RC Spring Training Report -- A Pictoral

In lieu of a detailed report today, we felt it would be best to present some original RC photos from the last two days. Following tomorrow's game, RC will provide a detailed report on days 3-5 of our official Spring Training trip. We have much to report, but for now, please enjoy some of the photos we've taken thus far.

**Update - March 4**
Due to some annoying problems with RC's official laptop, we were unable to provide today's promised post. We return to RC Headquarters on Sunday evening, when we should be able to provide commentary on the Royals' first three games of the Spring. We apologize for the delay.

Chip Ambres scores the game-tying run in the ninth inning on Thursday.

Unfortunately, a familiar sight. Affeldt was ultimately OK, but his pitching wasn't.

Ambiorix Burgos had his splitter and his fastball working, completing a scoreless inning in Friday's game while picking up the win.

Juan Cedeno looked good in his outing on Friday, despite allowing a three-run HR.

Shane Costa has impressed RC with his power displays in batting practice, and his solid contact through the first two games.

David DeJesus rounds third after launching a 420 ft. homer to right-center on Friday.

Alex Gordon on Thursday showed the Royals that he's not too far from the Majors, knocking in two runs with a key base hit in the eighth inning and hitting the ball hard all day.

Mitch Maier has officially gotten RC's attention, putting on impressive displays during batting practice and launching a triple (pictured here) in his first Spring Training at bat.

Mike MacDougal looked solid, tossing a scoreless inning while dialing his fastball up to 97 mph.

Joel Peralta was amazing on Thursday in his Royals debut.

Mark Teahen has been showing impressive power during batting practice, and he's crushed a few balls already this spring, including this double on Friday.

After coming back from a 5-0 deficit on Thursday to force a tie, the Royals on Friday won their first game of the spring with a 7-6 victory over the Rangers.


RC Spring Training Report -- Day 2

RC arrived at camp today just as the gates opened, and we watched infield and batting practice for a couple hours. Buddy Bell ran the show on the main field, and after about half an hour of fielding drills, the players broke into four groups to take batting practice. Mark Teahen, Mike Sweeney, and John Buck were hitting the snot out of the ball, each sending several balls over the fence. After BP, RC watched as the Royals conducted a simulated game. The game was interesting, primarily because we'd never before seen one take place. The Royals in the field were the following:

1B - Justin Huber
2B - Donnie Murphy
SS - Angel Sanchez
3B - Alex Gordon
LF - Shane Costa
CF - Kerry Robinson
RF - Chip Ambres

Most of those seven remained in the field for the entire game -- the only players who rotated in and out after each half inning were the pitchers and catchers. Buck and Paul Phillips took turns catching the pitchers, who worked in pairs. Scott Elarton and Mike Wood threw the first two innings, with Joe Mays, Runelvys Hernandez, and Luis Cota finishing out the game, each throwing an inning apiece.

Our notes from the game:

  • Among the few players who actually got to bat, Aaron Guiel and Murphy had the best at bats and made the best contact. Murphy hit a double to deep center and a sacrifice fly to left.

  • Angel Sanchez looked great at short, displaying soft hands and a good arm. Gordon had a couple nice plays, the only flaw being a throw a bit to the right of the second base bag on a potential double play. Justin Huber flawlessly handled the three grounders hit to him at first base.

  • Chip Ambres took a poor route to an Aaron Guiel fly ball, and it hit off his glove for a two-base error, eerily similar to his infamous error from last season. Bell didn't look too happy about that.

  • Hernandez and Cota were both popping the mitt. Hernandez struck out Kerry Robinson on a nasty changeup to end his inning, and Cota finished the day by striking out his final batter. Wood's sinker was working well, and Elarton and Mays both looked good. None of the pitchers who threw struggled at all against a collection of minor league players trying to make the roster.

  • Tomorrow the real fun begins, as the Royals take on the Rangers in the first Cactus League game of the season. RC will be watching from our official box seats behind the third base dugout, and we'll be sure to take careful notes, along with tons of photos and video. In the meantime, here are some photos from today's action.

    Donnie Murphy rips a double to center as Dick Kaegel watches in the background.

    Angel Sanchez looked smooth at short.

    From RC's vantage point, it looked like Hernandez was throwing hard today.

    Obligatory Alex Gordon photo

    RC was thrilled to get our first look at Luis Cota.

    Justin Huber is heading to Florida tomorrow to join up with his mates on the Australian WBC team.


