Greinke shines in 2006 debut...Keppel very good as well

Zack Greinke was outstanding on Friday.

Zack Greinke on Friday was excellent in his first start of the season for Wichita, as he picked up a victory over the San Antonio Missions after tossing five strong innings. Working on a pitch count of 65-70 pitches, Greinke surrendered only four hits and a walk while allowing one earned run, and he didn't seem to have any trouble with his command. The one run he gave up was very soft, coming by way of a hit batter, an weak infield single, and a broken bat flare to center.

Admittedly, the Missions are the worst offensive club in the Texas League, but we couldn't be any more encouraged by Greinke's outing. He can only spend 20 days in Wichita on his rehab assignment, and if he continues to pitch like this, he should be back in KC within the next couple of weeks. Right now, he's expected to make 1-3 more starts for Wichita, but it's been reported that he could return to the Royals after his next start.

  • The Royals game, unfortunately, didn't go quite as well. Jamie Moyer owns KC, and it was no different today, as he shut out the Royals on just two hits. The game's only bright spot today was the rotation debut of Bobby Keppel, who took the loss despite throwing 6.2 very solid innings. He surrendered six hits and a walk while striking out four, with the only damage coming on back-to-back solo home runs in the seventh inning by Jose Lopez and Raul Ibanez. Jeremy Affeldt entered the game in relief, and in one inning of work, he finally managed to get his ERA over 8.00.

    The Royals try again tomorrow, as Seth Etherton will look to build upon his solid Royals debut while opposing Joel Pineiro. Pineiro is the type of pitcher who scares RC, so we're not sure what to expect.

  • As planned, RC this morning drove to Chapel Hill, NC, to catch an NCAA baseball regional tournament and to get one last look at Andrew Miller before Tuesday's draft. The weather tonight was lousy, and once we learned that Miller wasn't scheduled to start (which, ummm, would have been some easily obtained and very handy information), we decided to skip the opening matchups while opting instead to listen to Wichita's game. Miller is scheduled to pitch tomorrow (Saturday), so we should have a report and some photos ready for you sometime tomorrow night.

    Also, be sure to tune in on Tuesday, as RC will host a live draft tracker throughout the day, complete with as much information as we can obtain about the Royals' picks. Draft day is our favorite day of the year, and we can't wait to see which players the Royals select.

    Finally, on Sunday morning at 11:25 AM CST, RC will be a guest on "Life's a Pitch," a radio program on Sports Talk Cleveland. We are scheduled to discuss a number of different topics, ranging from draft candidates to the Cleveland Indians' farm system. You can listen to the webcast here, if you're interested in hearing us babble.

  • Finally, we have some news to report about the "big changes" coming to Royals Corner. We signed a contract today, so you can expect an official announcement sometime this weekend, as soon as we are assured that it is OK to do so. Stay tuned!
  • Wednesday

    The Dayton Accord...

    RC has mixed emotions about today's events. First, and most importantly, we're absolutely ecstatic about Dayton Moore. Moore was heralded by nearly everyone in baseball as the finest young general manager candidate around, and it's great news that owner David Glass was not only able to identify him as such, but that he was also able to convince him to come to Kansas City. And we couldn't be happier that Glass's days of meddling in the baseball operations of the club appear to be either at an end or severely curtailed. Moore today denied reports that he had been given a written guarantee granting him full authority on personnel decisions, but he did express enthusiasm about his arrangement with Glass.

    "I feel very comfortable with the parameters I've been given and the autonomy I've been given," said Moore during his afternoon teleconference with reporters.

    Moore will not take over the reins immediately, as Braves' GM John Schuerholz came to an agreement with Glass that Moore will remain with Atlanta through the draft on June 6-7. Moore's tenure in KC will begin on June 8, when he will be introduced in a press conference at Kauffman Stadium, and he plans to immediately begin a period of evaluation as he meets with front office personnel and learns about the organization.

    Moore made the rounds today after the announcement, hosting a teleconference and appearing on the Royals' postgame show on 810 WHB. He pretty much stuck to the script, talking about how excited he was and how confident he is in the Royals' ability to one day field a contender. This was the first time RC had ever heard Moore speak, and our initial impression is that he's a very thoughtful baseball man who has a solid idea of how to run a ballclub. He sounds firmly committed to scouting and player development, and we hope he can bring a fresh approach to an organization that hasn't graduated a significant starting pitching prospect from its minor league system in nearly a decade. All told, this is a day for celebration, as the Glass ownership truly did hit a home run with the hiring of Dayton Moore.

    Farewell, Allard.

    Unfortunately, it wasn't a good day for Allard Baird, a man who devoted both his heart and 18 years of his professional life to an organization he loved. We're not bitter that he was fired -- it was indeed time for a change -- but we are not at all happy with the manner in which it happened. The way he was left lurching in the wind for the past month was a disgrace that shook our previously held confidence in David Glass to its core. Thankfully, resolution came today, and RC bids Baird the best of luck in whichever club is the first to hire him. He's a class act in the truest sense of the word, and it won't be long before he finds a new home.

    RC's search for an Official Hero begins anew.

    Flash: Baird out, Moore in.

