Results tagged ‘ Trey Hillman ’

New Kansas City manager Ned Yost meets with the media

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Royals Manager Ned Yost had his first press conference today in front of a standing room only contingent of media in the Kauffman Stadium interview room.

Yost has been following Kansas City’s Double-A affiliate, the Northwest Arkansas Naturals, for the last week   General Manager Dayton Moore contacted Yost about the managing job on Thursday morning.  After accepting the job, he sifted through possible lineups at his Springfield, Mo., hotel room.  Yost was awake until 3:30 this morning.  He took a two-hour nap and was up at 5:30 for the drive to Kansas City!  He doesn’t anticipate major radical changes in the lineup at this time. 

Yost_takes_Field.jpgYost described himself as a person who has a knack for motivating players.  He wants to work heavily with individual players at first.  While Trey Hillman was a hands on manager, Yost is not.  He said that Trey Hillman did a great job of getting players prepared every day and that the players have been a class act.  The club is a little shell-shocked at the moment.  Yost’s main job at the moment is to get the players to leave everything they have on the field every day.  He believes that this club is more advanced than the club that he inherited in Milwaukee and that they are not that far away from turning things around.   

Yost stated that 85 percent of his managing philosophy comes from Bobby Cox, who he worked for in Atlanta.  The other 15 percent comes from what Yost learned as Milwaukee’s manager. 

He knows that the Royals have ingredients for success in their minor league system.  Yost believes that Mike Moustakas will be a “big-time Major League player”.  He also mentioned that Milwaukee (where he managed previously) stockpiled young power hitters like Prince Fielder, while the Royals are stockpiling young power pitchers including Aaron Crow and Mike Montgomery.

Yost_Coaches.jpgYost’s philosophy on coaching is to have one coach totally in charge of the infield and one totally in charge of the outfield.  Rusty Kuntz is back as the first base coach and will coach the outfielders, a position he held in 2008 and 2009.  Yost emphasized the importance of bringing Kuntz back.  Eddie Rodriguez will shift to the third base coaching box.  He will also be the infield coach.  Rodriguez speaks fluent Spanish and Yost believes that will factor into Rodriguez’ work with infielders Alberto Callaspo and Yuniesky Betancourt.

Yost believes that this is an attractive job.  He is up for the challenge and understands the frustration of the fan base.  He has full confidence that he can do the job.  He added that George Brett (who celebrates a birthday on Saturday) called him from Italy and wished him well.

 

Trey Hillman Media Session: May 13

Royals’ Manager Trey Hillman met with the media prior to this afternoon’s game.

Hillman was asked about the health of catcher Jason Kendall:

Kendall’s forearm was x-rayed during last night’s rain delay and the results came back negative. Kendall would not react to the contusion after being hit by a pitch last night and declined to be taken out of the game. Hillman was impressed by Kendall’s gritty toughness, but made the decision to hold him out of today’s lineup.

Hillman also commented on pitcher Blake Wood who made his Major League debut last night:

Hillman is dead-set on keeping Wood in the bullpen; stating the he assessed the young right-hander during Spring Training and that he has the perfect mental make-up to be a successful reliever. When the team broke Spring Training for Opening Day, Hillman was strongly considering Wood for one of the bullpen spots. Had it not been for some forearm issues slowing down Wood, Hillman believes he likely would have broken with the Major League club.

Hillman finished by talking briefly about today’s starting pitcher Zack Greinke:

Hillman thinks that Greinke will be comfortable with today’s starting catcher Brayan Pena. Pena caught Greinke a few times last season, developing a positive rapport between the two. Hillman continued by addressing the lack of offensive contribution during Greinke’s starts this year. A major reason behind the lack of run support is due to hitters putting added pressure on themselves to score runs for the ace pitcher, especially coming of the Cy Young Award.

Trey Hillman media session: May 12

In today’s pregame meeting with manager Trey Hillman, the first topic of discussion concerned the roster move in the bullpen. Hillman announced that Blake Wood (RHP) will replace Josh Rupe (RHP) who was designated for assignment. The Royals skipper added that Rupe has been too ineffective against right-handed hitters and needs to work ahead more. Rupe can elect free agency if he chooses, but Hillman said he hopes Rupe doesn’t take that route. Hillman sees Wood, who will wear #38 and be here for tonight’s game, as a two-inning pitcher who will be used as needed.

