03/28/2013 1:53 AM ET
Nady provides versatility, right-handed power bat
By Dick Kaegel / MLB.com
SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Xavier Nady's return under a Minor League contract gives the Royals a possible right-handed power source at the corners of the outfield or infield.
Nady, 34, will start the season with Triple-A Omaha and will be one of several players who'll move between positions as the Royals put more emphasis on versatility.
"We like Nady because he's a multiple position guy, a right-handed bat with power that can play first and third," manager Ned Yost said.
He could provide a right-handed alternative to the left-handed-hitting regulars at those spots, Eric Hosmer and Mike Moustakas. Nady has even more experience in the outfield, either right or left.
He won't be the only player switching positions for Omaha.
"Everybody's going move around," Yost said. "Like even with Gio [Johnny Giavotella]. He's going to play some second, some third, some outfield."
The idea is to provide more strategic options.
"Versatility is important," Yost said. "You look at us and it opens up a whole new realm of possibilities."
At the Major League level, he sees the versatility value of backup players Elliot Johnson and Miguel Tejada. That will enable Yost to utilize swift Jarrod Dyson as a late-inning pinch-runner for almost anyone in his lineup.
"Because I've [got] Elliot Johnson that can play anywhere in the outfield, anywhere in the infield, I've got Tejada that can play just about anywhere in the infield so I don't feel like I'm losing defensive coverage because I've got to pinch-run somebody to take a chance to win a ballgame in the ninth," Yost said.
"I can use Dyson [as a pinch-runner] and then [have] the ability to put a defender in the field, and I don't feel like we're going to lessen our defense if it doesn't work out."
Shields pleased with progress in final spring outing
SURPRISE, Ariz. -- After giving up nine runs on 11 hits in his previous start, James Shields took some corrective measures.
"Obviously, sometimes you get hit around a little bit in Spring Training but I wanted to end strong," Shields said. "I worked really hard with Dave [Eiland, pitching coach] in the bullpen between these starts and it was good news. I translated it right into the game, so it was good."
Shields held the Cubs to two runs on three hits in his five-inning stint in the Royals' 10-inning, 9-9 split-squad tie on Wednesday night. The adjustment was relatively simple.
"Just my direction to the plate," Shields said. "I felt I was missing by about 6 inches in my last game and the reason was because I was coming out of my delivery a little bit, but we fixed that real quick and got that back right on track."
Shields left no doubt that he was stoked about Monday's season opener at Chicago against the White Sox.
"I'm excited, man, it's the first day of baseball. I think all the fans are excited, I think we're excited here," he said. "As long as Spring Training has been, I think our team is ready to go and one of the things I'm most proud of is the way we handled ourselves in the clubhouse and translated our attitude in the clubhouse out onto the field. I think that's one of the reasons we won so many games in Spring Training and hopefully we can translate that into the season."
Six-hit night as good as it gets for Getz
SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Chris Getz thought perhaps he'd had six hits one time in college -- but in a doubleheader.
On Wednesday night, Getz went a perfect 6-for-6 in a single 10-inning game, a 9-9 Cactus League tie with the Cubs.
"Obviously, I'd much rather it'd be an official game, but I felt good from the first at-bat on," Getz said. "I've been feeling good for a while now and to get results, that's rewarding. It was a fun night and it's too bad we couldn't pull off the 'W' but it certainly helps confidence for me going into the year."
Getz earlier won the second-base job in a duel with Johnny Giavotella and his big night at the plate gives him a .450 (27-for-60) spring average.
He led off the 10th with his sixth hit, a single, but refrained from attempting a steal with Billy Butler at the plate.
"With the lefty [pitcher Jeff Antigua] and Billy and the middle of the order up, I didn't want to create too many issues," he said. "Too bad we couldn't pull it off."
Butler rolled into a double play and Mike Moustakas fanned to end the game in a tie. The Royals had seen an 8-2 lead disappear.
"We haven't had too many games like that but it's probably a good thing to experience that now because stuff like that certainly is going to happen during the year," Getz said.
"It just shows you've got to battle through nine, if not more. We have had such a great spring but there will be adversity throughout the year so we certainly need to be prepared for it and work through it."
The split-squad tie and an afternoon loss to the Brewers left the Royals' record at 23-7-2 with two games remaining.
Falu sent to Triple-A in latest round of roster cuts
SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Elliot Johnson and Miguel Tejada will be the Royals' backup infielders when the season opens Monday at Chicago.
