03/01/2013 3:59 PM ET
Yost impressed as KC pitchers show top form
By Dick Kaegel / MLB.com
SURPRISE, Ariz. -- The Royals have a 3.00 ERA, the second-best team ERA in Spring Training, and manager Ned Yost was pleased with his pitching again on Friday, notably Ervin Santana's scoreless debut.
"I loved it, really good. Kept the ball down, good slider. Got through it. Two innings. Very happy with his day," Yost said.
Guillermo Moscoso, a candidate for starting or long relief, pitched two innings and hasn't allowed a run in four innings. Relievers Greg Holland and Aaron Crow made their first appearances and each gave up a solo homer in one inning.
"Moscoso I was very impressed with. I like him," Yost said. "I thought Crow and Holland both threw the ball good. Holly gave up a homer on a 3-0 fastball and Crow a first-pitch fastball. But I thought their stuff was very good and I'm glad they got through it."
Donnie Joseph, a left-hander, struck out the Reds' Jack Hannahan to extend his strikeout string to all seven batters he'd faced. Then ex-Royals farmhand Derrick Robinson dropped down a bunt single but was thrown out trying to steal. A flyout ended the inning.
"Seven straight strikeouts is pretty good," Yost said. "Donnie again had another excellent outing."
Contenders for roster roles come up big in win
SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Two guys battling for Royals jobs, Brett Hayes and Chris Getz, made their mark with home runs in Friday's 3-2 win over the Reds.
Hayes' solo shot in the eighth inning broke a 2-2 tie. Known primarily as a defensive catcher, Hayes is competing with George Kottaras and Adam Moore for a reserve role behind regular Salvador Perez.
"This is nothing new to me. I've been in this situation a number of times and I just enjoy coming out here and battling and fighting for a spot," Hayes said. "It's baseball, and we all like to compete so it's all fun."
Hayes is 3-for-9, .333, with two RBIs so far in the Cactus League.
"He's surprised me. He's swung the bat very well," manager Ned Yost said. "Like Kottaras has surprised me. He's supposed to be an offensive catcher and he's done really well behind the plate. So give credit to both those guys; they've both had a nice spring to this point."
So has Moore, who's also 3-for-9 but has two home runs. Kottaras is 4-for-9, .444 with a double and an RBI.
Getz crashed a home run to lead off the fifth inning against the Reds.
"We talked about last spring how he came to camp stronger than before and he came to camp this year stronger than he was last spring," Yost said. "It was surprising two years ago, I don't think it's so surprising now."
Getz has made a slight adjustment in his batting stance, widening his feet a bit and, according to Yost, getting "a little bounce in his swing." Getz worked on it with hitting coaches Jack Maloof and Andre David.
"All of us had a little powwow and started talking about stuff," Getz said. "I'm always kind of open-minded and willing to try anything. Sometimes some things feel good. Sometimes they don't. We fooled around with it in the cage and BP. It felt pretty good. I felt I might as well try it in the game and see how it goes. I was able to get a quick result. A positive result."
Getz is sparring with Johnny Giavotella for the second base spot. Getz, considered the defensive guy of the two, is 4-for-12 (.333) with two RBIs. Giavotella, the offensive guy, is right behind at 3-for-11 (.273) with three RBIs.
But, as Yost keeps reminding everyone, it's early. There are still 28 Spring Training games left.
Cain shows little rust with highlight play in center
SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Lorenzo Cain has been back from a hand injury for just three games, but he's obviously sharp in center field.
With the Royals clinging to a 3-2 lead in the ninth inning on Friday, Cain went deep into right center field and caught Ryan Ludwick's smash to start the inning.
"I thought it was going to go a little further. I had to stop, make an adjustment, get back in and make the play," Cain said. "That's what I'm trying to do, be a playmaker out there."
Cain bumped the wall near right fielder David Lough, then changed gears.
"I got back to the wall, then had to come back in a little bit. I slipped a little bit on the warning track. It's Arizona and it's a little dry. It felt kind of hard out there," Cain said.
Last year, in the fifth game of the season, Cain ran into the Oakland wall making a catch and sustained a leg injury. That, along with a subsequent injury during rehab, cost him the next 78 games. But Cain's determined that won't be a deterrent.
"I don't get worried. That's what I do. I run to the wall and try to make every play out there," he said.
Duffy, Paulino throw sessions with good results
SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Pitchers Danny Duffy and Felipe Paulino, graduates of Tommy John surgery, both threw in the Royals' camp on Thursday with good results.
"It went well, same as every time," Duffy said. "Thirty pitches, 10 changeups. Nothing really new, it feels really good."
Duffy has been throwing every other day.
"I'm on a program that should put me in competition, targeting mid-May," Duffy said. That likely would be games in extended Spring Training in Surprise.
"I feel really good, better than I have since high school," Duffy said.
Paulino, behind Duffy in their rehab programs, threw for the second time and again tossed 20 fastballs.
"All straight fastballs. The good thing right now is that I can hit my spot around in the zone," Paulino said. "My arm is responding well so everything is good."
Paulino will start throwing changeups next week. He expects to start throwing live batting practice in April and get into game competition in late May.
If all goes well, both pitchers could be ready for Major League competition around the All-Star break in mid-July.
Dick Kaegel is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.