Results tagged ‘ Ryan Shealy ’

Saturday Lineup, Friday Recap, Promotions Lineup

Greetings Royals fans! Hopefully a few of you are reading this from sunny Surprise, Arizona, where the temperature is expected to top 80 today. What a crazy week in Kansas City…70+ degrees for our stadium tour on Wednesday (check out the pictures), and now, we have one of our larger snowfalls of the winter!

Lefebvre Stewart Free.jpgKansas City hosts San Diego at Surprise Stadium today (2:05 Central, 1:05 local). Today’s game can be heard on 610 Sports in Kansas City and on with a subscription to Gameday Audio. Steve Stewart and Ryan Lefebvre will call the action while Don Free runs the controls. Brian Bannister makes his spring debut on his 28th birthday. Here’s the lineup:



Crisp – CF
Aviles – SS
DeJesus – LF
Guillen – DH
Jacobs – 1B
Gordon – 3B
Teahen – 2B
Buck – C
Duarte – RF
Bannister – RHP

Available Pitchers:
Hochevar – RHP
Gobble – LHP
DiNardo – LHP
Cortes – RHP
Waechter – RHP
Colon – RHP

Yesterday, Zack Greinke (above right) pitched two perfect innings as KC beat the Giants 6-1.


Shealy HR Celebration 2.27.jpgRyan Shealy is starting 2009 the way he finished 2008…on a power surge! He clubbed a 3-run home run for the Blue Crew. 


We also want to point out the 2009 promotions, special events, and ticket initiatives. Fan favorites such as Buck Night and Hy-Vee/Pepsi Fireworks Fridays are back. In addition, the Royals will have two Girls’ Night Out events and plenty of great giveaways! Single game tickets go on sale to the general public next Saturday, so scope the promotions list and mark your top events now! Click here for the complete list that was released today!


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Royals Bowl for Charity, Compete in Home Run Derby during busy weekend

 The Royals have been extremely active in their Arizona spring home the last few days.  Yesterday, in addition to going through physicals and a typical three-hour workout, catcher John Buck, first baseman Ryan Shealy and do-everything man Mark Teahen drove across the Valley of the Sun to Mark Grace’s Super Bowl Classic.  The former Cub and D’Back hosts a celebrity bowling tournament each year in Scottsdale to benefit a specific charity.  This season, the proceeds from the event went to the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. 

Shealy 9.18.jpgBuck, Shealy and Teahen were joined by more than 50 other celebrities and athletes such as Bob Uecker, Greg Maddux, and actor Bill Murray, who displayed his bowling talents as Ernie ‘Big Ern’ McCracken in Kingpin. Shealy rolled the highest score of the night among the three, putting a 173 on the board with the help of Buck, who bowled a strike while Ryan was away for a minute. All three bowled in the straight variety, electing not to put spin on the ball.  Buck and Shealy shared a 16-pound ball simply because their fingers wouldn’t fit into any others. Apparently, Buck’s strategy was just to throw the ball as hard as possible at the pins while Shealy and Teahen were a bit more aware of aiming. All three said they were able to make their bowling shoes look good, so we guess that’s something.  While none of the three won the tournament, they contributed in other ways, including Mark Teahen’s purchase in the silent auction of an NFC Champion Arizona Cardinals football helmet signed by the entire team.  ATH is positive that will become one of Teahen’s prized possessions since he is a die-hard Cardinals fan, season ticket holder, and even made the trip across the country to the Super Bowl a few weeks ago.

Sunday was no less eventful here in Surprise.

Meche Photo Day.jpg
Gordon Photo Day.jpgThe players and coaches arrived early to the complex for photo day. This is the day where all the photo agencies, including MLB Photos, Getty Images, Associated Press and Topps, visit the complex to take photos of the players for 2009. The images you will see all season on Kauffman’s giant CrownVision were created today.

Autographs.jpgIn addition to photo day, today was FanFest day at Surprise Stadium.  After the complex-mate Rangers worked out on the field for about an hour, the Boys in Blue took the field at 10 a.m. for a one hour and 15 minute workout complete with batting practice, relay throws and infield practice. Following the on-field workout, the team retired to the back fields for an intrasquad game. Famed bowler Ryan Shealy was one of three Royals to go deep in the intrasquad game. 

