3/2/2013 7:07 P.M. ET
Yost 'very pleased' with Royals' spring start
By Dick Kaegel / MLB.com
SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Being the only undefeated team in Spring Training going into Saturday's play isn't something that Royals manager Ned Yost likes to dwell on -- the games don't count, after all.
There are some statistics, though, that please him. Before their game against the Giants, the Royals were leading the Majors in batting with a .336 average and 98 hits in eight games, and their pitchers had the second-best ERA (3.00) and the lowest batting average against (.220).
"I've been very pleased with the way we've been swinging the bats, I've been pleased with our defense, I've been pleased with our pitching staff," Yost said. "Early in the spring, we've gone with a lot of our younger guys in camp, both on the pitching side and the position side -- the defensive side, the offensive side. I'm pleased with the way our camp's going so far."
The Royals waited until the fifth Cactus League game to start mixing in their top starters and relievers.
"A couple of days ago, we started putting our main starters in there but, for the most part, most of the pitching was done by our young guys. So it's been good all around," Yost said.
Another big plus: the lack of major injuries.
"The thing that you're happiest about -- and you keep your fingers crossed -- is that everybody feels good and everybody's healthy," he said.
Moustakas, Hosmer feeling good this spring
SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Mike Moustakas and Eric Hosmer are old pals with adjacent lockers and, after both whacked home runs in Saturday's 9-5 victory over a Giants split-squad, they conducted a dual interview in the Royals' clubhouse.
Appropriate. The infield corners who both came up during the 2011 season are, like their 8-0-1 team, burning up the Cactus League. Moustakas is hitting .563 and Hosmer, after a 3-for-3 day, is at .471.
"It's still early in spring, I'm still trying to find things here and there, tweaking with it," Moustakas told reporters, "but, yeah, we're playing good as a team and everything's rolling pretty good so far."
While Hosmer put stuff in his locker, Moustakas was asked about his buddy's hitting.
"You guys are watching it. It's pretty fantastic right now. When Hoz gets three hits, all to the left side of the diamond and one going out, that's a good sign for the Kansas City Royals," Moustakas said.
That true, Hoz?
"Well, maybe," Hosmer said. "That's the side of the field I want to stay on and, like Moose said, it's still early in the spring and the results honestly don't matter at this point. It's just based off feel, and the results were there and the feel was there, so it was a good day."
And, yes, it does feel different than last year when he struggled.
"Yeah, I'm laying off pitches I was swinging at last year and, for me, that's the biggest part," Hosmer said. "The discipline's there and I'm seeing the ball well and, for Spring Training, that's all you can ask for."
Hosmer also showed his opposite-field power.
"He's really balanced, his swing is shortened up to where he can drive balls," manager Ned Yost said. "He drove that last ball well over the left-field fence, and those doubles were smoked."
Hosmer, who now has a club-high seven RBIs, was wearing a black T-shirt that read: "Destroying ERAs since 1998."
"I'm going to start wearing this every day," he said.
Yost happy with Guthrie's first spring outing
SURPRISE, Ariz. -- When Jeremy Guthrie became the last of the Royals rotation's front four to make a start in Spring Training, he did something that Wade Davis, James Shields and Ervin Santana did not do.
He gave up runs.
Two of them, in fact, in the first of his two innings of work against the Giants on Saturday. After two singles, Hector Sanchez's triple scored both runners.
"If I could've got the ball down, they'd probably have all been ground balls to somebody instead of base hits to the outfield," Guthrie said. "So that's a small adjustment, hopefully, to keep it down."
Guthrie threw 36 pitches, mostly fastballs, and 31 were for strikes, although, as he pointed out, too many of them were high and hittable.
"I was pleased with Guthrie's outing," manager Ned Yost said. "He got through it, the pitches looked sharp. He got a couple pitches up that they hit but, for the first time out, I was very pleased."
Two pitchers headed for the World Baseball Classic each pitched one perfect inning in the 9-5 win. Tim Collins (USA) struck out the side in the fifth and Kelvin Herrera (Dominican Republic) had a strikeout and two infield outs in the sixth. And Luis Mendoza (Mexico) worked two scoreless innings, giving up two hits with two strikeouts.
Soria happy in new home, wishes Royals well
SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Joakim Soria was relaxing in the Texas clubhouse on Saturday morning, watching TV while waiting for a pre-workout card game to start. The former Royals closer looked quite at home with the Rangers.
"They treat me really good and everything is going smooth," Soria said.
Soria, his $8 million contract option for 2013 declined by the Royals, became a free agent and signed with the Rangers for $8 million over two years plus an option for 2015. He missed all of last season after undergoing Tommy John surgery at the end of Spring Training.
One factor favoring the Rangers was that Dallas is relatively close, a nine-hour drive, from his parents' home in Monclova, Mexico, and it likely means more family visits.
Soria's rehabilitation work is going well.
"I threw 45 pitches yesterday in the bullpen, and I expect to throw 45 again on Monday, with a changeup. Then I'll start throwing some breaking balls," he said. "And I've been feeling great."
This was the second time that Soria had the reconstructive elbow surgery.
"I know what to expect, I know how to pace myself throwing-wise, and I feel like I'm really close to going back," he said.
Soria wants to be ready for Major League competition by late May or early June. If that's the case, guess which team visits Texas on May 31-June 1-2? Yep, the Royals.
Although the Rangers and the Royals share the Surprise training complex, there's little interaction between the teams except when they play each other, and Soria hasn't seen much of his old teammates.
"I still have friends over there, I still have communications with them but I'm in a different jersey now. I'm a Texas Ranger and it's not fair to my new team for me to have something going on over there," Soria said.
"I loved Kansas City because they were great fans and they always were good to me, but now I've got a new club. That's the way baseball is, and I guess they understand that."
Soria knows the Royals well and kept up with their offseason moves.
"They have a really good team over there. They're young and they're talented and they want to get established in the Major Leagues," he said. "[New closer Greg] Holland did a great job last year and I just wish him the best; I wish whole team the best and I hope we see them in the playoffs."
Crow among five inked to 2013 deals by Royals
SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Five pitchers, including 2011 All-Star Aaron Crow, have signed 2013 contracts with the Royals. All players on the 40-man roster are now in the fold.
Crow agreed to a one-year deal for $1.28 million. He was coming off a three-year deal for $3 million plus incentives signed after he was drafted in 2009.
Also agreeing to terms were Luis Mendoza, $532,000; Louis Coleman, $511,000; Guillermo Moscoso, $504,250, and Francisley Bueno, $492,650.
Teaford hoping to see game action in one week
SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Left-hander Everett Teaford, who's supposed to be competing for a roster spot, was delayed by a sore shoulder but hopes to finally pitch in a game by Friday. He'll probably throw a batting-practice session on Tuesday, and he's eager to catch up.
"Especially since everybody is pitching so well," Teaford said. "I might be behind the 8-ball or I might be behind the 7-ball."
Infielder Elliot Johnson, out with a bruised shin after playing in five games, is expected to return Tuesday after Monday's open date.
Dick Kaegel is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.