Tag:Alex Gordon
Posted on: April 6, 2011 10:24 am
Edited on: April 6, 2011 5:10 pm
 

Pepper: Royal excitement

Royals

By C. Trent Rosecrans

Are the Royals baseball's most exciting team?

Well, through five games they are, that's for sure. All four of the Royals' victories this season have come in their final at-bat. Tuesday's walk-off winner was Melky Cabrera's 12th-inning RBI single for a 7-6 victory over the White Sox.

In the team's lone loss, on opening day, the Royals' Alex Gordon was just feet short of a walk-off homer in a 4-2 loss to the Angels last Thursday.

"All of a sudden, you just expect us to win and that's it," Royals infielder Chris Getz told MLB.com . "There are plenty of doubters out there, no one's giving us much of a chance, but what do we have to lose? We've got that good feeling and we'll just ride it out."

The Royals have had a different hero each night. In their first win, Kila Ka'aihue led off the ninth inning with a homer to break a tie, the next day the Royals scored two in the eighth inning, capped by Getz's RBI single. The Royals then used a three-run walk-off homer by Matt Treanor (above) in the 13th to beat the Angels in the series finale.

With four victories in their final at-bat, the Royals may not be the best team in 2011, but they're worth sticking around to watch.

Last season the Braves lead the big leagues with 25 victories in their final at-bat.

SEARCHING FOR A WIN -- Another day, another Red Sox loss. Will the Red Sox go winless this season and will the Reds go undefeated? Eye on Baseball's Matt Snyder joins blog favorite Lauren Shehadi with the answers (which, well, are both 'no.')

GOOD NEWS, BAD NEWS -- Ubaldo Jimenez's thumb is better -- but may not be good enough to allow him to make his start Friday in Pittsburgh. The Rockies' right-hander is expected to throw a bullpen today to test the cuticle injury on his right thumb. If Jimenez can't start, Jorge De La Rosa would start in his spot. De La Rosa will be on regular rest following Sunday's snow-out. [MLB.com ]

SHIFT BE A-GONE -- Red Sox first baseman Adrian Gonzalez said putting three men on the right side of the infield has never been an effective strategy against him. Last season he had more singles to left field than right. The Indians, though, had good luck with the shift on Tuesday. The Indians used the shift and Gonzalez was 0 for 4 with two groundouts to the right side. [WEEI.com ]

COSTLY ERROR -- Jayson Werth's error was one of several events that led to the Nationals' 3-2 loss to the Marlins on Tuesday. [CSNWashington.com ]

A TRADITION LIKE NO OTHER -- I absolutely love the baseball tradition of giving a guy the silent treatment after his first homer in the big leagues. Tuesday's victim was the Angels' Hank Conger. [Press-Enterprise ]

WELCOME HOME -- Padres starter Aaron Harang looked like his old self in a victory over the Giants on Tuesday. In his first season with his hometown Padres, Harang certainly looked comfortable at Petco Park. [San Diego Union-Tribune ]

CALLED SHOT -- Toronto's Yunel Escobar told teammates Carlos Villanueva and Edwin Encarnacion the team would come back to win, even though they were down 5-0 in the middle of Tuesday's game against the A's. After a four-run sixth inning to tie the game, Escobar delivered on his promise with a two-run homer in the 10th to give Toronto the win. [MLB.com ]

NO MINORS FOR LEAKE -- Reds manager Dusty Baker said sending starter Mike Leake was never an option, even though it appeared that Leake made the team out of spring only because of the injuries to Johnny Cueto and Homer Bailey. Baker said Leake was overthrowing in the spring and looked like the guy who started the season 6-1 with a 3.53 ERA in Tuesday's win over the Astros. Leake, the Reds' first-round pick in 2009 made the big league rotation out of spring training last season, bypassing the minors altogether.  [Cincinnati Enquirer ]

BELT MAY BE DEMOTED -- When Cody Ross returns to the Giants' lineup, rookie first baseman Brandon Belt could be the odd man out in San Francisco. The Giants say they will base their decision on Belt's play, but sending Belt down would keep the status quo. With Ross back in right field, Aubrey Huff could move back to first. Or if the team decides to keep Belt, Huff would move to left and would make Pat Burrell a bench player. Also, putting Belt in the minors for more than 20 days would keep him from accruing a full year of service time and delay his free agency a year. [FOXSports.com ]

NO FEUD -- Former Met Pedro Feliciano said he was going to strike out Ike Davis when the Yankees face the Mets next month. Davis was uninterested in escalating the "feud."

