Friday, March 07, 2008

ST Game #8

Game Date: March 6, 2008
Royals 4, Diamondbacks 3 / Box Score
Royals Spring Training Record: 5-3

It's only March, but I'm beginning to become a Trey Hillman fan already. You've probably heard about the meeting he held at home plate yesterday with the players right after Ryan Shealy hit a walk-off home run to win the game. According to Shealy, here's what the meeting was about: "He [Hillman] said he didn't think, as a team, we were running the bases as hard as he'd like so he just wanted to address it before it became an issue, I guess. I think it was more [about] an effort thing than stupid base-running."

As a Royals fan I've seen a lot of bad baseball over the last ten years, some of it I've accepted, some of it I have not, but the one thing that bugs me more than anything else is to see guys trotting around the bases--especially up the first base line. So many good things can happen when a player hustles down the first base line. He can beat out a poor throw. He can force a bad throw. He can beat out a bobble. He can force a bobble. He can also set an example for the rest of the team and maybe even ignite a spark among some of his teammates.

I love the fact that Hillman was willing to risk embarrassing the team yesterday, even though they won, because he saw a lack of hustle. I just hope he backs it up in the regular season by removing guys who don't play hard.

And now, onto the game itself...

Zack Greinke got hit around pretty good. He gave up three earned runs on five hits in just three innings. He doesn't sound concerned about, and at this point in Spring Training, I don't blame him: "This time it wasn't me pitching real badly. They hit some pretty good pitches. I broke two bats, and there was a good piece of hitting by (Orlando) Hudson." Hudson had a two-run single in the second inning.

Joakim Soria pitched two scoreless innings and had three strikeouts. Leo Nunez also pitched two scoreless innings. Yasuhiko Yabuta settled down and threw a scoreless inning. So did Carlos Rosa.

At the plate, Billy Butler already appears to be ready to go. He was 3-for-3 with 2 RBI and a home run. Ross Gload was 2-for-3. And I've already mentioned that Ryan Shealy hit the big home run in the ninth inning to win the game. Nice to see him being a factor again.

In the field, I'm a little concerned about Tony Pena. He made this third error of the spring already when he booted a routine grounder by Eric Byrnes. He's got a lot of time to work out the kinks though.

We have a couple of guys who are ailing. Mark Teahen missed batting practice again with a sore forearm. He's not expected to play today. Mike Maroth has yet to make his spring debut due to tightness in his shoulder, but he did throw live batting practice.

Mark Grudzielanek will see his first action of the spring this afternoon. Brian Bannister goes up against Aaron Cook of the Rockies. Kyle Davies is expected to follow Bannister on the mound.

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