Not much to report out of Surprise this evening as the Kansas City Royals finished up their second day of workouts so far this spring. However, I wanted to pass along that veteran catcher Jason Kendall is back in camp and is working out in moderation. In a video courtesy of the Kansas City Star's Bob Dutton, manager Ned Yost seemed happy with the progression Kendall has made. Though he likely won't be ready for Opening Day, he is very much ahead of schedule.
I am probably in the majority in thinking that this is a good news bad news situation for the Royals. While it is good to see Kendall become healthy once again, it also would benefit the young catchers on the roster in not having to look over their shoulder for Kendall's return.
Yost and Royals pitching coach Bob McClure also spoke to the Star yesterday about the Royals bullpen situation. Joakim Soria and Robinson Tejeda are the only likely shoe-ins at the moment in the Royals bullpen, however that doesn't mean the Royals are void of talent. Specifically McClure singled out the trio of Jeremy Jeffress, Patrick Keating, and Louis Coleman.
McClure on Jeffress-
"There’s nothing herky-jerky with Jeffress," McClure said. "It’s smooth. It’s hard, too. It is firm. We’re telling him not to go overboard, and he’s faster than anyone else by far. You’ll see it."
And on Keating and Coleman-
"Keating has surprised the heck out of me. His control is good. He throws hard, and his control is good. You know who else has thrown well? Coleman. But it’s so early, and there are a lot of good arms out here."
In other news out of Spring Training, the Royals are expecting to have a payroll of $35 million this year, which would be the lowest in the major leagues. Most would look at this on the surface as the Royals front office not spending the money they should, however this is rather a positive when you look at how few contracted players the Royals will have going into 2012 and the potential it gives Kansas City to use resources in the future rather than having their hands tied to veterans they had to overpay to come to Kansas City.
And a final note per Bob Dutton, the Royals are showing interest in signing pitcher John Maine to a minor league deal. Maine, also drawing interest from the Philadelphia Phillies, is a 29 year old right handed pitcher, has played seven years in the majors, predominately with the New York Mets. Like newly acquired Jeff Francis, Maine is also rebounding from an injury that has slowed a solid career to the point of the injury. In 2007, Maine was 15-10 with a 3.91 ERA and 180 strikeouts for the Mets. Expect a decision to come soon.