Mar 16, 2012; Surprise, AZ, USA; Kansas City Royals left fielder Alex Gordon (4) against the Milwaukee Brewers at Surprise Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel-US PRESSWIRE

Royals Vs. Padres: San Diego Defeats Kansas City 2-1 On Back-To-Back Homers

As the Royals look to make the leap into playoff contention beginning this year, we'll keep you posted as the Cactus League unfolds.

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Royals Vs. Padres: San Diego Defeats Kansas City 2-1 On Back-To-Back Homers

If it wasn’t for the two-batter sequence featuring back-to-back home runs to Chase Headley and Jesus Guzman, Kansas City would havehad a chance. Unfortunately for the stalled Royals offense, it was enough for the San Diego Padres to come away with a 2-1 win on the back of Clayton Richard’s stellar pitching.

Richard threw six shutout innings for the Pads, allowing only three hits and striking out five. Sanchez, meanwhile, went three innings and allowed the solo shots as well as another couple of hits (total of 4) and one walk. He struck out five. It was the messy sort of performance that drove the Giants crazy and it’s likely that the Royals will have to get used to the mixed results that Sanchez offers.

Brayan Pena was responsible for the only run for the Royals on a pinch-hit home run off Joe Thatcher in the seventh frame. Besides that, the Royals only managed five hits. Lorenzo Cain stole his fifth base of spring training.

The Royals play the Padres again on Wednesday in their final game of the spring. Danny Duffy and Luis Mendoza will share time on the mound.


Kansas City Royals Set Lineup As Opening Day Approaches

Kansas City has finalized their initial 25-man roster as we get ever closer to the beginning of the new baseball season. In a somewhat surprising move, second year reliever Louis Coleman was optioned to Omaha. This means the bullpen will go with not just one, but three left-handed relievers. The trio of lefties in the bullpen are holdovers Everett Teaford and Tim Collins, while newcomer Jose Mijares will also join the mix.

As noted previously, the starting rotation will consist of Bruce Chen, Luke Hochevar, Jonathan Sanchez, Luis Mendoza, and Danny Duffy. Felipe Paulino was also vying for a starting spot before it was announced that he would be heading to the disabled list to begin the season.

The full 25-man roster consists of:

Catchers - Brayan Pena and Humberto Quintero

Infielders - Yuniesky Betancourt, Billy Butler, Alcides Escobar, Chris Getz, Eric Hosmer, and Mike Moustakas

Outfielders - Jason Bourgeuis, Lorenzo Cain, Jeff Francoeur, Alex Gordon, and Mitch Maier

Starting Pitchers - Bruce Chen, Danny Duffy, Luke Hochevar, Luis Mendoza, and Jonathan Sanchez

Bullpen - Jonathan Broxton, Tim Collins, Aaron Crow, Kelvin Herrera, Greg Holland, Jose Mijares, and Everett Teaford.

The squad features five players who are brand new to the Royals organization, Betancourt who returns to the Royals after a year with the Milwaukee Brewers, and two others who had little more than a cup of coffee previously with Kansas City (Cain and Herrera).

Among the notable names filling out the minor league rosters will include-

Nathan Adcock, Louis Coleman, Jeremy Jeffress, Vin Mazzaro, Mike Montgomery, and Will Smith on the Omaha pitching staff. Johnny Giavotella, Clint Robinson, and Jarrod Dyson will be among the position players for the Storm Chasers.

Among the notable names on the pitching staff at AA Northwest Arkansas will be Noel Arguelles and Jake Odorizzi. Top prospects Christian Colon and Wil Myers will be on the squad as well.

Class A Wilmington will feature names such as Jason Adam, Yordano Ventura, and Cheslor Cuthbert.

Meanwhile Low A Kane County will have names like Brooks Pounders, Michael Antonio, and Jorge Bonifacio.

Sean O`Sullivan is one of the last players that is in limbo at the moment as he is technically still with the big league squad, but will be placed on waivers after the spring training game against the Chicago White Sox. If O'Sullivan clears waivers (which many think he will), he'd likely be headed to Omaha.

