After the retirement of Gil Meche and the trading of Zach Grienke, the Royals were staring at the bottom of the proverbial barrel when it comes to reliable pitching this off-season. After all, even with those pitchers in-house, no one would have mistaken the Royals starting rotation, or even their bullpen, for a solid major league unit, so without them, the situation looked dire.
Still, some decent signings and a trade to acquire Vince Mazzaro from Oakland provided some possibilities for the Royals to patch something together until impressive young arms like Mike Montgomery take their place on the major league stage. One game into spring training, the Royals have to like what they witnessed out on the mound against the Rangers.
Kyle Davies started the Royals preseason with two solid innings with three strikeouts. He made efficient work of the Rangers line-up and there’s always hope that the former heralded prospect will make good on his potential, even at 27. The same could be said of Bruce Chen, who also had a good first day. The rotation will likely feature both players and Ned Yost has to hope they will provide some semblance of stability for his staff.
Even better yet, the Royals need some arms to shine in the bullpen leading up to Joakim Soria. With a patchwork rotation, there’s no doubt that the bullpen will be heavily used, so that’s why impressive turns by Tim Collins and Luis Mendoza certainly earned nods of approval today.
Much work is yet to be done and this first game of the season doesn’t have anyone lowering or raising their hopes just yet for any team. Yet that doesn’t mean that progress isn’t beginning to happen on the diamond.