Davis said it was Feliciano's job to strike him out, and well, last season he struck out 138 times, so "it's not that tough of a feat." [New York Post ]

BANDWAGON ROOM -- Attendance at Yankee Stadium through the first four games of the season is down about 8,000 fans per game. [ESPNNewYork.com ]

YANKS AREN'T ALONE -- As we mentioned the other day, it's not just Yankee Stadium that has its share of empty seats -- Wrigley Field has plenty of seats available, even for the seagulls. [Chicago Sun-Times ]

ON THE OTHER HAND -- Blue Jays fans are excited for their team in Toronto. [Slam! Sports ]

SUNSHINE BALL -- Is there any hope for baseball in Florida past March? [MASNSports.com ]

ROLAIDS ALERT -- The folks over at Big League Stew take a look at the top 10 new concessions at MLB parks this season. 

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Posted on: March 30, 2011 12:22 pm
Edited on: March 30, 2011 12:42 pm
 

Gordon to hit third as hot spring restores hope

By Matt Snyder

Alex Gordon was once the most highly-touted prospect in baseball. Four years ago, if you would have told the masses he'd be hitting third in the Royals' lineup on opening day in 2011, the statement would have been met with a collective yawn.

Instead, the Royals are talking about batting him third and it's a pretty big surprise -- at least it would have been a few weeks ago.

It's because what happened in between his uber-prospect status and 2011 was quite the disappointing journey.

Gordon was given 600 plate appearances as a rookie in 2007, hitting .247 with a .725 OPS, 15 home runs, 60 RBI, 60 runs and 14 stolen bases. That's actually not bad at all, considering he was 23 years old and only in his second professional season. Then he grew a little bit in 2008 -- albeit incrementally -- to a .783 OPS. Considering how much he destroyed college pitching pre-2006 and Double-A pitching in 2006, many thought he'd be a star by the end of 2008. Instead, he was hitting .260 with 16 home runs and an OPS-plus of 109. Still, he was only 24, it was far too premature to start piling on the guy just yet.

Then 2009 and 2010 happened. Gordon battled injuries, a demotion and a position switch to the outfield. He managed just 123 major-league games, hitting .222 with a dreary .684 OPS. There were a few small silver linings. Last season, he hits more line drives and his BABIP (.254) was well below his career mark. Still, his overall numbers left lots to be desired in terms of where he was supposed to be after four big-league seasons.

This spring, however, he's worked on a new swing with Kansas City hitting coach Kevin Seitzer and has been killing the ball. His triple slash numbers (average/OBP/slugging) sit at .343/.459/.729 in 82 plate appearances. He's drawn 12 walks. He's hit six home runs and driven home 23 runs in 24 games. He's stolen four bases. We haven't seen him swing the bat like this since Double-A in 2006. So is it a mirage since it's the spring?

Royals manager Ned Yost thinks enough of it to bat Gordon third. (Kansas City Star ) Granted the Royals aren't the Yankees or another slugging team of that ilk, but batting third is arguably the most pressure-packed spot in the lineup. If Yost thinks Gordon is ready to handle that, maybe we should start to take note. I often preach that spring stats don't mean much except in certain circumstances: coming off injury, trying a new approach (swing, batting stance, pitching motion, etc.), coming off an awful season or when the player has something to prove. Gordon qualifies for most of these criterion.

Remember, Gordon isn't old. He's still only 27. He won't be a free agent until 2014. There's still plenty of time for that breakout season and 2011 could very well be it.