You can view all the rosters in detail courtesy of Bob Dutton in the Kansas City Star.

For more Royals news and notes, head over to SB Nation's Royals Review.


Luke Hochevar Shines In Royals' 2-0 Victory Over The Dodgers

Kansas City only got two runs and seven hits on Friday, but it was enough as Luke Hochevar looked great in his start against the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Many have been waiting (and hoping) for Hochevar to turn the corner and he improved his spring record to 3-1, tossing six innings and allowing just t three hits. He walked non while striking out eight batters.

Overall he is 3-1, with a 1.29 ERA in 14 innings. During that time he has struck out 15 while walking just one. Catching for Hochevar was the newly acquired Humberto Quintero. Jason Bourgeois, also acquired in the Royals recent trade with the Houston Astros got the start in left field as Kansas City improved to 12-9 this spring. The Dodgers fell to 9-7.

The bullpen on Friday consisted of Jonathan Broxton, Louis Coleman, and Kelvin Herrera each pitching a scoreless inning of relief.

Bourgeois and Tony Abreu each has an RBI in the victory. The team will be facing the Arizona Diamondbacks on Saturday evening. Arizona enters the contest at 8-12.

For more Royals news and notes, head over to Royals Review.


The Good, Bad, And Ugly Of Spring Training For The Kansas City Royals

Currently the Kansas City Royals sit with a 5-5 record in the Cactus League after Monday's tough 2-1 loss to the San Francisco Giants. Following spring training baseball is much as it seemed as when I was a kid in that it is tough to get a good feel for things because of the lack of television thus far.

However things change on Wednesday evening when the Royals will be on the MLB Network facing the Seattle Mariners. The game isn't on until 9 pm local time, but I am sure many Royals fans will stay up late to get some game glimpses of the Royals in action.

So your mission for Wednesday evening is making sure you have all your NCAA brackets completed before 9 pm.

Judging statistics is much like trying to evaluate team records in spring training. On one hand it means something, but you can also make a case it doesn't mean much at all. With many minor leaguers mixed in with veterans during many of these games, it's really not fair to judge how a player's season will go. It is a given though that you'd like to see your pitchers hone in on their command, and you are certainly happy to see batters get off to a good start in spring training.

On a broad scale, let's look at some of the good, the bad, and the ugly thus far from the early games thus far-

The Good

-Lorenzo Cain is batting .500/.588/.786 through seven games. Cain will be coming into this season with as little experience as anyone on the Royals roster. That is saying a lot for a team with numerous young players, so it is good to see he is off to a quality start. Cain also shares the team lead in walks thus far (three) with Eric Hosmer.

-Journeyman catcher Max Ramirez, who was signed to likely be the catcher in Omaha (especially with the injury to Manuel Pina), has three home runs in just 10 at-bats which contributes to his .400/.571/1.300 line. So far this is looking like a great minor-league depth signing.

-So far Johnny Giavotella's numbers exceed both Chris Getz and Yuniesky Betancourt. Many Royals fans are worried by recent comments that Giavotella's leash may be shorter than anticipated as the Royals seek to get quality playing time for Getz and and Betancourt. As long as Giavotella produces, he will hopefully be the predominant starter of the trio.

-Luis Mendoza, the man many fans have mixed feelings about has been stellar in six innings so far. He's allowed no runs on just three hits. He's also struck out four, while walking only one batter.

-Francisley Bueno, Aaron Crow, Danny Duffy, and Brandon Sisk have combined to throw 7.1 innings between the four, and none has allowed a hit. Bueno may be the most unknown of the group as the 31-year old journeyman left-hander has appeared in just one major league game (2008 with the Atlanta Braves).

-Sisk, a 26-year old left-hander has been in the Royals organization since signing as an undrafted free-agent in 2008. He split 2011 in the bullpen between AA Northwest Arkansas and AAA Omaha.