House HR Derby.jpgManager Trey Hillman was joined by pitchers Joakim Soria, Gil Meche and Ron Mahay for an autograph session and first baseman Kila Ka’aihue, third baseman Corey Smith and catcher J.R. House participated in a home run derby on the Surprise Stadium main field. House and University of Kansas product Travis Metcalf, a Rangers player, tied setting up a swing-off. The former Jayhawk prevailed, but it was a great effort by the Royals catcher and non-roster invite. ATH thinks if they settled it by who could throw a football the longest, House would have prevailed considering he was a big-time quarterback recruit coming out of West Virginia.

HR Derby.jpgStay tuned for more behind the scenes updates from Surprise, Arizona.  Remember, games are just three days away as the Royals kick off the spring slate on Wednesday against the Rangers. Horacio Ramirez is scheduled to get the ball to start the opener.

Trey Hillman: Season One

Thumbnail image for 9-18 Trey 3.jpg
 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.

Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for 6-17 Davies.jpgOn 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.

Thumbnail image for 9-21 Kila 3.jpgThe 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.

Thumbnail image for 8-27 Greinke.jpgRoyals 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).

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A September to Remember

The ATH crew is counting down the days until spring training after the Royals finished 2008 on fire. Kansas City won two of three in the Twin Cities, which secured the best September mark in Major League Baseball at 18-8.

Today’s post is stat-heavy. If you dig into the September stats, you’ll see that a few of the current Royals put themselves among elite company in the team history books.

Thumbnail image for 9-5 Shealy.jpg Seventh Heaven:
Ryan Shealy blasted 7 home runs during September, which tied him for the sixth-best September total in club history. (John Mayberry and Danny Tartabull share the record with 9 in 1972 and 1987, respectively. Steve Balboni, Carlos Beltran, and Jeff King clubbed 8 apiece.) Shealy, recalled from Omaha on September 2, also led the club with 20 RBI and a .603 slugging percentage.

Thumbnail image for 8-5 Aviles.jpgRecord-Setting Rook:
Mike Aviles finished his storybook rookie campaign with a few more records and notes. Aviles led all MLB rookies with 33 hits during the month (Minnesota’s Denard Span has 30 hits. He could add to his total if Minnesota has to play Chicago on Tuesday.) Aviles’ 33 hits ties him with Carlos Beltran for the second-best September total by a Royals rookie. George Brett set the mark with 35 in 1974. Aviles also crossed the plate 22 times during the month, which ties him for third all-time in franchise history. Brett and Al Cowens scored 23 times apiece as the Royals rolled through September, 1977. Tartabull had 22 in 1987 and Beltran matched that mark in 2002 and 2003.

Consistent Callaspo: Alberto Callaspo hit in 18 consecutive games during September. The streak was the longest by a Royal in 2008. Callaspo batted .344 (22-for-64) during the 18 games. His streak was tied for the ninth-longest in club history.

3 x 4: Kyle Davies, Zack Greinke, and Gil Meche each went 4-1 during September. The last time three K.C. pitchers won 4 games in the same calendar month was August, 1989. Bret Saberhagen went 7-0 while Tom Gordon compiled a 5-1 record and Mark Gubicza chipped in with a 4-2 mark. Davies, Greinke, and Meche became just the third trio to win at least 4 games in September. The last time, you ask? The year was 1978, when team Hall of Famer’s Dennis Leonard, Larry Gura, and Paul Splittorff accomplished the feat.

Thumbnail image for 9-18 Soria.jpgClosing Points:
We can’t make it through this post without mentioning another dominant month from All-Star Joakim Soria. The right-hander converted all 9 of his save opportunities. The 9 saves surpassed Dan Quisenberry’s club record of 8 September saves, established in 1984. Soria tied Francisco Rodriguez of the Angels for the most saves in the big leagues during the month. KC’s closer posted a perfect 0.00 ERA while limiting opponents to an .091 batting average. His 42 rescues on the year ranks fourth in single-season club history, trailing only Jeff Montgomery (45 in 1993) and Dan Quisenberry (45 in 1983 and 44 in 1984).