    Kansas City Royals Transactions

  • 04/14/2006 - Wichita placed IF Brett Groves on the 7 day DL and recalled IF Walter Sevilla from High Desert

  • 04/13/2006 - Steve Andrade cleared waivers, was refused by Toronto and was assigned to AAA Omaha

  • 04/12/2006 - Wichita activated 1B Kila Kaaihue from the 7 day DL, placed IF Donnie Murphy on the 7 day DL

  • 04/05/2006 - Wichita placed P Colt Griffin, P Thad Markray, P Devon Lowery and 2B Carlos Febles on the DL; Omaha placed 1B Ken Harvey, 3B Mike Coolbaugh and P Derrick DePriest on the DL

  • 04/04/2006 - Signed OFs Juan Senreiso and Carlos Arroyo and RHP Cody Smith. Released 2B Darren Fenster, SS Benji Gil, LHP Nick Touchstone, OFs Cody Cure, Darwinson Salazar and Kenard Springer, C Felipe Del Rosario, RHPs George Wilkerson, Nelson Trifolio and Cesar Herrera, 1B Chris Richard and IF Justin Schuda. C John Draper and RHP William Dossett have retired.

  • 04/01/2006 - Designated for assignment RHP Steve Andrade; Optioned RHP Joel Peralta to Triple-A Omaha; Optioned RHP Runelvys Hernandez to Triple-A Omaha and purchased the contract of RHP Luke Hudson and RHP Steve Stemle; Placed RHP Mike MacDougal (shoulder) and LHP Mark Redman (knee) on the 15-day disabled list and placed RHP Zack Greinke (psychological) on the 60-day disabled list.

  • 03/31/2006 - Traded INF Wilson Valdez to the Dodgers for Minor League RHP Jarod Plummer, who will be assigned to Double-A Wichita.

  • 03/30/2006 - Traded INF Joe McEwing to the Astros for a player to be named.

  • 03/29/2006 - Optioned OF Aaron Guiel to Triple-A Omaha and RHP Leo Nunez to Double-A Wichita. Reassigned INF Joe McEwing to Minor League camp.

  • 03/28/2006 - Claimed INF Tony Graffanino off waivers from Boston; Claimed RHP Steve Andrade off waivers from San Diego; Designated OF Chip Ambres for assignment; Placed LHP Bobby Madritsch on the 60-day disabled list (recovering from November 2005 shoulder surgery).

  • 03/27/2006 - Reassigned 3B Alex Gordon to Double-A Wichita; Reassigned INFs Chris Clapinski, Wilson Valdez, Benji Gil, and Mike Coolbaugh and C Paul Phillips to Triple-A Omaha. Placed RHP Runelvys Hernandez on the 15-day disabled list due to lack of stamina.

  • 03/23/2006 - Minor league transactions - Royals release minor league first baseman Blake Adkison, infielder Jon Aughey, pitcher Brandon Brantley, catcher Luis Gonzalez, catcher Robert Grana, catcher Jefferson Infante and third baseman Eddie Solis.

  • 03/20/2006 - Reassigned RHPs Kyle Snyder, Adam Bernero, David Elder, Bobby Keppel, Joe Nelson and OFs Chad Allen and Kerry Robinson to Triple-A Omaha. Reassigned C Mark Tupman to Double-A Wichita. Optioned LHP J.P Howell and INFs Andres Blanco, Ruben Gotay and Justin Huber to Triple-A Omaha.

  • 03/13/2006 - Signed RHP Luke Hudson to a Minor League contract with an invitation Spring Training; Optioned 2B Donnie Murphy and RHP Brian Bass to Triple-A Omaha; Optioned SS Angel Sanchez and LHP Juan Cedeno to Double-A Wichita; Re-assigned 1B Chris Richard, C Adam Donachie, RHP Luis Cota and RHP Ryan Baerlocher to Minor League camp.
  • RC Spring Training Report -- Day 1

    The first day of RC's Official Spring Training Trip went well. We arrived at camp shortly after 10 AM, and we moved back and forth between the four fields on which the Royals were taking batting practice. After figuring out who was where, we began taking photos and observing the action. George Brett was throwing BP on one of the fields, and it appeared that almost every Royal in camp was either hitting or shagging. Unfortunately, the workout was cut short due to the intrasquad game scheduled for 1 PM, but we still managed to take some pretty nice photos in the hour or so we had.