The Bad

-Mike Moustakas, who is known for getting off to slow start each season, is batting just .211/.318/.211 so far in 19 at-bats. Moustakas was a fine player at the plate down the stretch last season and I know the Royals brass is eager for him to get off to a hot-start once April rolls around.

-Bruce Chen, who the Royals brought back in the off-season, has not found his stuff in his first two games. He has a 9.64 ERA and 1.93 WHIP through 4.2 innings. The only bright spot is he has yet to walk anyone.

The Ugly

-Jeff Francoeur is batting just .133/.176/.200 so far. Even worse, Salvador Perez, is hitless thus far. Now neither will continue to post such abysmal numbers, but for Perez he is still young enough that you don't want to see a poor spring mess with his confidence. You may remember that just recently Perez signed a long-term contract with the club.

-Jonathan Sanchez and Mike Montgomery have been bad anything but good thus far. Granted the sample size is small, as the two have combined for just 3.2 innings pitched so far, but both left a lot to be desired with the time out on the mound so far. Combined they have allowed nine earned runs on 10 hits, with just two strikeouts.

For continued Royals coverage, make sure you are visiting Royals Review, the home for all things Royals on the SB Nation network of blogs.


Kevin Kouzmanoff Is The Hero As The Kansas City Royals Defeat The Texas Rangers 7-6.

It took until just the second game of spring training for the Kansas City Royals to provide some drama, as Kevin Kouzmanoff's two-run double with two-outs in the bottom of the ninth inning pushed the winning runs across as the Kansas City Royals defeated the Texas Rangers 7-6. It was the second consecutive day the Royals defeated the Rangers.

Things didn't start pretty for Royals starting pitcher Bruce Chen on the mound as he lasted just 1 2/3 innings, allowing five runs (four earned) on seven hits.

For Kansas City, the Royals collected 13 hits as a team but Eric Hosmer was the only Kansas City player to collect two hits on the day.

Trailing 6-1 in the fifth, the Royals started the comeback on Alex Gordon's two-run home run off Rangers pitcher Mitch Stetter. Then with two-outs in the sixth, outfield prospect Derrick Robinson hit a two-run single, closing the gap to 6-5.

Chris Dwyer, Tim Collins, and Blake Wood pitched a combined four innings of scoreless baseball to close the game, allowing Kansas City to work themselves back into the game. Wood picked up the win.

Tuesday will bring a split squad game, as Luke Hochevar will face the San Diego Padres at home. The other group will be on the road in Goodyear to face the Cleveland Indians. Will Smith will start in that matchup.


Billy Butler Goes Deep As Kansas City Defeat The Texas Rangers In Spring Opener

Kansas City got off to a quick start in their spring training debut, as Billy Butler's first inning two-run home run propelled the Royals to a 6-1 victory over the Texas Rangers.

The home run came with two outs in the top of the first inning, facing Rangers starter Colby Lewis. Lewis was shaky for Texas, allowing the two runs on three hits and a walk in two innings.

Kansas City starter Luis Mendoza went two innings allowing a single to Nelson Cruz, while also walking one and striking out one. After the outing, Mendoza spoke with the Kansas City Star-

"I feel very close (to top form)," he said. "I can’t tell you any numbers, but my arm is stronger. My fastball, I didn’t see the miles (velocity), but I feel pretty good."

Read more here:

As you may recall, Mendoza didn't take much time off this winter, pitching in his native Mexico.

In addition to Butler collecting two hits, Lorenzo Cain and Mike Moustakas had two hits as well. Kansas City totaled 11 hits on the day. It's a good sign to see Cain get off to a good start in spring training, as he will likely be the Royals starting centerfielder when the team heads north. Of the two hits for Cain, one was a double.

Sean O'Sullivan was the lone Royals pitcher to allow a run, a two-out solo home run in the fifth inning to Rangers first basemen Mitch Moreland.

Other Royals to see time on the mound included two innings from Vin Mazzaro and Nathan Adcock, while Kelvin Herrera pitched a perfect bottom of the ninth which included two strikeouts.