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Category: MLB
Posted on: March 13, 2011 11:15 am
Edited on: April 18, 2011 11:35 am
 

Pepper: Gordon's last shot?

Alex Gordon
By C. Trent Rosecrans

Remember when Alex Gordon was the next George Brett? Royals fans sure do.

Now, though, the former second-overall pick in the draft, is an afterthought in the deep, talented Royals system.

Taken ahead of the likes of Ryan Zimmerman, Ryan Braun and Troy Tulowitzki, Gordon has a career line of .244/.315/.355 in 1,641 plate appearances in the big leagues and has since been moved from third base to the outfield.

While no longer one of the core building-blocks of the Royals rebuilding job, Gordon still has some talent (and a little trade value). He's also starting to get hot in the Cactus League, going 8 for 12 in his last five games. He's also shown good plate discipline, drawing 11 walks.

"The timing was off. I was seeing the pitches good, I was just late and not making solid contact," Gordon told MLB.com. "Lately, I've been getting easy earlier and seeing pitches better and making good contact, and that's what it's all about. So definitely a big change in the last week."

Gordon, 27, spent his offseason working with Royals hitting coach Kevin Seitzer, someone who knows a little bit about living in the shadow of the Royals' lone Hall of Fame player. Seitzer's emergence at third base moved Brett from third base to first in 1987 and even made the All-Star team as a rookie. Seitzer has been the team's hitting coach since 2009.

"I think I've pulled my hands back so I'm loaded instead of trying to find the load during the swing. I'm ready to go right off the bat," Gordon said. "I think that's helped, and I'm not late on pitches anymore, and I'm being aggressive."

With the Royals throwing out a placeholder roster for 2011 before the prospects begin to trickle in later this summer, Gordon may be getting his last chance to prove he's more than a Four-A player. Soon, that Royals influx of talent could make him the next Clint Hurdle in Royals history.

SILVA ON THE BLOCK: Three Nationals scouts, among others, watched the Cubs' Carlos Silva in his latest spring training start, ESPNChicago.com's Bruce Levine writes.

According to Levine, the Nationals and Yankees have had scouts at each of Silva's outings. Both teams are looking to fill their rotation and could afford Silva's $12 million salary.

Chicago has had good spring showings from Randy Wells and Andrew Cashner, making Silva expendable.

Dave MartinezHAIR CLUB FOR MEN: With Johnny Damon and Manny Ramirez now Rays, manager Joe Maddon wants his team to follow the example of his newest stars.

"I encourage the growth of follicles," Maddon told the St. Petersburg Times. "I want them all to go nuts with their hair this year."

Although Ramirez is known for his long dreadlocks and Damon is now sporting a fauxhawk, the inspiration for his goal of being "the hirsute club" was bench coach Dave Martinez's bushy beard (pictured).

"Sometimes I just go with my instincts, and I just think it could turn into a lot of fun for the group," Maddon said, noting he'll let his hair grow out as much as possible. "So whatever keeps you focused on the field and having fun off it, I'm all for it."

FORMER CUBS OK: The Chicago Tribune caught up with former Cub Micah Hoffpauir, who is now playing in Japan.

"My first earthquake," Hoffpauir told the Trib. "And good Lord willing, it will be my last."

Hoffpauir, now a member of the Nippon Ham Fighters, was in his room on the 26th floor of his hotel in Tokyo when the earthquake hit, approximately 250 miles to the north.

"It felt like someone started shaking the whole country of Japan," Hoffpauir said. "At one point I thought, this building is going to fall down. But I was assured later that [swaying] is what the building was supposed to do."

He said he was evacuated from his hotel and was able to contact his wife in Texas to let her know he was OK. He said he has also been in touch with former Cub teammate Matt Murton, who was training further south in Osaka, and he was OK.

GARFOOSE FUNDRAISER: Author and Rays reliever Dirk Hayhurst will call you up and thank you personally if you donate $50 or more to Mercy Corp Fundraising for the victims of the earthquake and tsunami in Japan. (DirkHayhurst.com)

HIDDEN TREASURE: Investigators found a jackpot of 1986 Mets memorabilia in a  Port St. Lucie storage facility following their case of former Mets clubhouse manager Charlie Samuels.