A Look Ahead: Manager Trey Hillman is meeting with media members on Tuesday. We’ll bring you a wrap up of the press conference. During the off season, look for a few quick posts each week to keep you up to date on events in the Royals organization.

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Goin' to roam in the dome before coming home

9-26 Butler.jpgWe’ve come to that point. Just three games left and one final full-length regular season post. The Royals already closed out their home schedule and now they begin their final series of the regular season inside the Metrodome.

It’s going to be a playoff atmosphere in the dome as both teams are in a race of sorts. The Twins and the Royals hold leads in their respective races and control their own destiny, let’s control the destiny of this post and go Around the Horn…

To set things up right, here’s a quick team profile for the series:

The Twins: They are 5-5 over their last 10 and 8-7 in their last 15, boasting a current four-game winning streak. However, the three most important victories of the season – to this point – were their last three. 
9-26 Twins.jpgTheir sweep of Chicago took them from 2.5 games behind the White Sox to a half-game lead for the divisional crown. Minnesota’s magic number is four. That means any combination of four White Sox losses and wins for the Twins gets them into the playoffs without a tiebreaker or a make-up game (Chicago has played one less than Minnesota). Chicago is back at home playing out the season versus the Indians. A sweep by Cleveland means the Twins need just one win over the weekend. Likewise, if the Sox sweep their series and the Twins lose one game, Chicago is in. If the two teams are separated by a half game, the White Sox have to make up their rainout on Monday. Should the teams tie, they will play a tiebraker on Tuesday in Chicago. The Twins have been playing playoff baseball for about a week and they are tough in the dome, owning a .667 winning percentage at home.

The Royals: They’ve been as tough as any team in the Majors this month. After sweeping the Tigers under the rug for the third time this season
9-26 Banny.jpgthe Boys in Blue are riding a three-game winning streak and are 8-2 in their last 10 and have taken 11 of their last 13. September has been good to the Royals who have posted a 16-7 record. It’s their highest win total for the final month since the 1985 World Championship team won 18. The Royals race has much less riding on it, but its become big news over the last few weeks. The team’s goal is to finish out of last place for the first time since 2003. As it stands, Detroit is half a game back, and would only have to play the missed date if the Sox are within a half game of the Twins. Without taking into account their possible game against Chicago on Monday, the magic number for the Royals and Detroit is also four. So scoreboard watching is a must this weekend as the Tigers welcomed Tampa Bay to Comerica yesterday, winning the first of a four-game series.

9-26 royals logo.jpgIt will be a playoff atmosphere (in more ways than one) with large crowds on hand in the Metrodome. For their crucial series with the White Sox, the Twins hosted 120,952 fans. They drew no less than 35,000 each game and posted consecutive games with 42,000-plus.

9-26 twins logo.jpgSo there it is, the final showdown of the season. The red-hot Royals versus the streaking Twins. Minnesota holds the season edge with a 11-4 record and a 4-2 mark in the Metrodome. But they haven’t faced the September Royals, featuring the second-highest team batting average in the Majors (.299), the second lowest ERA in the American League (3.71) and the Majors’ second lowest opponents’ batting average (.237). Other notable September figures include: David DeJesus leading the A.L. in hits (33), while hitting .388 (fifth in the A.L.) and he’s tied for fifth in triples (2). He’s ninth in on-base percentage (.443). Alberto Callaspo is also tied for fifth in triples, as is Mike Aviles, who is second in runs (19). Jose Guillen is tied for fourth in doubles (8). Ryan Shealy’s seven homers are tied for the A.L. lead and his .661 slugging percentage is fifth-best.

This team also knows a thing or two about playing well in the final series of the season and keeping divisional crown hopefuls from achieving their goals. The title spoiler is bittersweet, but the Royals played it in 2006 when the Tigers needed one win for the Central Championship. Instead, the Royals swept them and the Twins snuck by.

