Friday, October 27, 2006

Hochevar Has Strained Shoulder

Good news about Luke Hochevar. The MRI revealed that he only has a shoulder strain. He won't need any further treatment, but the Royals still have no plans to have Hochevar return to the Arizona Fall League.

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Pujols Article

As the Cardinals celebrate their World Series championship tonight, I thought I'd give you a link to an article I wrote about Albert Pujols recently for a Canadian newspaper. I was wearing my journalist hat at the time. The article is about how Pujols lives out his faith on and off the field. The article contains a couple of rather odd edits that I can't explain, but if you are still interested in reading it, here's the link.

Hochevar Shuts it Down in AFL

Hearing that Luke Hochevar has tightness in his right shoulder was all the Royals needed to hear to shut him down for the winter. He's been pitching for the Grand Canyon Rafters in the Arizona Fall League (AFL). His numbers haven't been impressive: 8.1 IP, 13 H, 8 K, 8 ER.

He was scheduled for an MRI yesterday. Let's hope that it isn't serious. Oddly, Luis Medina, the Royals' special assistant to the general manager, said that it was "probably just fatigue." After eight innings over three appearances? That doesn't make a lot of sense, unless he's been working a lot on the side.

I'll let you know when the MRI results become available.

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Thursday, October 26, 2006

A McGuffy Award

A big thanks to Garth over at the Baseball Think Factory for naming a post I wrote called "The Making of a Royals Fan" as the best post in the "Non-mainstream media division" in his McGuffy awards.

If you haven't had a chance to check out Garth's page called Royal Ingenuity at the Baseball Think Factory, now would be a good time.

Gordon Named Topps Minor League Player of the Year

Alex Gordon added to his list of already growing awards recently when he was named the Topps Minor League Player of the Year. In September, he was named the Baseball America Minor League Player of the Year. In August, he was named the Texas League Player of the Year. And he was also named as one of the Royals' minor league players' of the year.

According to this article, he's been invited to Spring Training, and it sounds like he'll have a legitimate shot to make the major league club while he's there.

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Friday, October 20, 2006

Keep Teahen at Third

With the offseason in full bloom for most teams, baseball writers and fans are doing what we do best--we talk about the next season. On the Royals website recently, Dick Kaegel addressed the possibility of Mark Teahen switching to the outfield next season. Kaegel says that Teahen is "likely to be tried in the outfield during Spring Training to see if he'd adapt to a corner outfield spot..."

Given that Teahen missed so many games this season (either due to injury or his brief stint in Omaha), he didn't have enough chances at third base for to be ranked for his fielding percentage among third baseman, but if he did, he wouldn't have been toward the top. He committed 14 errors and had a .958 fielding percentage. Assuming his percentage would have stayed the say, he would have been ninth in the AL behind Melvin Mora, and miles ahead of A-Rod (who had a pitiful .937 fielding percentage). He would have been 13th in MLB if his percentage had remained the same, but such analysis is probably not fair since many other third baseman would have figured into the mix as well if they'd had enough chances.

So, Teahen is hardly a gold glove candidate at third base, but he did improve his fielding percentage from .947 to .958 from his first year to his second and his work with Buddy Bell seems to be paying off regarding his footwork--which was close to atrocious when he first came up. He's a natural at making the bare-handed throw. And he seems settled in to me. I only see him getting better, both on the field and at the plate. So, I'm not crazy about moving him to the outfield as he enters his third season. I'd much prefer to see Gordon taking fly balls this spring.

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Sunday, October 08, 2006

Hey, Hey, Hey, Good-Bye

The general consensus after the Royals swept the Tigers to finish the season and to end their chances of winning the division was that Detroit wouldn't be able to come back and beat the evil Yankees. Their payroll was too high. They had 13 All-Stars on their roster. They had all that postseason experience. And they had Joe Torre.

They also had aging bodies, no pitching, and A-Rod hitting eighth (undoubtedly the most expensive number eight hitter in the history of the game at $25 million per season) on Saturday night. I like what he said after the game:

"You kind of get tired of giving the other team credit," said Rodriguez, who was 1-for-14 in the series without any RBI. "At some point, you just have to look in the mirror and say, 'I sucked.'"

He was in good company. With the exception of Derek Jeter and Jorge Posada, the rest of the Yankees didn't hit either (18-for-104). And their starting pitching didn't exactly shine. Jaret Wright pitched poorly in his outing. And Randy Johnson and Mike Mussina both lost their starts.

Now, the reports are saying that Joe Torre is about to be fired and A-Rod might not be back in pinstripes next year either. Somehow, Brian Cashman seems to be getting a free pass in this deal, and I guess it's hard to argue with that. He has assembled the best team that money can buy. But for the sixth straight season, the $200 million evil Yankees will not be crowned the World Series Champion.

And that is a beautiful thing.

Saturday, October 07, 2006

Great Post about O'Neil

And while you are checking out articles about Buck O'Neil today, make sure you read this post over at Royal Authority.

Buck O'Neil, Dead at 94

Yesterday was a sad day. Buck O'Neil died at the age of 94 in a Kansas City hospital and Kauffman Stadium will never be quite the same. I was always amazed by the man's love for baseball. Whether it was 44 degrees in early April or 102 in mid-August, you could always find Buck O'Neil sitting in the stands watching the game, and the team, he loved.

