03/02/12 7:25 PM EST
Defensive highlights aplenty at Royals camp
By Dick Kaegel / MLB.com
Center fielder Lorenzo Cain flew through space to snag Derrick Robinson's drive to end the White team's fourth inning. In the White sixth, left fielder Wil Myers dove at the warning track to grab Cody Clark's liner to end the inning. In the fourth, shortstop Alcides Escobar left his feet to snare a line drive by Cain.
"Escobar was really good at short. I thought [Yuniesky Betancourt] played well at second and at third, which was encouraging," manager Ned Yost said.
Myers, a converted catcher, has been playing mostly right field, but he can play either corner.
"We just want to give him some big league at-bats and some exposure up here and he can do it in both fields," Yost said.
Myers was 0-for-2 with a walk in the two intrasquad games.
Royals' last intrasquad game a pitching affair
SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Except for Joakim Soria, the pitchers were definitely in control of Friday's intrasquad game at Royals camp.
Soria gave up the game's only three runs and five hits to the White team in his two-thirds inning of work in the six-inning game.
"The thing that Jack was doing a little bit was rushing his delivery, not letting his arm catch up, but that's something that Dave [Eiland, pitching coach] and [bullpen coach] Steve Foster recognized real quick. That's just a slight mechanical adjustment, and he'll be fine," manager Ned Yost said.
Starting pitchers Bruce Chen and Luke Hochevar each looked sharp in Yost's opinion. Chen got three quick outs, then was told to stay on the mound to get more work and gave up a walk and a single. Hochevar got a tap back to the mound and a strikeout before Billy Butler fouled off several pitches (one on a quick pitch from the sneaky Hochevar) and then bounced a single to left.
Others who got through their innings without a run scoring were Aaron Crow, Zach Miner, Chris Dwyer, Francisley Bueno, Danny Duffy, Greg Holland, Jake Odorizzi, Brandon Sisk and Noel Arguelles. Dwyer got a special word of approval from Yost after retiring all four batters he faced.
Jeffress apologizes for January arrest
SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Royals pitcher Jeremy Jeffress issued an apology on Friday as
a result of his arrest on Jan. 4 in Surprise in a domestic assault incident.
The Kansas City Star reported on Friday that Jeffress acknowledged that he was arrested on three charges: assault, criminal damage and disorderly conduct. The first two charges were dismissed on Jan. 24 in Surprise Municipal Court, and he was sentenced to serve 20 hours of community service for the disorderly conduct charge and required to attend a domestic violence counseling class.
Jeffress issued the following statement through the Royals:
"There was an argument between myself and my girlfriend and I lost my temper, but I never put my hands on her. My mom and dad raised me to never do something like that. A call was placed to the authorities due to property damage, and in the state of Arizona, once the police are called, you have to go through booking. We live and learn through life. Two charges were dropped, and for the third charge, I'm currently doing community service and must attend a domestic violence class in any city during the course of this year. Being in jail is not me. I've seen friends and family members lose everything over one phone call.
"I apologize to the people of Kansas City, the Glass family, Dayton Moore, Ned Yost and my peers. There are consequences in what you do or say. I've disappointed my family and the name on the back of my jersey. I just want to make it clear this is not me."
The Royals did not indicate if Jeffress would be disciplined internally, but Moore issued this statement:
"We've spoken to all parties, including local law enforcement officials, and we stand behind Jeremy at this point based on the information we have received. Jeremy has a good heart, and we understand and appreciate he's trying to manage his personal life in a more honorable way."
Jeffress, obtained from the Milwaukee Brewers in the Zack Greinke trade, began last season with the Royals, but finished the year in the Minors. He's trying to make this year's club in a relief role, although he made 11 starts in 25 of his Minor League games last year. For the Royals, he made 14 relief appearances and was 1-1 with a 4.70 ERA.
While in the Brewers' system, Jeffress twice received suspensions, one for 50 games and another for 100 games, for violation of the Minor League Drug Treatment and Prevention Program, which he has acknowledged was for marijuana use. Another infraction will result in a lifetime ban from baseball.
Pena shows rare speedy side of himself
SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Catcher Brayan Pena has exactly zero triples in his 672 Major League at-bats. But he got one to trigger the White's 3-0 victory over the Blue in Friday's Royals intrasquad game.
Pena drilled a line drive down the right-field line against closer Joakim Soria to score both Clint Robinson and Alcides Escobar, who had singled. Then Pena scored on Johnny Giavotella's single.
"I've been working with [hitting coach Kevin] Seitzer a lot, trying to get on top of the baseball. That way the baseball gives me that backspin and I've been doing pretty good in BP and hopefully I can take that to the game," Pena said.
Pena indicated he's feeling very strong this year, unlike in some previous camps when he spent the winter shedding weight.
"It's not the same when you have to lose 25 pounds and come to Spring Training. Right now, I'm just maintaining myself, trying to polish myself, because I didn't have to lose that many pounds during the offseason," Pena said. "I feel good. Every day, I come here at 6 o'clock in the morning, do an hour cardio and keep trying to eat healthy. And my legs today responded pretty good."
Pina back in camp after knee surgery
SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Catcher Manny Pina is back in the Royals' camp after undergoing surgery on his right knee to repair a torn meniscus on Monday in Kansas City.
"In eight to nine weeks, I'll be ready for a game," Pina said. "In four weeks, they take away the cane, the brace, and I can start to run a little bit."
Pina was set to challenge Brayan Pena for the role of Salvador Perez's backup, but he was injured in batting practice on Feb. 22.
Dick Kaegel is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.