Kansas City will again face Texas today at 2:05 pm central time.


So....The Kansas City Royals Have A Baseball Game Tomorrow

After making it through a long winter (actually the weather has been quite nice throughout much of the country), the time has finally come. The Kansas City Royals enter into exhibition mode on Sunday when they face the Texas Rangers at 1:05 local time.

The Royals will send Luis Mendoza to the mound, against one of his former teams. From looking at some twitter feeds of people who are in Surprise, it appears the Royals are really high on Mendoza. Being out of options, it appears the orgnization is attempting to give Mendoza every opportunity to crack the starting rotation out of spring training.

Mendoza did well in two starts at the end of last season with the Royals when he posted 2-0 record with a 1.23 ERA and 1.09 WHIP in 14.2 innings pitched. The 28-year old right hander excelled in Omaha last season in which he put up a salty 2.18 ERA in 144.1 innings, while finishing with a 12.5 record.

So has Mendoza finally started to figure things out? That is up in the air at the moment, but Kansas City is definitely intrigued. His strikeouts were actually down and the walks were up last season, but he was allowing two less hits per nine innings compared to his career numbers.

I have no issues with giving a player a long look in spring training, but this decision will have a direct impact on second year pitcher Danny Duffy. Duffy will become more polished as he gets more starts at the major league level, and you don't exactly want to toy around with the progression for the benefit of keeping a roster spot open for a fringe player. This will be one of the more interesting decisions to track during spring training.

Joel Goldberg and Bob Dutton touch on the issue in this Fox Sports Kansas City video.

In other news, single game tickets for the regular season went on sale today at Kauffman Stadium. With so many places to buy tickets online, I am not sure what the turn out will be, however expect a good crowd out at the ballpark today.


Buster Olney: Royals' Salvador Perez Should Already Be Considered An Elite Catcher

The Kansas City Royals have several position prospects who sit at or near the top of the best young stars in the game. Wil Myers is lauded as a star of a future corner outfielder. Eric Hosmer is listed as one of baseball's top young first basemen. The same can be said of Mike Moustakas, while Bubba Starling is lauded with the best potential of all.

Buster Olney wants you to include another name on that list: Salvador Perez. The Royals just locked up Perez with a long-term contract extension for five years at $7 million (with incentives) with another three club options. According to Olney, it was a deal well worth making for a catcher who should be considered among the game's best.

Olney writes, "The Kansas City Royals’ signing of catcher Salvador Perez could turn out to be one of the club’s best contracts when this deal runs its course. Perez, 21, is one of the best all-around young catchers in the game and, with what he briefly showed last year, he already should be considered an elite catcher in the game along with Yadier Molina, Brian McCann, Miguel Montero, Buster Posey, Alex Avila, Matt Wieters and Joe Mauer.

Perez can catch, shut down the running game, hit for average and in time will hit for power. Perez might be getting just $7 million guaranteed, but by the time this contract is done he could earn as much as $26.75 million. Nonetheless, this could end up saving the Royals as much as $10 million over the span of the contract by avoiding arbitration."

It feels a little superfluous to put Perez in Joe Mauer's company. After all, the Twins catcher has won an MVP award and is one of the best pure hitters in the game of baseball. However, it is nice to see such praise heaped upon a player usually overlooked due to the other young stars also on the field. Perez is a promising catcher, and his stature should only raise as he continues to earn his keep at the ML level.


"Bury Me A Royal" As Danny Duffy Signs His Contract For 2012 With The Kansas City Royals

Danny Duffy signed a one-year contract on Tuesday with the Kansas City Royals for the odd figure of $487,750. Though it doesn't approach the long-term deal that Salvador Perez signed one day prior, the contract is one more thing to put in the rear view mirror as the season approaches.

Then at about 8 pm local time on Tuesday, Duffy made many Kansas City fans quite happy when he tweeted: "Bury me a Royal". If you aren't following Duffy, you can do so on twitter @dduffkc23.

