Royals Don’t “Open”, but could be closersContinue reading.
Royals re-armed and ready for AL Central
Don’t suggest to the White Sox that the Kansas City Royals will be a division threat this season.
The Royals already have been royal pains for the Sox for a long time–particularly in 2012 when the Sox lost 12 of the 18 meetings.
In the last two seasons, the Royals have gone 23-13 against the Sox–this by a team that lost 91 and 90 games respectively.
But they underwent some dramatic changes in the off season–including acquiring opening day starter James Shields from Tampa and Wednesday starter Ervin Santana from the Angels–to complement a still-young roster of developing talent.
“Our kids now have all got a year and a half under their belts, which is great experience,” Royals manager Ned Yost said. “Their first full year last year, they went through a lot of ups and downs. And they’re all learning experiences. They have matured. They have grown and continue to grow to be very, very solid major league performers.”
The Royals had their best spring, setting a franchise record for victories going 25-7 to lead the majors.
“We’ll find out if it carries over,” Yost said. “We had a very, very good spring training. We pitched very well. We swung the bats very well. We played good defense. We’re a talented team.
“Defensively, we’re very athletic. We can catch the ball. We can turn two. We can run it down in the outfield and throw guys out.
In the infield, we’ve got guys with range and sure hands.
“The starting rotation is very, very solid. Our bullpen is dynamic and we swing the bats well.
“When you’ve got talent, that always carries over.”
What Yost won’t say is what the rest of baseball is saying about his team as an up-and-coming contender.
“Talk about not getting respect,” Sox pitcher Jake Peavy said of the Royals. “This team is an outstanding team from top to bottom. Kansas City has one of the best bullpens in baseball. Those young arms, you’re going to watch these guys throw late. And when you add a Wade Davis, Ervin Santana and James Shields to your staff, you’re talking about major, major upgrades.”
Yost is content to watch what his team does on the field.
“That’s for [others] to worry about and write about,’ he said of expectations. “We come out and play baseball and do it to the best of our ability.
“We have a lot of baseball to play. It doesn’t matter what anybody thinks or what anybody says. We have to take care of business on the field.”
The roster has only one rookie to start the season, promising catcher Salvador Perez–this from a team that historically has bred great young talent and watched it depart at free agency time.
Most of the team’s top prospects were traded in the off-season deals to acquire Shields, Santana and Davis, who also came from Tampa.
“Spring training is long,” said Yost–who started it requiring gall bladder surgery, though he missed only a day. “You’re happy to get there in the beginning and happy to start the spring training games, and about three-quarters of the way through, you’re just longing for this [opening day] where you can play meaningful games. We’re all excited this year and ready to go.’