SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Left-hander Will Smith might face a tough challenge for the Royals' No. 5 starting job, but he certainly did not hurt himself Friday.
Smith started against Texas and pitched two perfect innings in a 5-5 tie with the Rangers in the Cactus League opener at Surprise Stadium. The Rangers got just one ball out of the infield against Smith, and he notched one strikeout, getting David Murphy.
"I felt good out there," Smith said. "Dave [Eiland, pitching coach] gave me something in the offseason to go home and work on, so I took it and worked hard with it. I feel comfortable out there with my delivery now. I'm slowing the game down. I'm happy with it."
The goal, he said, was to stay back more in his delivery.
"I get a little too excited and start rushing, so I stay back and break my hands, and it helps me get downhill, to the bottom of the strike zone better," Smith said.
The Royals also got a two-inning look at one of their top pitching prospects, right-hander Yordano Ventura. He worked a scoreless third inning, with catcher Salvador Perez throwing out a base-stealer, but gave up a two-run homer to Nelson Cruz in the fourth.
"I thought his first inning was very good," manager Ned Yost said of Ventura. "His second inning he got a little inconsistent with his command. His stuff was phenomenal, very electric."
Blaine Boyer, a non-roster right-hander, gave up a two-run homer to Yangervis Solarte with two outs in the ninth to create the tie. The Rangers' other run came off Sugar Ray Marimon. Justin Marks, Nate Adcock and Michael Mariot each pitched a scoreless inning.
Moore has Royals' first homer of Cactus League play
SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Adam Moore, a non-roster catcher, cracked the Royals' first home run of the Cactus League season Friday.
Moore led off the fifth inning with a blast over the left-field bullpen against Rangers right-hander Alexi Ogando in the 5-5 tie. Moore was the designated hitter but is vying with Brett Hayes and George Kottaras to be catcher Salvador Perez's backup.
"It is what it is, and you've just got to go out there and compete every day," Moore said. "There are three of us, four of us, a lot of us in camp battling for the backup job, and all you can do is do your best."
Moore, who also singled in the sixth, was one of four Royals with two hits; Alcides Escobar, David Lough and Jarrod Dyson had two singles each. Dyson punched a single to center against lefty starter Derek Holland and bunted safely off Ogando.
"I feel pretty good," Dyson said. "Day 1 I've got to try to play my game, facing a tough lefty kinda gassin' it up. Saw a couple pitches, and he threw me a breaking ball, I stayed behind it. The second one was like a sac bunt, but I was trying to bunt for a base hit. Worse-case scenario, I'd get a sac and move the runner. Overall it was a pretty productive day."
Elliot Johnson, being eyed as a backup infielder, replaced Escobar at shortstop and made a diving stop of Konrad Schmidt's hot grounder in the seventh.
Royals announce tentative schedule for top starters
SURPRISE, Ariz. -- The Royals will be rolling out their starting pitchers next week.
The tentative schedule has Wade Davis pitching Tuesday against Cleveland; Luke Hochevar and Bruce Chen on Wednesday against Milwaukee; James Shields on Thursday against San Diego; Ervin Santana on Friday against Cincinnati; and Jeremy Guthrie on Saturday against San Francisco.
Because of a longer Spring Training schedule that accommodates the World Baseball Classic, manager Ned Yost decided to hold back his top starters until the fifth Cactus League game.
He is doing the same thing with most of his front-line relievers, although Kelvin Herrera and Tim Collins are to pitch in the third game against Texas. That's to help them prepare for the Classic; Herrera is on the Dominican Republic roster; Collins on the USA roster.
Similarly, rotation candidate Luis Mendoza will start Sunday against Texas because he is on the Mexico roster. Mendoza threw 107 pitches recently in the Caribbean Series, so he will make 60 to 70 pitches Sunday.
Other Royals on the final Classic rosters are catcher Salvador Perez, Venezuela; pitcher Atahualpa Severino and infielder Miguel Tejada, Dominican Republic; infielder Irving Falu, Puerto Rico; and outfielder Paulo Orlando, Brazil.
Yost progressing in recovery from surgery
SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Royals manager Ned Yost is getting back into form following removal of his gall bladder Tuesday.
"I'm just about there. I'm getting off the pain medicine now, so I'm naturally a little more sore than I was, but I don't need that as much anymore," he said. "I'm glad I got it done; I'm feeling good. I think we're out of the woods."
A typically feisty Yost did some sparring with reporters Friday morning, testing them with one-word answers. After a bit of repartee, Yost started laughing. Big mistake.
"Look, it hurts me still to laugh, boys, please," he said, grimacing. So he got serious and began giving multiple-word answers.
Royals golf tournament is lighthearted
SURPRISE, Ariz. -- The highlight of Thursday's golf tournament for Royals players?
"Probably Miguel Tejada hitting an exploding golf ball," organizer Jeff Francoeur said. "We set him up. The first golf ball he ever hit, and it exploded. He freaked out; he didn't know what to do. It was unreal."
The winning team in the scramble comprised Xavier Nady, Brett Hayes, Brandon Wood and Wade Davis.
Francoeur's team, which included Louis Coleman, Kelvin Herrera and Felipe Paulino, finished last.
"Coleman played worse than I thought he would, and Paulino and Herrera had never played," Francoeur said. "But it was a good time; everybody had a lot of fun."
Dick Kaegel is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.