9-26 Maier.jpgSecond
Mitch Maier had a career night two days ago. His bases-clearing triple – just the second extra base hit of his career – helped the Royals in producing their biggest inning of the season during the fifth, when they plated seven (it tied their other seven-run inning on July 3 at Baltimore during the sixth).

Maier joined Mark Teahen as the only Royals to get two hits in a single inning this season. In fact, Teahen joined that club only a week prior versus Seattle. Previous to Teahen, the Royals had not accomplished the feat since Tony Pena, Jr. did it in 2007.

Maier, a Petoskey, Michigan native, had at least one fan in the crowd on Wednesday. 9-26 Maier 2.jpgHis father stood up from his seat to cheer his son after the big triple – he was the lone fan in his section applauding the hit. Maier graduated from Novi High School – a suburb of Detroit, approximately 35 minutes from downtown.

Maier has played in 12 games since returning from the three facial fractures he suffered in August. While his average is not high in his return, his production has been there. In games when he’s registered at least four at-bats, Maier has five hits, four runs and five RBI. His three RBI night on Wednesday was a new career high. The only double and triple during his career have come since returning on September 13.

David DeJesus’ 13-game hitting streak came to an end on Wednesday. He tweaked his right hip flexor and was taken out of the game after one at-bat…
9-26 Callaspo.jpgAlberto Callaspo’s career high 16-game streak is still alive and he is likely to make his return this weekend…Alex Gordon has hit in 10 straight, including all nine since returning from the Disabled List…Mike Aviles leads all rookies in batting average with just three to play (.322)…DeJesus, who may not see playing time this weekend, leads the Majors in batting with runners in scoring position (.419)…Kyle Davies will have his last start tonight, looking to build on two lights-out performaces during his last two starts in which he compiled a 15-inning scoreless streak, a season-high for a KC starter…The Royals pitchers have had 10 quality starts in their last 11 games.

Dear fans,
 I am going to be a tad bit selfish right now, something I have never tried to do while writing and covering the team for this blog. But it was suggested to me to be a little self-indulgent with my final entry (by our team President Dan Glass, no less). I am going to “out” myself as one of the team’s bloggers to say good-bye (don’t worry, the blog isn’t going anywhere, just one of its writers). I have taken a position at the National Baseball Hall of Fame (and I’m hoping I can blog there too).

9-26 trevor.JPGFrom my days on K Crew, shooting T-Shirts and running in the Hot Dog Derby to working under the great people in my department, my time with the team has been amazing. It has been a privilege working on Around the Horn all summer and I’ve gotten the chance to meet some amazing people and tell the story of this team each and everyday. It’s been a lot of work but to sound a bit cheesy, it’s been a labor of love (for this team).

Thanks for reading. (Again, please keep checking the site. This is not the end of ATH, just the end for one, singular writer. In fact, I will even have one more post sometime next week. It’s one last Touch ’em All interview for the 2008 season.) 

– Trevor Hayes, Media Relations Assistant (that’s my K Crew picture from 2007)

Couple quick notes: Just one more FSN-KC game left, with coverage starting today at 6:30 pm. Tomorrow is the Royals final televised game of 2008, with a 2:55 start scheduled on FOX.

Election Season: Mike Aviles for the Hank Aaron Award. Mark Teahen for the Roberto Clemente Award. And Buddy Blattner, Fred White and Ryan Lefebvre for the Ford C. Frick Award.

Please dont forget: The Royals Charities car auction is on September 26. And lastly: Fan Photos from the field after Sunday’s game are up and available right here.

Today’s lineup: Check back later today…and all weekend…Go Royals!

Today’s Official Game Notes.

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The Future's now

9-19 Minor NLBM.JPGTonight 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.

9-19 Minor harvest.JPGBut 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.

9-19 Minor tour 2.JPGAmong 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.

9-19 Minor work.JPGBilly 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.

Seven straight wins is the longest winning streak since 2003, 9-19 Banny.jpgwhen the Royals opened the season 9-0. The Royals are 8-2 over their last ten.

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, 9-19 Callaspo.jpgwill 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.