This is a sign of the changing culture in Kansas City, as the roster continues to become overturned with younger players. Most of these players haven't seen many obstacles in their time coming through the system. Last year's 71-91 record was probably the worst team (record-wise) that many of them have been on. Players like Zack Greinke wanted out of Kansas City because they didn't feel the Royals were doing enough to put a winning product on the field. That winning record still may not come this season, but the culture is indeed changing. We are in the midst of a paradigm shift.

When the players are signing long-term contracts one day, and tweeting about the pride they have in being a Kansas City Royal the next, it instills a lot of pride amongst the fans. These are young guys the city can rally around and truly call their own. For a lot of Royals fans it's a changing mindset for them as well. I've never followed a true winner during all my days as a Royals fan. I was two years old when the Royals last won the World Series. Except for having a few decent teams in the early 90's and the magical 2003 season, I haven't known anything but defeat.

Coinciding with the Royals slogan for the upcoming year, "Our Time", I'm starting to realize more and more that isn't about just the players or the fans, it's about the spirit of the Royals culture as a whole.

We are starting their time on the field, and we are also beginning our time in the stands and on our television sets.


Salvador Perez Provides Solid, Long-Term Answer For Kansas City Royals At Catcher

The Kansas City Royals announced an extension for one of their young players, but surprisingly it was not Alex Gordon or Eric Hosmer. Instead Dayton Moore and company locked up 22-year-old catcher Salvador Perez with a long-term deal announced yesterday.

As our own Matt Hays reported yesterday, “Backstop is a premium position in the major leagues, and Perez is a star in the making at the position. He is well above average defensively and starting to develop power in the batters box as well.”

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Most sportswriters liked the money for the Royals and believe it’s a good move, although some question the timing of it given the obvious extension candidates already waiting on deck. R. J. Anderson of Baseball Prospectus answers that with a response of, “Why not?”

Anderson writes, “The biggest question to ask the Royals about re-signing Perez is, "Why now?" Extensions that come this early in a player’s career tend to be reserved for future superstars. Such a description would not seem to fit Perez, unless the Royals feel strongly about his power potential. But then again, why would the Royals not do this deal? The money involved should not be enough to affect a potential Alex Gordon extension, and locking up Eric Hosmer seems to be a matter of forcing Scott Boras out of the picture one way or another. This is an extension worth signing, even if the Royals see Perez as an average to above-average backstop and nothing more.”

A deal should exist in a vacuum in this instance and the Perez deal is a good one. Hats off to Moore for locking up one of his wise investments from the farm system.


Kansas City Royals Sign Salvador Perez To Long-Term Contract

The Kansas City Royals made an announcement at 5:30 pm local time this evening, announcing they had agreed to a long-term contract with 21-year old starting catcher Salvador Perez. The deal is for five years guaranteed, with three years after that being the club's option.

Perez, who signed with the Royals as an international free agent at the age of 16 in 2006, has 39 games under his belt at the major league level in which he hit .339/.361/.473 with three home runs and 21 RBI. While this may not be on par with what a long-term deal would be with Eric Hosmer, this is a great signing for Kansas City.

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Backstop is a premium position in the major leagues, and Perez is a star in the making at the position. He is well above average defensively and starting to develop power in the batters box as well.

The terms $7 million over five years are brilliant for Kansas City fans. If you look over the landscape of catchers in the major leagues, solid, but not superstar catchers include players like Geovany Soto, John Buck, and Carlos Ruiz. Of the group, Soto will make the least amount of money in 2012, and he will still be earning $4.3 million.

Going even further, the Royals committed $11,340,000 to starting catchers over the last five season ($2.25 and $3.75 to Jason Kendall in 2010 and '11, $2.70 million to Miguel Olivo in '09, $2.2 million to John Buck in '08 and $440,000 to Buck in '07)

This gives Kansas City a long-term catcher. The Royals have not had true stability at catcher since the Mike Macfarlane era. He'll be someone who is able to communicate easier with Latin pitchers and give the Royals a signal caller to help develop young pitchers, because he is so good defensively.

