Tuesday, March 18, 2008

ST Game #19

Game Date: March 17, 2008
A's 6, Royals 2 / Box Score
Royals Spring Training Record: 10-9

Mike Sweeney took his first at bats against his former team yesterday, but before all that he hugged a lot of former teammates--something you'd expect if you've followed Sweeney for any length of time. The first guy he hugged? Billy Butler. The guy who took his spot on the roster. Says a lot about who Sweeney is.

Here's something else that says a lot about who he is:

"I really miss the guys," Sweeney said. "I was talking to [Mark] Teahen today, and I said, 'How's it going over there?' He said, 'Oh, it's going great, but sometimes I'll look around and want to get some advice from you, and you're not around.'

"I looked him in the eye and I said, 'Well, you know what that means -- it's your time to lead.'"

One can only hope that Teahen does indeed become the type of leader that Mike Sweeney was in the clubhouse.

On to the game...

If Brian Bannister is nothing else, he's confident. He gave up three earned runs yesterday on six hits (four of which were doubles) in five innings, which actually dropped his ERA this spring to 8.49. He's not concerned in the least: "My arm strength continues to get better every outing. My fastball had much more life on it today. I was able to get it down better. That's going to continue to increase over the next two weeks."

In a minor league game, Kyle Davies and Luke Hochevar each pitched four scoreless innings. If I had to guess, they will be the number four and five guys in the rotation to start the season. Mike Maroth has been eliminated from consideration for the rotation--at least for now. So this list continues to dwindle.

Ron Mahay got knocked around again yesterday against the A's. He gave up two more earned runs on one hit and three walks in just a third of an inning. His ERA is 8.44. He'll probably still make the roster, but I'm guessing he'll be on a short leash.

The Royals didn't do much at the plate. Joey Gathright and Tony Pena had two hits apiece. Mike Aviles and Alex Gordon drove in one run apiece. And the Royals managed just six hits and two walks for the day.

John Bale gets the start for the Royals today, hoping to keep his shot at the rotation alive. He'll go against Jason Marquis of the Cubs in Mesa.

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