2/26/2013 4:30 P.M. ET
Ramirez bring options, value with big bat
By Dick Kaegel / MLB.com
GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- Max Ramirez's ability to hit probably isn't enough for him to fit into the Royals' plans, at least not right now.
Ramirez, a muscular right-handed hitter, made his presence known with a grand slam in a 16-4 romp over the D-backs on Monday. Last year he was a .300 hitter with 17 homers for Triple-A Omaha as a designated hitter (58 games), catcher (39 games) and first baseman (11 games).
Those roles in Kansas City, of course, are filled by Billy Butler, Salvador Perez and Eric Hosmer. But, in case of an emergency, who knows?
"He's not just limited to behind the plate, he can play some first base," manager Ned Yost said. "He's probably a third-string catcher, but with his bat, he's got a ton of value as a guy who could help us somewhere over this year."
Ramirez hit his slam off D-backs left-hander Steve Garrison, a drive to deep center field, and Adam Moore followed with another long blast to center.
"Everybody says that Moore's was a little more, a little farther than mine," Ramirez said, chuckling. "The wind was blowing out when he did it."
Ramirez, 28, is continuing to work on sharpening his defensive skills at first base, which he hasn't played all that often.
"But he can really hit and he can especially hit left-handed pitching," Yost said.
Starters to go two innings, except Shields
SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Wade Davis pitched two innings in his first start on Tuesday, and that's the plan for the rest of the Royals' top starters this week -- except for James Shields.
Shields, who'll pitch on Thursday against San Diego, will pitch just one inning at his request. The No. 1 starter feels that that works best for him, manager Ned Yost said.
"We have now a group of veteran pitchers that understand their bodies, understand what it takes to be ready for Opening Day," Yost said. "We consult with them and ask and get their feelings on it, too."
Paulino joins Duffy in taking steps back to mound
SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Pitcher Felipe Paulino threw off the mound on Tuesday morning for the first time since undergoing Tommy John surgery on July 3. He threw 20 pitches, all fastballs.
"First time on the mound, you're so glad to be there after all the work you've gone through. To throw 20 fastballs is a pretty exciting feeling," Royals manager Ned Yost said. "It's a big step for Paulino, after all the hard work."
Danny Duffy, who underwent Tommy John surgery prior to Paulino on June 13 , has thrown several times in camp, and joined Paulino in throwing a side session. He was ecstatic afterward.
"I'm ready to pitch!" Duffy said.
Not so fast. He's not expected back until around the All-Star break.
"He looked unbelievable," Yost said. "He's pretty close. I watched the side and told him, 'Just take it slow.' But his side session was very good."
Duffy threw about 30 pitches and likely will begin throwing breaking balls in his next session.
Left-hander George Sherrill, a non-roster reliever who had Tommy John last May 4, also threw and did well, mixing in some changeups.
Gordon expected back in lineup Wednesday
SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Left fielder Alex Gordon, who missed the last two games because of back stiffness, is expected to be in the Royals' lineup on Wednesday against the Brewers.
"[Manager Ned Yost] just wanted to give me one more day because we're going on the road for the first time. I should be ready to go tomorrow," Gordon said.
Gordon was scratched from Monday's game after the morning stretch.
"It happened just out of the blue. Right after stretch, it locked up on me," Gordon said.
Yost said he also expected center fielder Lorenzo Cain to be in Wednesday's lineup. He has missed all five games because of a strained right hand.
Butler continues to produce runs in spring
GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- So far Billy Butler is looking very much like, well, Billy Butler.
For the second straight game, Butler drove in three runs, and this time cracked a home run in the Royals' 4-1 victory over the Indians. The home run came in the fifth against Giovanni Soto, a left-hander.
"I missed a couple pitches earlier over-swinging on that at-bat," Butler said. "Then I calmed down and took a normal two-strike swing."
The 3-2 pitch wound up in the left-field bullpen.
That gives Butler a .400 (4-for-10) average with six RBIs in four games.
"Billy hits the ball," manager Ned Yost said. "It doesn't matter if it's early, late, spring -- it doesn't matter. Billy just hits the ball. He's just that type of player."
All his hits and RBIs have come in the last two days.
Butler had ample help against the Indians. Eric Hosmer walked twice, scored twice and had a run-scoring triple. Jarrod Dyson singled, walked twice, stole two bases and scored a run.
"We're looking for Dice to get on base so he can create some havoc and confusion out there and make the pitchers and the defense on their toes and take their focus off what's going on at the plate," Yost said. "That's what he does best."
Reliever Joseph strikes out the side again
GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- Left-hander Donnie Joseph is making quite an impact so far in the Royals' camp.
"Donnie Joseph has yet to face a guy he hasn't struck out all spring," manager Ned Yost pointed out. "Pretty impressive."
Indeed, Joseph struck out the side in the Indians' fifth on Tuesday, dispensing the three batters on the minimum nine pitches. He had fanned all three Rangers he faced on Saturday, throwing 15 pitches.
Joseph, obtained from the Cincinnati organization last year in the trade that sent reliever Jonathan Broxton to the Reds, has piled up a lot of strikeouts in his four Minor League seasons -- 298 in 225 1/3 innings. He has issued 99 walks.
Dick Kaegel is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.