    The Royals today announced that general manager and RC official hero Allard Baird has been fired, and it is being reported that Dayton Moore from the Atlanta Braves organization has agreed to take over after the draft next week. RC is working on a full post and will have more for you later this afternoon/early evening.

    EDIT: The Royals have scheduled a press teleconference at 3:00 pm CST. You can listen to it here.


    Royals finally play good game, stand at 2-2 on road trip...

    For the first time in nearly a month, the Royals controlled a game from start to finish, picking up a solid 6-4 win over the struggling Oakland A's. The offensive attack included 13 hits and four doubles, two of which were hit by RC's budding favorite player, Shane Costa. Seth Etherton, who was acquired over the weekend from the Padres, pitched well in his first start for the Royals, picking up the win while allowing two runs (one earned) and six hits in five innings pitched. The A's battled him all evening, fouling off pitches left and right, and Etherton was removed after the fifth when his pitch count climbed to 100. Amazingly, his was just the fifth win by a Royals' starter this season.

    Costa hit two doubles today.

    In fact, it will be interesting to see how the pitching rotation shakes out this week. As you surely know by now, Runelvys Hernandez was cast away to the minors after his pathetic outing on Sunday, and it doesn't sound like a return to Kauffman Stadium is in the cards for Hernandez anytime soon. 810 WHB reported that Hernandez was not at all pleased with his demotion, and that he threw something of a hissy fit when he learned he was heading back to triple-A.

    Mark Redman is scheduled to return to the club on Tuesday after missing several days while on bereavement leave. If his forearm is no longer sore, he could rejoin the rotation this week, and he's presently scheduled to pitch on Saturday against the Mariners, which was Hernandez's turn in the rotation.

    Affeldt might not be in the rotation much longer.

    Of course, that doesn't mean that Jeremy Affeldt's spot in the rotation is safe. Word is that Bobby Keppel will also join the rotation, so if Redman's forearm is no longer nagging him, all signs point to Affeldt being sent back to the bullpen. This is a very welcome development for RC, as Affeldt has been terrible in all but three starts this season. Keppel has been very effective in his two extended relief appearances, so hopefully he'll carry some of that over into the starting rotation. At the very least, we hope Keppel can simply keep the Royals in the game, which is something that Affeldt has been completely unable to do. If Redman's good to go on Saturday, we expect to see Keppel make the start against the Mariners on Friday in place of Affeldt.

  • Another welcome development today occured when David DeJesus made his return to the Royals after spending several weeks on the DL with hamstring injuries. To make room for him on the roster, the Royals optioned struggling fan favorite Aaron Guiel back to Omaha. It's never fun to see a guy like Guiel sent down, but there were few options available. In a perfect world, we suppose we'd prefer to see Matt Stairs persuaded to begin his coaching career a little sooner than anticipated, but that unfortunatly isn't a realistic option. Some folks would probably prefer to see Emil Brown sent down, but those are the same people who ignore the fact that Brown is currently the Royals' hottest hitter.

    Brown is on an offensive tear.

    In fact, in the 11 games since May 19, Brown has gone 17-for-40 (.425), raising his batting average from .215 to .267 while hiking his OPS to .755 (up from .649). He had a similarly miserable April last year, but Brown began to hit in May (.313/.389/.506) and carried his pace through the rest of the season. This May, Brown is hitting .302/.351/.500, and he's starting to again show that short, quick stroke RC loves to talk about. Guiel is a nice option to have off of the bench, but we agree that Brown's continued presence in the Royals' lineup offers more value to the club. Besides, with the way injuries have ravaged the roster this season, we wouldn't be surprised to see Guiel back up pretty quickly.

    Of course, there's always a concern associated with any move, and our biggest in this case is that DeJesus's return to the lineup might start to cost Costa regular playing time. With the starting outfield again relatively healthy, it will be interesting to see if Buddy Bell manipulates the lineup to continue getting Costa steady at bats. It certainly wouldn't hurt to see Brown supplanting Stairs as the primary DH, but we've given up on predicting the construction and "logic" of Bell's lineups. Is Brown a "DH-type" player? Apparently, only Bell knows the answer to that...or at least, his is the only opinion that seems to matter. Regardless, it would be an awful shame to see Costa taking a seat next to Esteban German in the dugout four out of every five games.

  • The amateur baseball draft is only one week away, and RC is still planning to unveil our final Draft Prospect Update, which will probably come on the Monday before the draft. We were pleased to learn yesterday that North Carolina is hosting an NCAA regional, so RC will be in Chapel Hill this weekend getting one last look at our top-ranked player, Andrew Miller. Miller had a rough outing in the ACC tournament, picking up a loss against NC State while allowing seven runs (five earned) over six innings. He'll be well-rested, and he should get Friday's start vs. Maine, so we'll be sure to take photos and provide a report from Chapel Hill.

    Miller has one last shot to impress the Royals...and RC

    Also, we'll stay on top of the GM search this week, as Dayton Moore will presumably decide whether or not to accept David Glass's rumored offer to take the organizational reins in the coming days (Please!). We'll have more to say about our disappointment with Glass's conduct over the past month, but for now, we can do no better than to refer you to Joe Posnanski's excellent columns from the past week, here and here.

    Anyway, that's what's on tap for this week. Stay tuned!