    We assumed the intrasquad game would be open to the public, but of course, it wasn't. RC was relegated to watching the action through the left field gate, which offers a relatively poor view of the field from about 500 feet away. Nevertheless, we did see Ruben Gotay's homerun, which was a laser to right center off of Denny Bautista. John Buck's dinger was true no doubter to center off of J.P. Howell, and Justin Huber looked like he was swinging the bat well.

    After a couple innings, half of the RC delegation left the game to see if there was anything interesting happening on the practice fields, which were still open due to a tryout on one of the fields. And it was then that we got our first look at Jeff Bianchi and Jeffery Howell, along with Shawn Hayes and a couple of other minor leaguers. We watched Bianchi and Hayes go through infield drills and batting practice, while Howell was working on his throws and footwork with John Mizerock on an adjacent field.

    After adjourning to RC's official hotel for a couple hours, we drove to Tempe to watch Arizona State take on Texas Tech. We came away very impressed with a pair of Sun Devil players -- junior outfielder Colin Curtis and freshman pitcher/DH Ike Davis. We'll have more to say about them later, but for now, please enjoy some of the photos we took today at Spring Training.

    Jeffrey Howell hit .346/.455/.449 last season at Idaho Falls.

    Bianchi looked good working out at short, and he showed his quick line drive stroke during BP.

    Mitch Maier looked much stronger than he was when RC last saw him in Wilmington, and he was hitting rockets during BP.

    Justin Huber stopped by to say hello.

    RC was also treated to our first look at Mark Grudzielanek in a Royals uniform.

    Be sure to stop by again tomorrow for more photos and commentary.


    Greinke leaves camp...RC set to arrive...

    RC was alerted this afternoon that Zack Greinke left camp over the weekend to return home to Orlando. The Royals have indicated that he had permission to leave in order to take care of "personal matters," but they refused to speculate further, beyond saying it was not injury-related. They have also refused to speculate on how long Greinke will be out, but they didn't rule out that it might be for an extended period of time.

    This is obviously not good news. We cannot even begin to guess what the problem is, but clearly Greinke has something he needs to work out for himself. Though you won't often hear us admit it, there are more important things than baseball, and we hope Greinke takes care of his problem -- whatever it is -- and gets back on the mound quickly. Speculation about the cause of Greinke's departure at this point is pointless, so we're not going to do it. We're all curious, of course, but RC just hopes that Zack is OK.

  • On a more cheerful note, RC tomorrow afternoon will depart for our Official Spring Training Trip. We will be in Surprise until Sunday afternoon, and we are scheduled to go to three spring training games, two intrasquad games, and two Arizona State games (vs. Texas Tech and Auburn). As always, we promise frequent updates right here on Royals Corner throughout the week, including scores of original photos and videos. Stay tuned!

  • We had heard that Runelvys Hernandez reported to camp in horrible shape, but we had no idea how much weight he actually gained. The few small photos we'd seen of him didn't make him look too much bigger, but a search for Photo Day shots of the Royals today revealed the truth about Hernandez. And oh my! RC is in no position to make fun of fat people, so we won't go there, but Hernandez is really starting to look like a Domincan Bob Wickman. Check out the photo here. Also, Royals Authority has an interesting take on Hernandez's weight, so we recommend you check that out as well.

  • RC is pleased to announce that we've updated our College Prospect Tracker, which includes a quick recap of last week's action and stats through this weekend's games. Missouri's Max Scherzer had the weekend's most impressive performance, picking up a win against the nation's #1 ranked team, the Florida Gators. Not to be outdone, North Carolina's Andrew Miller had a dominating performance today against George Washington University, striking out 11 in seven innings pitched while allowing only two hits and no runs. Be sure to check the page frequently as we track the progress of the nation's top collegiate talent throughout the season.

  • As you probably know by now, RC takes great pride in the original photographs we provide. Through our travels, RC has built up quite a catalog of quality photos of many, if not most, of the best prospects in baseball. We often offer other sites the use of our photos, and a few, such as Inside the Dugout, have taken us up on those offers. We're pleased to announce that our photos will soon appear on two of baseball's best and most popular sites.

    In addition to our reporting on the Royals while in Arizona, we're planning to snap some photos of Rangers prospects for the Newberg Report. The Newberg Report has an insane following of Rangers fans, and we look forward to seeing our photos appear on that site.

    Also, John Sickels today published one of our photos on his blog, Minor League Ball. The shot of Adam Jones certainly isn't one of our best efforts, but we plan to continue providing John with more photos in the coming months. If you've never before checked out John's site, we highly recommend you do so. He combines traditional scouting techniques with sabermetrics, and his Prospect Book is one of the best around.