9-9 Stocking Cap.jpgThird
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 lineup:
DeJesus LF
Aviles SS
Guillen RF
Shealy 1B
Teahen 3B
Butler DH
Callaspo 2B
Buck C
Maier CF

Bannister P

Today’s Official Game Notes.

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Legends Luncheon – Part 2: The Club through Trey Hillman's eyes

9-18 Buck.jpgYesterday we gave you a piece of the conversation held at the Crosstown Station between General Manager Dayton Moore, manager Trey Hillman, and former players Al Fitzmorris and Willie Wilson. Today we’ll bring you the rest of what was said during the final State Farm Legends Luncheon. For more information on the luncheons please visit The Luncheons are in honor of Buck O’Neil and have supported the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum ( for nine years.

Part one of the Luncheon recap yesterday focused heavily on Moore and building the Club’s minor league system. Wilson, as a one-time Royals farmhand, put in his two cents about how to build the club as well.

Today, Around the Horn wants to focus on what Hillman had to say about his first year as a manger. We’ll preface Hillman’s comments by saying that after the conversation between the four men on stage finished, the audience was allowed to ask questions. One woman asked both Hillman and Moore what their best and worst decisions were since joining the Royals. Moore told the crowd his greatest baseball decision to this point was the hiring of Trey Hillman to manage the Royals.

9-18 Trey.jpgMoore fells so strongly that he has the right man he barely hesitated before responding. He sees in Hillman a desire and work ethic fit for the job. Two examples of that are Hillman’s seemingly tireless work while in spring training. Hillman would be on the back fields working with the minor league players long after the Major Leaguers had showered and left the complex. No one asked Hillman to do it, he just did.

In the same manner, he was at the Royals pre-draft workout hitting fungos to prospects who weren’t even in the organization yet. Moore said these are the types of things no other manager in the Majors is doing but they make the young players want to play for Hillman. If that kind of environment can be created, then a pride and desire to wear the Royal uniform will be created. Something Around the Horn wrote about yesterday in talking about strengthen the farm system.

Needless to say the fan was pleased and said she truly believes that Hillman and Moore are the best people in baseball today to take on the job of building a champion in Kansas City.

9-18 Trey 3.jpgWhen Hillman took the job, the first thing he did – which was his answer for his best decision – was to start talking to players but also to start raising the expectations. Hillman said he was wearing out his cell phone while he was still in Japan talking to people in the organization from players to publicity folks to the baseball minds. He did say not to mention this fact to the Hokkaido Nippon Ham Fighters, his club last season in Japan. So keep that on the down-low.

The expectation of the 2008 Royals was to win the World Series. That was Hillman’s best decision. He told people before the season, “If you aren’t aiming for a championship, you can’t win one.” He also knew that 2008 was going to be a season where a lot of questions needed to be answered.

Since Moore’s arrival, the team needed to address some issues like adding a front-line starter and a slugger to the lineup. Moore has done both of those things with Gil Meche, who was considered a middle-tier free agent when he signed, and Jose Guillen, who has come with some controversy but is an impact to the lineup. These players believe in what’s going on in Kansas City and want to win, which is where Hillman is coming from. He wants to win.

9-18 Soria.jpgThis season hasn’t been the easiest. Hillman said probably one of his other decisions that could go either way was not to use Joakim Soria during the 12-game losing streak. Using the Royals All-Star may have won that game, but the what-ifs can go both ways. Hillman is content to know that Soria is healthy and still pitching at an extremely high level. Had he been used on short rest during the streak, who knows what may have happened.

For the first-year manager, Soria is a bright spot. He heard so much good about the closer during spring training but didn’t see it. Soria didn’t pitch like an All-Star in the spring. But he turned it on once the season started. Hillman said he was amazed that he had 39 (now 40) saves on a team that had less than 70 wins.

Hillman was also impressed with Mike Aviles. He told Moore that Aviles would make an impact on this ball club during the spring. However, Hillman didn’t think the rookie would make this much of a difference to the 2008 team. Likewise with Ryan Shealy. During their demotion meetings, both players were somewhat upset but quickly turned around their feelings to a desire to work and get better.