With this roster move came questions regarding future changes in general. According to Hillman, it’s time to mix things up a little bit, which is why Scott Podsednik will bat leadoff tonight and David DeJesus will be in the three-hole. Hillman claimed that DeJesus is the purest number three hitter on the roster and one of the best hitters he has ever managed. Though the outfielder doesn’t have the numbers the manager would like to see right now, Hillman still believes DeJesus is a .300 hitter and hopes that putting him in the three-hole will help him reach that mark.

While tonight’s lineup tweaks will not be the final adjustment made, Hillman does hope the rate of change slows down as the team makes progress. In the meantime, however, he also hopes that fans see he isn’t afraid to make changes and try new things. Because just like the fans, Hillman is as frustrated as he’s ever been, and at the end of the day, all he wants is for the Kansas City Royals to be a contending club.

Trey Hillman Media Session: May 11

The Kansas City Royals have returned home after an extended road trip and are looking to turn things around. When manager Trey Hillman addressed the media, he stated he expects better baseball out of his club during the homestand.

Hillman also commented on the state of his bullpen. Hillman said that the bullpen has been doing a poor job of getting to Royals’ closer Joakim Soria for the ninth inning. Hillman believes the key is too many walks from his relievers; whether it is a mechanical issue or out of fear, Hillman wants to see more competitiveness in the strike zone.

However, Hillman has been impressed by recent success of reliever Robinson Tejeda, who has not given up an earned run in his last seven appearances. Hillman credits the work by pitching coach Bob McClure in working with Tejeda to speed up his lower half, allowing his arm to catch up to his pitching motion.

Hillman also spoke briefly on the recent Royals’ call up, infielder Mike Aviles. Hillman said that as long as Aviles continues to swing the bat well, he will find his way into the lineup. Hillman continued by saying that he sees Aviles’ immediate future at second base due to the early production by shortstop Yuniesky Betancourt.

Trey Hillman media session: April 28

Media_April28.jpgDuring 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.

Trey Hillman media session: April 27

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.

Trey Hillman media session: April 26

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.”

Trey Hillman media session: April 25

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.

Ankiel update

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.

Chris Getz

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.

Soria availability

Joakim Soria pitched a season high 2.0 innings last night.  His availability for Sunday’s game depends on the situation.

Josh Rupe

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.

 

Trey Hillman media session: April 24

When Royals Manager Trey Hillman met with the media today, the focus was on next week and how the lineup would shake out with the return of second baseman Chris Getz.
Hillman is excited to see Getz back in a Royals uniform, saying that he was impressed by what Getz has shown defensively this year.

Hillman was also asked how he sees playing time for infielders Alberto Callaspo, Alex Gordon, and Getz working out. Hillman responded that the second and third base spots will be decided by player performance. Hillman believes that Callaspo has yet to hit his stride offensively and is expecting the switch hitter to break out soon.  Gordon’s defense has also left an impression on Hillman. However the Royals manager would like to see better contact in Gordon’s at bats; stating that Gordon shouldn’t press and simply let his natural athleticism take over.

Finally Hillman spoke briefly on today’s starting pitcher Luke Hochevar. Hillman has been impressed by Hochevar’s starts this year but still sees room for improvement. Hillman would like to see Hochevar limit his walks this outing and do a better job attacking the strike zone.

 

Trey Hillman media session: April 23

The talk today centered on the new additions to the Kansas City Royals; right-handed pitcher Brad Thompson and left-handed pitcher Bruce Chen. Royals’ manager Trey Hillman is excited to see the new arms in the bullpen and stated he is looking for the right combination to get the baseball to closer Joakim Soria in the ninth inning. Hillman knows that the Royals record this season would be significantly improved had they seen better outings from their relievers.

With these additions, also came some losses from the Royals’ bullpen. The Royals released relief pitcher Juan Cruz and designated relief pitcher Luis Mendoza for assignment. Hillman cited that Cruz didn’t have his full strength on several occasions this spring, possibly from a lingering sore shoulder that bothered him last season. However, Hillman believes these moves show the Royals are dedicated to winning now and will not settle for giving away any victories.

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