It's a good day for Royals fans and even more reason to be excited about the future.


Catching Up With The 2012 Royals At Spring Training

As Matt Conner noted yesterday, Jose Mijares has now arrived in Royals camp after taking care of Visa issues. He's at least a week behind all the other pitchers, but should be able to close the gap if he reports to camp in shape. Mijares has always had a big body, so conditioning is key for him. You can see for yourself, here.

One thing Mijares has going for him is that he was playing winter ball for much of the off season, so he should come into camp in good form.

Staying with the bullpen, Jonathan Broxton spoke with Fox Sports Kansas City's Joel Goldberg on Sunday afternoon and told Goldberg that this year's Royals team reminds him of the 2006 Los Angeles Dodgers. That season the Dodgers coming off a 71-91 record (identical to the 2011 Royals), and turned it around to an 88-74 record, which saw them tie for the National League West Division Championship with the San Diego Padres. The Dodgers would go on to lose in the Division Series to the New York Mets in seven games.

If it is video you are craving from spring training, the Kansas City Royals' twitter account has you set. You can view some spring videos here. Included from Sunday after Bubba Starling, Noel Arguelles, Jake Odorizzi, Wil Myers, and Alex Gordon. You can also view Eric Hosmer and Mike Moustakas taking batting practice.

If you don't recognize Moustakas, he has swapped the buzzcut for bushy curly hair. These are the types of stories that are serious business when it is spring training. No report on the intentions for his locks in the long-term. You can catch a glimpse the new 'do in this video courtesy of Goldberg and the FSNKC team (and the Kansas City Star as well).

Not too much else going on news wise as spring training at the moment. The action will heat up this week though as the Royals prepare for their first spring training game next weekend. Luis Mendoza will take to the hill for the Royals in their opener. He was unaware that he was starting until being informed by media reporters.

Billy Butler also is apparently looking trim and in good form, as he has long been tagged as a big body player.


Royals Spring Training: Jose Mijares Back In Camp After Visa Absence

The Kansas City Royals finally have Jose Mijares into the team’s spring training camp in Surprise, Arizona after missing him over the last several days due to visa issues in his home country. Bob Dutton is reporting that Mijares finally showed as the Royals expected at some point this weekend. Ned Yost had told the media that much when the relief pitcher was still absent yesterday.

Mijares finally got a passport in his native Venezuela and can join an remade Royals bullpen that has Aaron Crow moving to the starting rotation and features fellow free agent signee Jonathan Broxton. Mijares brings an important left-handed arm to the mix and also is very familiar with the AL Central after four seasons with the Minnesota Twins. The 27 year old signed a one year deal with the Royals this offseason.

Last year, Mijares went 0-2 with a 4.59 ERA, his worst full season in the big leagues. Dayton Moore and the rest of the Royals are hoping Mijares can return to the form of previous seasons like 2009 when he had a 2.34 ERA out of the pen.


Jose Mijares Is Still MIA and Danny Duffy Shows Off His Moves In Royals' Spring Training Recap

As Matt Conner noted yesterday, contrary to earlier reports, Royals reliever Jose Mijares has not yet shown up for spring training. Actually the Royals haven't had any contact with him in eight days. That is not exactly getting off on the right foot with your new team.

I understand players can have trouble with their visas, but Mijares had many weeks to take care of this. He should be in camp, and he'll likely be in the doghouse once he arrives. Officially the Royals know nothing other than Mijares is missing because of family issues.

Moving onto other issues, the Royals suffered their first injuries of spring training as catcher Manuel Pina injured his right knee and was carted off the field. Pina's spikes caught akwardly in the ground and he twisted his knee. The 24-year old backup catcher made his major league debut in 2011, getting three hits in 14 at-bats. Two of the hits were doubles. In 71 minor league games last season (mostly at Omaha), he posted a .239/.354/.372 line with five home runs and 28 RBI.

