3/23/2014 9:58 P.M. ET
Royals unhappy Ventura forced to bat vs. Giants
By Dick Kaegel / MLB.com
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Yordano Ventura became the first Royals pitcher to go to bat in the Cactus League this year. So why did manager Ned Yost let him hit in Sunday's 13-9 loss to the Giants?
"The Giants are making him hit; I'm not letting him hit," Yost said before the game. "They want to play a National League game and you have to get [their] permission."
Yost was not thrilled about doing without the designated hitter. Not only have his pitchers not batted, they haven't practiced baserunning either.
"I don't understand it, I can't grasp the concept of it. ... It's Spring Training," Yost said, although he admitted he thought much the same way when he was in the NL with Atlanta and Milwaukee.
"Cincinnati called the other day and they wanted to play a National League game, too. I said, 'Look, I've got my No. 1 starter [James Shields] on the mound and he hasn't even looked at a bat,' and they said, 'OK, fine.'"
The Giants weren't so accommodating.
"So we'll put him at the back of the box, put the shoulder on his bat," Yost said.
When Ventura batted in the second inning with two out and a runner at third, Giants pitcher Tim Lincecum threw a called ball, then three straight strikes that Ventura merely watched zip past. The inning was over.
Next time up, with two out and two on, Ventura gazed as three straight strikes were called. Inning over.
"Once the season starts," Yost said, "we're six weeks away from Interleague, and a month out we'll start taking a lot of batting practice with the starters and a lot of bunting practice, but we haven't done it to this point."
Anyway, the rest of the Royals weren't keeping the bats on their shoulders. They pounded out 13 hits, including a solo homer by Salvador Perez and a three-run shot by Jason Donald. Both came off Lincecum, who gave up seven runs.
Ventura adjusts, has strong start vs. Giants
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Yordano Ventura might not have been at his best but he gave up just one run in five eventful innings in the Royals' 13-9 loss to the Giants on Sunday.
"I threw the ball fine. My shoulder was a little bit open and [pitching coach] Dave Eiland told me to close it, get on line and throw the ball down," Ventura said.
In his five innings, Ventura gave up five hits and three walks and hit a batter. In the fourth, the Giants loaded the bases with one out but he escaped with back-to-back strikeouts.
"I thought he was great," manager Ned Yost said. "Yo gives up one run in five innings and the bullpen gives up 12 in the last [three] so it was one of those days."
Ventura, who'll start the season's third game at Detroit, has a 1.77 ERA in the Cactus League.
"Yordano was pretty good," said catcher Salvador Perez. "The first two innings he was trying to do too much and was opening his shoulder too quick to home plate. We told him to stay on line and keep the ball down a little bit. I think he didn't feel all that good but he pitched really well."
In fact, a Giants radar gun clocked one of his pitches at 102 mph.
Ventura got in plenty of work in his five innings, throwing 91 or 92 pitches, which according to Yost was "right where we wanted" his count.
On the other hand ...
"It wasn't a good day for the bullpen," Yost said.
Louis Coleman, who replaced Ventura, was charged with six runs on three hits, including a homer, and three walks and got just one out. Aaron Crow finished the inning but not before giving up a pair of two-run hits.
"That was the best stuff Louie's had all spring but he just couldn't command any of it. Best slider I've seen. But no command," Yost said. "Crow was not great."
Wade Davis and Greg Holland each gave up two runs in one inning.
Dick Kaegel is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.