Another question and answer was Zack Greinke. They wanted to see him stay healthy and stay consistent in the rotation for a full year. 9-18 Greinke.jpgGreinke has matured and blossomed this season. Hillman said he’s become a pitcher and not just a thrower. One of the key’s for Greinke (who starts today) is to pitch around 91-92 mph and keep his 96-97 mph heater in his back pocket to break out every once in a while and baffle a hitter. Greinke has done that and so much more. He has become a student of the game.

Fitzmorris said that he and the pitchers on his teams were constantly talking to hitting coach Charlie Lau. They wanted to know how hitters thought about hitting. Hillman said this team is becoming students of the game in the same manner. He hopes that the inefficiency of the starters comes as a bit of a “slap in the face” and spurs them to work more. Look at what Kyle Davies accomplished two nights ago. That is a perfect example. Hillman said that if Davies can reproduce 75 percent of what he did on Tuesday he will be a solid performer. True, its one start and this late season surge is in September. But Hillman likes to live by a saying he got from Moore.

“Believe in what you see and not what you hear,” Hillman said.

For starters, congratulations to Seattle’s Ichiro Suzuki. He received a warm ovation from the Kauffman crowd when he collected his 200th hit of the season last night. With the hit, Suzuki tied a Major League record and broke the American League record by recorded eight straight seasons with at least 200 hits. He broke Wade Boggs’ A.L. mark of seven (1983-89) and tied Wee Willie Keeler (1894-1901)…Jose Guillen and Alberto Callaspo have career high hitting streaks going at 14 games and 11 games, respectively…Ryan Shealy homered for the second straight night, the second time he’s accomplished the feat this season (third in his career)…The Royals are riding a season-high six-game winning streak and have 11 homers during the streak…Joakim Soria is one of three Royals pitchers to record a 40 save season and currently has the fourth best season in team history behind Jeff Montgomery’s 45 in 1993 and Dan Quisenberry’s 45 in 1983 and 44 in 1984.

Today’s lineup:
DeJesus LF
Aviles SS
Guillen DH
Shealy 1B
Teahen RF
Olivo 21
Gordon 3B
Callaspo 2B
Maier CF

Greinke P

Today’s Official Game Notes.

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Dazzling Davies

9-16 Davies.jpgKyle Davies pitched arguably his best game as a Royal – if not his career – last night. As he dominated the Mariner hitters, the Royals got on the board and secured a solid victory.

Last night was an example of how the Royals want to win ballgames. Strong starting pitching, followed by a shut down bullpen and then an offense which will get the job done. To look at how that happened last night, let’s go Around the Horn…

He’s had two other eight strikeout efforts and he’s had two other eight inning games (one complete game). He’s also held opponents scoreless before. But Kyle Davies had never brought all of those elements together in one outing before last night.

The other impressive number about Davies’ four-hitter? Zero walks. He didn’t walk anyone, something he has not done this season. In fact he’s only recorded two other walkless starts, both of which were less than six innings.

Davies retired the first 12 batters he faced until Jose Lopez singled to lead off the fifth inning. Davies also combated another problem he’s had this season. He kept his pitch count low. He threw 98 pitches during his eight innings of work.

Manager Trey Hillman called Davies performance the best he’s seen.

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Jose Guillen has hit in a career-high 13 games. Since his career started in 1997, he hadn’t hit in 13 straight, but he’s on that kind of a roll now.

Maybe more impressively, he has nine multi-hit games during his current hitting streak, including a 2-for-4 night last night with a double and a run scored.

Guillen is hitting .418, banging seven doubles and two homers with 12 RBI during his 13-game streak. He’s also scored six runs. With his recent surge, he has repositioned himself for a shot at 100 RBI and if he stays hot, he’ll have a chance to eclipse his career high of 104 (set in 2003). His 2003 season is his only 100-plus RBI season, though he reached 99 last year in Seattle.

The slugger leads the Royals in hits (147), doubles (40), homers (20), RBI (93), total bases (249) and multi-hit games (44).