Minor league outfielder Paulo Orlando was also missing from training, as he was out with a sports hernia. Surgery may be required, but he is expected to be back by the season. Orlando, who has made it as far as Omaha, is an interesting player to follow. If he is to make it to Kansas City, he would be the first Brazilian to ever reach the major leagues.

In other news, Kansas City manager Ned Yost will be using a six-man rotation during spring training. Yost talked over the winter with Texas Rangers pitching coach Mike Maddux and will be utilizing the philosophy Texas put forth last year in spring training. The theory behind it is the Royals have many young pitchers they want to allow the opportunity to get in the most amount of work before the season begins.

Royals infield prospect Christian Colon is blogging during spring training and you can visit it here. Among his highlights from yesterday was besting his sprinting times over last season.

And finally, you must check out the video of Danny Duffy. Apparently a fire alarm went off as Duffy was filming a promo for the upcoming season. Hilarity ensued in four key points. First it started with the blank stare of confusion from Duffy, which lead into his rendition of the "Carlton dance" from the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. It eventually morphed into something that resembled a cross between "raising the roof" and the "John Wall". And it finally ended with a tricycle and some Benny Hill music. Hopefully that video is coming to a Crown Vision near you this season.


Royals Spring Training: Jose Mijares Missing From Kansas City Camp

The Kansas City Royals signed a few new pitchers this offseason in the hopes of not only filling out the starting rotation but also rounding out the bullpen as well, one likely to get quite taxed as the season wears on. Jose Mijares was signed to be a part of that along with others like Jon Broxton. But while everyone else has reported, the Royals say that they are not quite sure where Mijares is at.

“We don’t know where he’s at,” manager Ned Yost said before Tuesday’s practice. “We were told at the hotel that he had checked in. He hadn’t. And he hadn’t picked up his visa yet and we’re trying to get in touch with him.”

The team’s press release even admits that the team’s officials believed Mijares had already arrived and checked into the hotel yesterday.

“The Royals mistakenly believed that Mijares had arrived in Arizona on Monday’s reporting date. Mijares’ visa is in Venezuela — he’s from Caracas — and the Royals were told he was delayed because of family issues.”

Mijares was signed away from the Minnesota Twins several weeks ago.


Royals Spring Training: Luke Hochevar Must Make Next Step Forward For KC Rotation

Luke Hochevar was the opening day starter last season for the Kansas City Royals. It’s the kind of pronouncement a team usually makes to signal their best overall starting pitcher — the guy who can carry the team every fifth day. But two things are wrong about that specific statement for the Royals: Hochevar has never been that guy and the Royals don’t really have any other options.

But Hochevar has been the player who could become that ace. As we noted just a few weeks ago, "If any Royals pitcher is going to make “the leap” and come into their prime from someone already on the major league squad, Hochevar is a decent guess. At 28, he’s coming into his own and he’s lowered his ERA every year for the last three as he gains ML experience."

As the Royals first overall selection in the 2006 draft, Hochevar has always carried those expectations. The growing pains have been difficult, but the talent is definitely there, and he almost threw for 200 innings just last season while slowly sharpening his performance after yet another year with a 4.68 ERA. Everyone now realizes that Hochevar is ready to make the leap, even the Royals coaching staff.

“Now is the time for him to take it to the next level,” Eiland said in a recent interview. “I think he’s prepared to do that mentally and physically.”

The Royals are going to need Hochevar to do just that if they want to compete at all in the next two years. Other arms will adjust in the same way he has, and it’s likely that Mike Montgomery and Danny Duffy will look more like Hochevar’s first few seasons in the majors than any sort of instant ace. Instead, the Royas will need Hochevar to find the consistency with Eiland’s help to bring the ERA to 4.00 or so.

While even those numbers aren’t going to win the Cy Young, the Royals don’t need Hochevar to make that sort of leap to improve dramatically. The offense is going to continue to provide enough runs to win and the Royals need starters to simply find consistency to improve.

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