That was confirmed when infielder Irving Falu was optioned to Triple-A Omaha after Wednesday's first split-squad game.
The candidates for the final bullpen spot were also pared down when left-handers Francisley Bueno and Atahualpa Severino were cut. Bueno was optioned to Omaha and Severino was reassigned to Minor League camp.
Johnson has the ability to play every infield and outfield position. He was obtained as the player to be named in the offseason deal with Tampa Bay that brought starting pitchers James Shields and Wade Davis to the Royals.
Tejada, the American League's Most Valuable Player in 2002 with Oakland, can play all four infield positions. At 38, he'll be the oldest player on the roster and the most experienced with more than 15 years of service time.
Jarrod Dyson will be the fourth outfielder. Still to be decided is the backup catcher, either Brett Hayes or George Kottaras.
Still in competition for the bullpen are Louis Coleman, J.C. Gutierrez and Dan Wheeler.
Royals re-sign Sherrill, Nady to Minor League deals
SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Left-handed reliever George Sherrill and right-handed slugger Xavier Nady might be in the Royals' future after all.
Both players, who had been released on Monday, were re-signed to Minor League contracts on Wednesday. The move saved the Royals a $100,000 "retention bonus" on each player, based on a new rule in the latest Basic Agreement. They could've signed elsewhere, but both opted to return to the Royals.
Sherrill, 35, made his biggest mark as an All-Star closer with the Orioles, and also has pitched for the Mariners, Dodgers and Braves. He underwent Tommy John surgery last May 4 and has been throwing with Royals starters Felipe Paulino and Danny Duffy, who underwent that procedure also last year.
"It's coming along pretty good. It's a little erratic at times, but I've been told that's what to expect. It seems to be bouncing back pretty well," Sherrill said. "I'd say I'm somewhere about 80 or 85 percent, so I think I'm staying back here [in Arizona] a little bit and go from there, I guess. I've got one more live BP tomorrow, then throw in some extended spring training games and take it from there."
Sherrill has made 442 relief appearances in the Majors with 56 saves, a 19-17 record and a 3.77 ERA.
"He's a funky lefty, and we need one," manager Ned Yost said. "I'm anxious for him to get back, but I'm not to the point where I want to push him or anything like that."
Hosmer to start in right to prepare for Interleague Play
SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Interleague Play and National League rules will be on the Royals early this year because of the revised schedule caused by Houston's move into the American League.
The Royals will play at Philadelphia in their second series of the season and, with that in mind, manager Ned Yost plans to use first baseman Eric Hosmer in right field in Thursday's Cactus League game against the Reds.
That would give Yost the option of keeping both Billy Butler, his AL designated hitter, and Hosmer in the lineup. Butler could take over first base with Hosmer moving to right, a left-handed bat replacing right-handed Jeff Francoeur.
At this point, Yost has made no decisions and, of course, the opposing pitcher will make a difference.
"I'm playing Hoz in right field tomorrow," Yost said. "We'll see. Frenchy can start the year, and [perhaps] he's the hottest player we've got. I'm not taking him out. If we're facing lefties, Billy could play and we could have Hoz come off the bench. I don't know what we're doing yet."
Hosmer started two games in right field last year at Pittsburgh.
Joseph optioned to Triple-A Omaha
SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Left-hander Donnie Joseph's bid to join the Royals' bullpen is over for now. He was optioned to Triple-A Omaha on Wednesday.
"Big promise," Royals manager Ned Yost said. "He needs to continue to refine his command a little bit, but I like the fact that he's funky, he's got deception, he's got a nice slider that's hard for lefties to hit."
In 10 games, Joseph posted a 1.80 ERA and rang up 14 strikeouts in 10 innings. He gave up three hits, three walks and two runs, and opponents hit .086 against him.
The Royals also announced the acquisition of Minor League outfielder Desmond Henry from Texas, completing the trade on Nov. 8 that sent pitcher Tommy Hottovy to the Rangers. Henry, 19, has played just 25 games of Rookie ball the last two years.
• A moment of silence was observed in memory of Royals Minor League pitcher Carlos Fortuna prior to Wednesday night's game against the Cubs.
Fortuna, 22, passed away on Sunday in the Dominican Republic after a three-year battle against cancer. He played in the Royals' organization in the Dominican, Surprise and Burlington, N.C., from 2007-09.
Dick Kaegel is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.