3/30/2014 3:45 P.M. ET
Royals looking to buck recent Opening Day trend
By Dick Kaegel / MLB.com
DETROIT -- Gotta be honest, Opening Day has not given Royals fans much to celebrate the last five years. They've all been losses.
Just last year, there was a chiller -- in more ways than one -- in frosty Chicago, where Tyler Flowers' home run gave the White Sox a 1-0 victory. That was the only mistake that James Shields made all day. Trouble was, Sox starter Chris Sale didn't make any.
The Royals didn't score in 2012's opener at Anaheim, either, as Jered Weaver shut them down, 5-0. Royals starter Bruce Chen pitched six scoreless innings before being pulled. The Angels did all their damage against the bullpen, with a five-run eighth.
Weaver had warmed up for that by pitching 6 1/3 scoreless innings when the 2011 season opened in Kansas City. The Angels had a 4-0 lead when he left, and the Royals later got solo homers from Jeff Francoeur and Mike Aviles -- good but not enough.
Reigning American League Cy Young winner Zack Greinke left the Royals' opener ahead of Justin Verlander, 4-2, after six innings in 2010 at Kansas City. But the Tigers beat up on three relievers for six runs in the seventh to win, 8-4. "It wasn't fun to watch," Greinke said.
Alex Gordon hit a home run and starting pitcher Gil Meche had a 2-1 lead after seven innings in 2009 at Chicago. Then, Jim Thome clouted a three-run homer off Royals set-up man Kyle Farnsworth and the White Sox won, 4-2.
So the Royals' last victory on Opening Day came in 2008 at Detroit, 5-4. That was so long ago that it was Trey Hillman's debut as Royals manager. The winning run came in the 11th, as Tony Pena Jr.'s looping single scored John Buck.
Go back to 1969, the Royals' first season, and their overall record for 45 years of Opening Days is just 15-30. It breaks down to 5-17 on the road against 10-13 at home.
With 162 games on a team's schedule, is it really that important to win the first one?
"Of course, it is," Royals manager Ned Yost said. "It's important every day. You just don't give days away because it's Opening Day. It's extremely important. But it's not the end of the world if you don't."
Looking for an omen? In the World Series-winning season of 1985, the Royals opened with a 2-1 win over the Blue Jays on Willie Wilson's two-run double.
Infante set to face former club on Opening Day
DETROIT -- Second baseman Omar Infante rejoined the Royals for Sunday's workout. He is slated for the Opening Day lineup and is ready to go, despite some lingering discomfort caused by a bone spur in his right elbow.
"I had a little more pain when I swing. Throwing it's better," Infante said. "I have to keep working on it with my treatments to keep it strong."
Does manager Ned Yost expect Infante to be an everyday player?
"Yeah," Yost said. "Everybody's feeling something. We've just gone through six long weeks of Spring Training. Our players all play a lot and, from now to the end of the season, they're going to be dealing with things that they have to play through."
Infante and shortstop Alcides Escobar have yet to play together defensively in a game, but he dismissed that as an issue.
"No, no. We practice together a lot during BP," Infante said. "We practiced today and we'll do it tomorrow, too. We'll be OK."
Infante is starting the season against the Tigers, the team he played for in 2013.
"It's a nice city and a good stadium to play in," Infante said. "And they've got a good team."
Teaford's contract sold to Korean team
DETROIT -- Left-handed pitcher Everett Teaford is going to give Korea a try.
The Royals announced on Sunday that Teaford's contract has been sold to the LG Twins of the Korean Baseball Organization. He had been in the Major League clubhouse until March 14, when he was reassigned to the Minor League camp.
"They had approached me in the offseason, and I didn't feel like I was ready to make that jump," Teaford said. "And then they came back again in Spring Training and, obviously, a lot had happened since the end of November to this point. I just felt it was a good opportunity. I'll get to start over there, and I decided to take them up on it."
Teaford, 29, pitched in parts of the last three seasons for Kansas City as a reliever and occasional starter, compiling a 3-5 record and 4.25 ERA in 45 games (eight starts). Last year, he played in just one game for KC, but for Triple-A Omaha, he was in 31 games (14 starts) and had a 4-6 record and 3.49 ERA.
Hailing from Alpharetta, Ga., Teaford spent his entire eight-year pro career with the Royals after being drafted in the 12th round in 2006 out of Georgia Southern.
Pitching for Double-A Northwest Arkansas in 2010, Teaford led the Texas League in victories with a 14-3 record. In 2008, he won the Mike Sweeney Award as the player who best represents the organization on and off the field.
"I'd been with them for eight years and they had a lot of young guys coming up," Teaford said. "And I was excited to get the opportunity to start all the time and not necessarily bounce back and forth -- and maybe get the opportunity to come back next year and show what I can do over here after a full year of starting, because I really haven't had that in about five years."
The team he's joining, the LG Twins, finished second last season.
"It honestly is a once-in-a-lifetime deal," Teaford said. "There are only nine teams over there -- and they're only allowed three foreign players -- so you figure that's just 27. I'm lucky they chose me."
Dick Kaegel is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.