Damn, if it isn’t great to write about actual baseball news. (Or at least what passes for news at Spring Training. I’ll take it.) This winter has been too long… And quiet.
Let’s get to the Sunshine Points…
Lineup Is Chiseled In Stone – For Now
Ned Yost showed his cards immediately. And what he showed wasn’t the least bit surprising.
Here’s how his lineup looks for the Opener on April 6:
LF – Gordon
2B – Giavotella
1B – Hosmer
DH – Butler
3B – Moustakas
RF – Francoeur
C – Perez
CF – Cain
SS – Escobar
The real news is the confirmation that Johnny Giavotella is pegged to hit second, sandwiched between Gordon and Hosmer. Despite Gio’s less than stellar cup of coffee at the end of last season, it makes the most sense for him to hit second, given the assembly of talent in the starting lineup. The only other guys who you would consider would be Lorenzo Cain and Alcides Escobar. Cain misses too many pitches to be counted on in the second spot. And Escobar… Is Escobar. The SS Jesus is just fine hitting ninth.
So the job is Gio’s to lose. We need to keep our fingers crossed he gets out of the gate quickly because I have a feeling that leash is going to be extremely short.
The only other lineup note is that Ned Yost will flip-flop Moose and The Frenchman based on the starter. Moose will hit fifth against right-handers while Francoeur will hold down that slot against lefties.
It appears reports of Jose Mijares in the country and reporting to camp were greatly exaggerated. To the point the Royals don’t actually know where there LOOGY is.
The Royals were initially told Mijares would be a late arrival due to unspecified family issues. Then, they were told he had arrived and checked into his hotel for the spring. That would be great, except he didn’t actually check in to the hotel. In fact, his visa is still waiting for him in Venezuela.
This follows a pattern for Mijares, who is now late reporting for camp for the third year running. Add in the fact he’s had dustups with teammates in the past and you have to wonder how committed this guy is when it will come into buying into the team spirit the Royals and GMDM are trying to cultivate. Besides, when one team decides to cut ties with you and you show up late to you’re new employer, that’s not the way to make a positive first impression.
He’s not off to a good start. Because he’s not off to any start.
A First Butler
Word is, Yost will work Billy Butler into a few games at first. He made just three starts there once Hosmer was called up in May.
It would be nice to see… It can be thought of as a reward because Butler has continued to work on his glove work. He’ll never be confused for a great defender, but the guy still wants to play the field. Why not give him a start once a week and let Hosmer DH on those days? And if Butler is a complete disaster, you just stop doing it after awhile. (However, this is a team considering giving reps to Yuniesky Betancourt at third, so let’s stop pretending that Butler is some kind of serial killer at first.)
Although I’m leery. Remember last year how Yost said Butler would steal 10 bases in 2011? Yeah.
Early To Camp
The feel good story (aside from Mike Moustakas being in the best shape of his life) is the fact there have been a ton of early arrivals to camp. Ahhh… Optimism.
It’s nice that most everyone has been hanging around Surprise for awhile. This is a young team – again – and the young guys are enthusiastic about the game. We saw it last year, and we’re going to see it again this summer. Enthusiasm is difficult to translate into wins, but it’s fun to watch.
I’m good with that. Baseball kicks ass.