One strikeout is all the Club needs to tie its single-season record. The 1990 pitching staff fanned 1,006 batters compared to this season’s 1,005, which is the sixth-highest total in the American League this season…Alberto Callaspo also has a career-high hitting streak going at nine games…Ryan Shealy has reached base in seven of his eight games and is hitting .387…Mike Aviles has scored nine runs during his seven-game hitting streak and is one of five Royals with over 60 runs this season…David DeJesus snapped a 127-game errorless streak with his throwing error in the sixth…Mark Teahen is hitting .338 since August 27 with nine extra base hits…From Trey Hillman’s pregame press conference: “Nothing is more powerful to the atmosphere than winning,” Hillman said in response to the environment in the Royals clubhouse before today’s game (the lights were dimmed, music was pumping and some players were dancing)…Also: “Pitching is as contagious as hitting,” Hillman said voicing his hopes for Brandon Duckworth’s start tonight following last night’s four-hit shutout.

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How can you beat the deal we got going here tonight? $3 tickets and a long-sleeve tee upon entering.

Tomorrow, the 17th, of course is Halfway to St. Paddy’s. Flannigan’s Right Hook will be on hand to play before the game starts and get the crowd primed.

Plenty of other great promotions are left this week and there are just six home games including tonight’s ballgame. You should come out and join the fun.

Also: The Royals will be announcing their 2009 home schedule (no game times) tomorrow at noon. Keep an eye out for that!

Today’s lineup:
DeJesus CF
Aviles SS
Guillen RF
Shealy 1B
Teahen LF
Gordon 3B
Ka’aihue DH
Olivo C
Callaspo 2B

Duckworth P

Today’s Official Game Notes.

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Crazy Eights and a Lucky 13

9-15 Shealy.jpg3-1 ain’t bad in Cleveland, a team which has been fairly hot since July. And 3-1 with a doubleheader sweep is what the Royals accomplished.

Good pitching, bolstered by an offense that scored 13 runs yesterday and eight in each of their games on Saturday, led the Royals to the series win. To take a look at the weekend’s success, let’s go Around the Horn…

Ryan Shealy and Mark Teahen feasted like kings on Indians’ pitching over the weekend. The two combined to go 14-for-29 (.483). They scored four and three runs, respectively, and knocked in 12. As a force, the twosome hit five homers, each of them notching a two-homer game.

Shealy’s first round-tripper came during Teahen’s multi-homer game Saturday night. The Royals first baseman collected four hits in five at-bats during that game, setting a new career high. He followed that performance with a multi-homer game yesterday while knocking in five, tying career highs for homers in a game and RBI in a game. Shealy is hurting the ball, going 7-for-10 over the weekend, and he has four homers and nine RBI in just seven games this season.

Teahen had a five-hit day with two homers and three RBI on Saturday. He’s hitting .311 and has a .590 slugging percentage with nine extra base hits, including four homers in 15 games, since August 29. 

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The Burlington Bees finished their season on Saturday without playing a final game. When their games on Friday and Saturday were canceled due to rain, league officials awarded the Midwest League Championship to the Bees, who were unbeaten in the playoffs. They ended their championship run at 6-0, sweeping all three opponents and outscoring them, 38-12.

9-10 Bees.gifThe Bees secured their first and the Royals organization’s first championship since 1999. The last titles in the Royals system were won by Wichita and Wilmington. For Burlington, it’s their first league title since 1999, when they were a White Sox affiliate (they became a Royals affiliate in 2001).

Some of the key names in Burlington’s 6-0 run were Johnny Giavotella (.375 with two homers and eight RBI in the playoffs), Nick Van Stratten (.292 with two doubles, a triple and six RBI in the playoffs), Jamar Walton (.333 with a double, two homers and five RBI in the playoffs) and Mike Moustakas (.227 with two doubles, a homer and five RBI in the playoffs). That group of four batted in 24 of the team’s runs. 