He fought hard to keep the memories of the Negro league players alive. And nobody can think of the Negro League Baseball Museum without thinking about Buck O'Neil. O'Neil never got to play one inning of major league baseball because of his skin color. But during the 1930's and 1940's he played Negro league baseball during its heyday. It's a shame that such a league needed to exist, but at the same time, if it hadn't, guys like O'Neil wouldn't have been able to play. He led the league in hitting twice as a Kansas City Monarch, hitting .345 in 1940, and .350 in 1946. He was a three-time East-West All-Star. And he managed the team from 1948-1955. 

The baseball world celebrated as guys like Satchel Paige, Cool Papa Bell, and Josh Gibson were inducted into the Hall of Fame mostly because of what they did in the Negro leagues, but we were in shock when O'Neil was not one of the seventeen players elected into the Hall in February of this year when a special vote was held to consider former Negro league players. To say that Buck O'Neil doesn't belong in the Hall of Fame after he spent seven decades in the game (many of which he spent working in the Chicago Cubs' organization) and continued to be one of its biggest advocates up until the end is ludicrous.

He went to the induction ceremony anyway on July 30, 2006 and he opened it by sharing memories of the Negro leagues. That was the kind of guy he was. He didn't hold a grudge. He just showed up whenever baseball was being played or discussed.

According to this article in the New York Times, O'Neil said this in his autobiography about not getting a chance to play Major League Baseball: “Waste no tears for me. I didn’t come along too early. I was right on time. You see, I don’t have a bitter story. I truly believe I have been blessed.”

And we were blessed to have you as long as we did Buck.

Here are some links to stories about O'Neil:

Monday, October 02, 2006

Royals Sweep the Tigers

Game Date: October 1, 2006
Game Score: Royals 10, Tigers 8 / Box Score
WP: Gobble (4-6), LP: Rogers (17-8)
Royal Home Runs: None
Royals Record: 62-100

We might have lost 100 games, but we just swept the Detroit Tigers in Detroit when they desperately needed to win at least one of those games to win the American League Central. The Tigers jumped out to a 6-0 lead after three innings yesterday and with the ball in Jeremy Bonderman's hands it was hard to imagine that the Royals could mount a comeback against him. But they did.

Esteban German walked to lead off the fourth inning. David DeJesus doubled. And then Emil Brown doubled them both in. Paul Phillips got him home with a sacrifice fly later in the inning, and it was 6-3 Detroit. In the fifth inning, German doubled in Angel Sanchez to make it 6-4. The Tigers added a run in the fifth to make it 7-4. But the Royals scored four runs in the eighth inning to take an 8-7 lead. Then Matt Stairs hit a solo home run for Detroit to tie it, and at that point, the irony was hard to not think about. Here was a guy who spent the majority of the season on our team coming back to hit a pinch-hit home run for another team against us to propel them into a division championship.

But the game went into extra innings, and neither team could score. Until the twelfth inning. With the bases loaded and one out, German singled to score Jeff Keppinger. And two hitters later, Emil Brown walked with the bases loaded to drive in Joey Gathright. Royals win. Tigers lose. And they were bound for New York by the end of the night to take on the evil Yankees. I say, "GO DETROIT!"

But what a fantastic way to head into the off-season. And to make things even better, the Devil Rays lost yesterday--which means the Royals didn't finish with the worst record in baseball. That didn't even seem possible in April and May. Yeah, it means we lost the first pick in the draft next June, but getting the first pick every year simply means you are the worst team in baseball every year.  

Thanks for visiting Royal Reflections this season. Drop by during the offseason to continue to get links to and commentary about the latest Royal news. And I'm planning to break down our team by position and give players overall grades as well.

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Grimsley Named Names?

Looks like Jason Grimsley named names. According to this article running at ESPN, here's a list of players that he claims either took "athletic performance-enhancing drugs" or "anabolic steroids."

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Big First Inning Leads to Win

Game Date: September 30, 2006
Game Score: Royals 9, Tigers 6 / Box Score
WP: Wellemeyer (1-2), LP: Miner (7-6), SV: Gobble (2)
Royal Home Runs: Sweeney (8)
Royals Record: 61-100

Playing the spoiler can bring a higher sense of satisfaction than one might think. If the Royals win today, they can keep the Tigers from winning the division. Although, if I had to pick between the Twins or Tigers, I'd rather see the Tigers win the division. I'm not a big Twins fan, but since we are playing the Tigers, it'd be nice to see us sweep them in Detroit while their in contention for the division title.

The game last night was odd right from the beginning. The Royals scored seven runs in the first inning. Our first four hitters got hits, including Mike Sweeney's two-run home run. After Paul Phillips singled a couple of hitters later, Zach Miner was removed from the game. Later in the inning, Joey Gathright singled to left field with two outs to drive in two runs. The Tigers never recovered after that.

Ambiorix Burgos pitched about as poorly as expected in his only start of the season. He gave up four runs, six hits, and a walk in 2.2 innings. Only one of this runs were earned (thanks to Esteban German's error), but he still threw 59 pitches and couldn't even get out of the third inning. Thankfully Todd Wellemeyer was able to throw four innings in middle relief to keep the Tigers in check.

 We head into the final game of the regular season this afternoon. And it's a game the Tigers desperately need to win. Odalis Perez (6-8, 5.91) goes against Jeremy Bonderman (14-8, 3.99).

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