects the Royals have currently. He also mentioned that Milwaukee was unbalanced when it came to prospects, as they loaded up on power hitters and lacked in front-line pitchers. He sees a great mix of both pitchers (and power pitchers at that) and position prospects on the Royals farm.
Yost mentioned that he knew during spring training, as he took a look around the Royals’ complex in Surprise, that this is where he wanted to be long term. He mentioned that building relationships are the key ingredient to building championship ballclubs and putting the pieces together to build a champion is one of the most fun things in life to do. He plans to accomplish that here in Kansas City and to do it together with the people in the front office he’s built very strong relationships with thus far.
Moore was asked why he thought Yost was the right man to lead this club forward both in the short and long term. He responded that Yost’s leadership abilities are off the charts and his experience both in Atlanta and Milwaukee building a winner was a very important component. Moore did admit quite candidly that he had done his due diligence looking around at other managerial candidates, but he believes he found the right guy here. The communication between Moore and Yost, an extremely key component to building a winner, works very well.
The second topic was the big trade that sent outfielder Rick Ankiel and pitcher Kyle Farnsworth to the Atlanta Braves for outfielder Gregor Blanco and pitchers Jesse Chavez and Tim Collins. From all indications, the deal was finalized and approved by the commissioner’s office very close to the 3 p.m. CT deadline. Both Blanco and Chavez will join the Royals soon while Collins, a fireballing left-handed reliever, will report to Triple-A Omaha.
The 26-year-old Blanco was hitting .310 in limited time with the Braves this season and made his debut in 2008, posting a good rookie campaign with Atlanta in which he finished with a .366 on-base percentage. Royals GM Dayton Moore compared the speedy outfielder to Mitch Maier, in that he can play all three outfield positions well and can handle the bat. He likes the fact that the club controls Blanco for four more seasons so the team will have a chance to evaluate him as they move forward.
Chavez is 26. He is a right-handed reliever with a very good arm who has been inconsistent for the past three seasons in the big leagues with the Pirates and Braves. Chavez was traded this offseason for former Rays second baseman Akinori Iwamura and then for All-Star closer Rafael Soriano. The California native will join the Royals bullpen.
Finally, 20-year-old left-hander Tim Collins has had a whirlwind month of July. He was first a key part of the July 14 trade that sent shortstop Alex Gonzalez to Atlanta and shortstop Yunel Escobar to Toronto. Small in stature at 5-foot-7, the southpaw has a well above-average fastball and an overhand curve that he has employed to post a 2.29 ERA and 87 strikeouts in just 51.0 innings at the Double-A level in 2010. Moore compared Collins to closer Billy Wagner, who currently has 409 saves in the Majors. The Royals GM told the media that his scouts have indicated to him Collins has a chance to be a contributor in the big league bullpen as early as next season.
Editor’s note: The media relations team salutes Brett, one of our interns, on his outstanding work. This is his final blog entry as he will be leaving to take a job in Louisiana. Brett started in 2009 with the marketing department and worked in media relations this season. Good luck, Gordo! We will miss you!
Yer outa here!
Manager Ned Yost addressed the fallout from his ejection during Thursday’s game. He has not been contacted by Major League Baseball in regards to any possible suspension or fine. However, Yost said that in his past experience, the league has openly listened to both sides and handed down a fair decision.
He’s an inspiration…
Outfielder David DeJesus has been one of the Royals hottest hitters since the birth of his first son, David DeJesus, Jr. on May 25. Yost sees the possibility of DeJesus having extra motivation, but also thinks DeJesus is in a hot streak. Yost said, “He is seeing the ball good and making great contact.”
The road to recovery…
Outfielder Rick Ankiel will begin his rehabilitation assignment on Tuesday with the Royals’ AAA affiliate, the Omaha Royals. Yost says that Ankiel has looked impressive in batting practice, but also stated that he needs to get his timing right before a return to Kansas City’s lineup. Yost said that when Ankiel does come back he will resume his roll in the outfield and won’t find any time as the designated hitter. In addition, it is discussed in the Royals game notes today that left-handed reliever John Parrish will also join Ankiel in Omaha on a rehab assignment.
Kanekoa in K.C.
The Royals acquired Kanekoa Texeira off waivers yesterday from Seattle. Yost sees the reliever as a sixth or seventh inning guy and someone who the Royals will use for up to two innings. He talked about Texeira’s sinker and slider (according to Baseball America, the righty had the best slider in the White Sox organization entering 2008). Seattle’s coaching staff had good things to say about Texeira.
Yost was asked about the #2 position in the batting order and using Jason Kendall there vs. Mike Aviles. Yost sees Kendall as a perfect number two hitter. Kendall likes to take pitches and is a good situational hitter. Aviles is more aggressive and Yost doesn’t want the second baseman to alter his game. He believes that Aviles could eventually become a number two hitter in the Majors.
John Parrish threw well in live batting practice today. Rick Ankiel took live batting practice and ran the bases. Yost believes that they could both start rehab assignments next week. Gil Meche is still going through treatments and has not begun to throw.
Let the good times roll…
Ned Yost is excited about the positivity felt in the clubhouse since becoming the Royals manager. His goal is to get his players to play relaxed and stay on an even keel, stating it is necessary to temper the high points and reinforce confidence during the low points throughout the season.
On the mend…
Yost touched on two key pieces of the Royals’ roster currently on the disabled list; centerfielder Rick Ankiel and left-handed reliever John Parrish. Neither player has a firm date to return to the active roster, but Yost is encouraged by both players’ progress. Ankiel is continuing light work and Parrish threw off flat ground yesterday stretching his arm out to 105 ft.