The Royals collected 39 hits in their final three games in Cleveland and has hit .342 as a club, including a .446 clip with runners in scoring position, over their last five games…Jose Guillen carries a career-high 12-game hitting streak into tonight’s game (21-for-51, .412)…Joakim Soria sits at 37 saves this season, which is third in the American League and passed Jeff Montgomery’s 1998 total for sixth-best in franchise history…Soria’s 54 career saves are tied for fourth in team history with Roberto Hernandez’s total from 2001-2002…Today is Luke Hochevar’s 25th birthday…Thursday’s day game versus Seattle is going to be on TV, as a make-up for the May 3rd postponement in Cleveland.

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This week is huge for the fans. Around the Horn can barely remember all of the promotions going on. First and foremost is retro-pricing, which starts tonight and runs through Thursday’s 1:10 Mariners game. It’s 1973 again and you can get an upper deck seat for just $3 and parking for only $5 brought to you by The Parking Spot.

9-9 Stocking Cap.jpgTomorrow is the final T-Shirt Tuesday, with a blue long-sleeve tee offered to the first 20,000 through the gates. Wednesday is Ink College night and our Halfway to St. Paddy’s Day celebration. Friday is Buck Night, Fireworks Friday, The Royals Coat Drive and Futures’ Night (come out and see two of those Champion Burlington Bees as well as the other Minor League Players of the Year). Saturday is stocking cap night brought to you by FSN-KC and “Shirts off Their Backs” Night. And Sunday, the final home game of the season, is the last Sprint Fun Run and Bob Evans Friends & Family Day.

Also: Check out the car auction for a 2008 Dodge Challenger SRT8.

Now, that is a long list and a heck of a week for the fans here at the K.  It’s our way of saying “Thank you” to the fans.  

Today’s lineup:
DeJesus CF
Aviles SS
Guillen RF
Shealy 1B
Teahen LF
Butler DH
Gordon 3B
Olivo C
Callaspo 2B

Davies P

Today’s Official Game Notes.

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Ducky toes the rubber for the final game in Minny

9-11 Duckworth.jpgGame 3 in Minnesota is this afternoon, which is coming up quick (12:10 first pitch).

So, quickly, let’s go Around the Horn…

Brandon Duckworth is on the hill, looking to bounce back from his first loss of the season. He’ll look to regain the command he held during his first two Major League starts, both wins over the Tigers. Ducky is 1-1 versus the Twins with a 3.93 ERA in four games (three starts).

9-11 Olivo.jpgSecond
Ryan Shealy and Miguel Olivo are back in there today.  Both are guys the club is taking a long look at this September, trying to figure out what they’ve got to offer the Royals in the future. Shealy has been on base every game he’s played in so far (four) and Olivo smacked his 12th homer of the season on Tuesday night, which is just four short of his career high (2006 and 2007) despite playing in significantly fewer games.

The Royals have seen a train of lefties as of late, with three throwing during the Oakland series, two more versus the Indians and Minnesota’s Francisco Liriano today. The Royals are 29-21 with a lefty starting for the opposition and factor to see two more lefties during this weekend’s four game series in Cleveland…Trey Hillman will announce his starter for Game 2 of Saturday’s doubleheader later today…Next Thursday game at home versus Seattle will be an FSN-KC broadcast. It is a makeup for the May 3 postponement. 

9-9 Burlington.jpgThird

The Burlington Bees are 5-0 in the playoffs and need just two wins to finish off South Bend for the Midwest League Championship. They put together a 6-0 win last night, over the Silverhawks, powered by three home runs and 14 strikeouts thrown by four Bees’ hurlers.

Mike Moustakas, the Royals 2007 No. 1 overall draft pick put Burlington on the board in the third with a three run homer. Jamar Walton and Johnny Giavotella each added a homer and Giavotella also drove in a run on a single.

The Bees were paced by Daniel Gutierrez who three six innings of two-hit ball and fanned 11 while walking one. South Bend only had one other base runner (on an error in the ninth), as the Bees bullpen worked three quick innings of relief, striking out three.

Burlington goes again tonight at 6:30 CT at Community Field (Bee’s broadcast available here).

Today’s lineup:
DeJesus CF
Aviles SS
Guillen RF
Butler DH
Olivo C
Shealy 1B
German LF
Teahen 3B
Callaspo 2B

Duckworth P

Today’s Official Game Notes.

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