2/13/2014 6:15 P.M. ET
Royals laud retiring Jeter for professionalism
By Dick Kaegel / MLB.com
SURPRISE, Ariz. -- The Royals continued to join in paying tribute to the Yankees' Derek Jeter, who'll retire after the coming season.
"He's the ultimate professional. He kind of set the tone for our era -- how the game's supposed to be played," right-hander Luke Hochevar said. "His professionalism, he's a class act on and off the field, and he sets a good example for younger players.
"I think the impact that he's made on this game has been bigger than any of us probably understand. He's the epitome of a professional."
Left fielder Alex Gordon struck a similar theme.
"He's someone for every young guy to look up to, how to carry himself and how to play the game, and how to deal with success the way he has," Gordon said.
"I mean, if you talk about the consummate professional, just how to act around the game, that's who you look at. He's respected by every single guy around Major League Baseball. We're all fans of him. I've got a signed jersey from him down in my basement. He's quite the pro."
Hochevar, who's faced Jeter nine times and given up three hits, had another thought.
"He's a tough out, too," Hochevar said with a smile, "and he plays great defense."
Holland open to adding more years with KC
SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Greg Holland and the Royals agreed on a one-year contract for $4.675 million but the closer said he wouldn't mind discussing a longer-term deal with the club.
"That's a dream for every player and I'd definitely be open to that," Holland said.
But he's not obsessed with the idea, either.
"Right now, I'm just happy to play baseball," Holland said. "I'm just excited that we got it done and avoided arbitration. I felt both sides felt like the deal was fair. I'm not worried about anything right now except going out there and preparing myself for the start of the season."
Holland got a raise of more than $4 million over last year's salary -- so how did he celebrate on Wednesday night?
"I grilled out with my brother and my wife, and that was about it," he said. "I'm not going to Vegas or anything, I just keep it low-key. I went to bed at 10 o'clock, got up, and came to the yard ready to work."
Herrera uses break to sharpen his curveball
SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Hard-throwing right-hander Kelvin Herrera made three starts in his five appearances for Escogido in the Dominican Winter League.
That was just an effort to give the reliever some multiple-inning outings so he could refine his pitches, primarily his curveball.
"I was working on a breaking ball, my curve," he said. "It was pretty good and I'm still working on it, getting better on that pitch. I'm going to have three pitches this year -- changeup, breaking ball and fastball."
The curve must have worked pretty well because Herrera gave up just two earned runs in 9 1/3 innings, while registering 14 strikeouts.
Now, Herrera can turn his attention to improving on his up-and-down 2013 season for the Royals.
"We're going to play hard this year and we're going to try to win our [American League Central] division," Herrera said. "We've got a pretty good group of guys, everything's good in the clubhouse and that's the most important part because you've got to be good teammates, and we are that."
Dick Kaegel is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.