What a relief!!!
Yost mentioned several of his bullpen hurlers this afternoon; including Robinson Tejeda, Blake Wood, and Joakim Soria. Yost has been extremely impressed by recent call up Blake Wood, specifically citing the efficiency of his pitches. Yost would like to get Tejeda in for a low pressure outing, but isn’t afraid use him immediately if the situation calls for it. Yost finished by saying that closer Joakim Soria will get an inning today after not seeing action in four straight games.
…and manager Ned Yost (shown at left with last week’s honorary lineup) is feeling good. In Friday’s pre-game interview with the media, Yost began by saying he’s glad to be back, especially with such nice weather.
Free your mind and the rest will follow…
Yost feels that the biggest impact he’s had in his first week as Royals manager is getting the guys to relax. He believes the team was pressing too hard because they didn’t want former manager Trey Hillman to take the heat for their poor performance. As a result, Yost has been trying to get the team back to square one and playing in a relaxed atmosphere where they can get back to their natural ability.
I like it like that…
After going 5-2 over the past week, Yost found a lot to like about the boys in blue. He listed several positives, including how the team had quality at-bats, how the pitchers attacked, how the relievers limited damage in tight situations, and how the team scored runs.
Don’t look back…
According to the manager, baseball is a marathon, so you must maintain a day-to-day focus. Yost said it’s important to forget the day before and move on to the next one, but it’s also important to analyze the strengths and weaknesses of each day.
Put me in coach…
Yost also provided brief injury updates before the game. Robinson Tejeda (strained left calf) was cleared yesterday and Yost wanted to ease him in against the Indians, but it just wasn’t necessary with the way Luke Hochevar was pitching. Tejeda also has the green light today. Additionally, Rick Ankiel (right quad strain) took batting practice today and is still making progress. John Parrish is also making progress, but still hasn’t thrown off a mound.
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.
During manager Trey Hillman’s meeting with the press before Wednesday’s game, he addressed questions concerning Rick Ankiel, John Parrish, Yuniesky Betancourt, and Jason Kendall. Hillman quieted concerns about Ankiel not being in the lineup due to a strained right quad, saying that they are still being cautious with the outfielder. Hillman also noted that everyone in the bullpen is available except for Parrish because he has a sore shoulder.
In regards to Betancourt, Hillman said he is pleased with his improved defense, especially in his ability to take better angles to the left side. According to the manager, Betancourt also seems more focused and has a better sense of urgency this season.
The main topic of the session centered on catcher Jason Kendall’s ability to play day after day, year after year. Kendall will play his 1,927th career game behind the plate today, tying former Royals’ catcher Jim Sundberg for sixth on the all-time career games caught list. When asked how this “iron man” does it, Hillman said it is Kendall’s mindset that keeps him going. He said the catcher expects to play everyday and he does a good job listening to his body as well. Hillman also added that hopefully the next 20 games will be a bit lighter for Kendall.
Manager Trey Hillman was asked about centerfielder Rick Ankiel’s availability:
Hillman said Ankiel took some batting practice in the cage and had light activity in the outfield. He said the centerfielder looks to be moving at 60 to 70 percent and is available to pinch hit. Hillman felt he could rush Ankiel into the lineup, but stated it was more prudent to allow the injury to heal completely.
The media asked Hillman to compare this team’s defensive ability to last year’s team:
Hillman likes his team’s ability to get to balls, both in the infield and outfield. He specifically mentioned his outfield arms; saying leftfielder Scott Podsednik and rightfielder David DeJesus have been incredibly accurate, in addition to being impressed by the arm strength shown by Rick Ankiel. Hillman has seen better lateral movement this year from shortstop Yuniesky Betancourt and feels first baseman Billy Butler has significantly improved his ability around the bag.
Hillman was asked to comment on any pressure that Royals’ ace Zack Greinke may be feeling:
Hillman admitted that Greinke is probably feeling some pressure to duplicate last year’s success. Although Trey continued by saying that Greinke wouldn’t admit to any pressure.
Hillman finished by giving an update on second baseman Chris Getz:
Hillman said Getz is feeling good. He started today for the Omaha Royals at second, going 2-for-4 for the AAA club in a 10-inning game.
Here’s what manager Trey Hillman had to say Monday afternoon before the game vs. Seattle:
On facing Mariners’ right-handed pitcher Felix Hernandez:
”He’s nasty. He’s good at making you chase, so we’ll need to be disciplined.”
On what the Royals need to keep improving:
”We need more stability. The offense gets enough hits, but we still leave runners stranded…and we give up more runs than anyone in the MLB in the seventh inning…more consistency would help.”
On Rick Ankiel’s status (strained right quad):
”He’s ok, still a little stiff. He was pinch-hittable yesterday, so we’ll see how he is today and re-evaluate for tomorrow.”
On getting more out of the starting pitchers:
”We’re getting enough. We need to keep guys healthy as long as possible. Eventually we’ll let guys get to 120 pitches.”
On the Royals’ defense:
”It’s not as good as I’d hoped, specifically on double-plays. Overall, Podsednik is a great left fielder, but with the dimensions and wind there’s a learning curve. Balls in the left field corner are pretty difficult.”
On being comfortable with the bullpen:
”I’m closer than opening day, but we’ve had a few bumps. I’m comfortable with Rupe to get the job done, and Parrish is good when he’s not overused. He [Parrish] has one of the best left-on-left breaking balls and I still think we can get the same Tejeda as last year.”
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.