Samuels is accused of theft and illegal gambling.

Among the treasure found in the storage facility was signed uniforms from the 1986 Mets team that defeated the Red Sox in the World Series. The collection is reportedly worth "hundreds of thousands of dollars." (New York Daily News)

SIZEMORE GETTING CLOSER: Indians manager Manny Acta said he thinks center fielder Grady Sizemore is scheduled to start running bases today and could be cleared to play in games sometime in the last 10 days of spring training. (MLB.com)

D-TRAIN OFF THE RAILS: Dontrelle Willis left Saturday's game with a sprained ankle, tripping on a bat after backing up the plate on Bobby Scales' two-run single. Willis had a rough outing, allowing two hits and two walks while recording just a single out. (MLB.com)

THANK YOU, COME AGAIN: Commissioner Bud Selig said Saturday that the stake in the Diamondbacks once owned by Padres chief executive Jeff Moorad has been sold. Current Arizona managing general partner Ken Kendrick absorbed the eight percent of the Diamondbacks  for $21 million. Moorad's group owns 49 percent of the Padres. (MLB.com)

HARDEN OUT OF ROTATION MIX: Rich Harden is officially out of the race for the Athletics' fifth-starter sport. Harden could still find a spot in the bullpen, but it's getting crowded too. Brandon McCarthy, Tyson Ross and Bobby Cramer are still competing for the fifth starter spot, with the losers then looking to make the bullpen. (San Francisco Chronicle)

STATS FOR DUMMIES: The great Joe Posnanski gives you a primer on advanced offensive statistics. (JoePosnanski.com)

LINEUP CONSTRUCTION: Little has more breath and keystrokes wasted on it more than lineup construction. It's a fan's favorite nitpick to show why their manager is an idiot, yet it doesn't really matter that much in the long term. (Although, it makes the most sense to get your better hitters at the the top of the order, because they get the most at-bats). But anyway, Astros manager Brad Mills discusses his philosophy for filling out his lineup card. (Houston Chronicle)

RAYS RESURRECTION: Former top pick Matt Bush is making a comeback in Tampa's training camp. (Tampa Tribune)

BASEBALL PROJECT: If you missed our Ear on Baseball podcast with the Baseball Project, what's wrong with you? Seriously?

Anyway, you can catch up with Scott McCaughey, who says despite touring the world with various rock bands, he's always kept up with baseball because it's a "a sort of zen thing for me" and reading boxscores is "like meditation" -- I think we can all understand that. (Athens Music Junkie)

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.

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Posted on: March 9, 2011 9:20 pm
Edited on: March 10, 2011 12:46 pm
 

3 up, 3 down for 3/9: Holland emerges for Rangers

HarangBy Evan Brunell

3 UP

1. LF Alex Gordon, KC: 3 AB, 1 R, 3 H, 2 RBI. Gordon really needed this game, as a 3-for-3 night lifted his average to just .263. Already termed a bust, Gordon is likely on his final shot to contribute to the Royals. Heck, K.C. would take simply being an average contributor. In the same game, Lance Zawadski went 2 for 3 with 3 RBI and one run scored. He's a Triple-A player who got a cup of coffee with the Padres last season. Why is this mentioned? Because Zawadski was my double-play partner in high school. Rubbing shoulders with greatness, I am.

2. SP Javier Vazquez, FLA: 4 IP, 4 H, 1 ER, 0 BB, 3 K. Vazquez is looking to reclaim his status as one of the better pitchers in the game after his second turn as a Yankee was just as bad as his first. It's too early to speculate on his velocity, but the early results have to be promising for the Marlins who could be a sleeper in the NL East.

3. SP Derek Holland, TEX: 3 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 4 K. Holland certainly vaulted himself into being a favorite to win the No. 4 rotation spot in Texas with this outing. Reports had Holland looking electric, and he may be ready to fulfill his top prospect billing.

3 DOWN

1. SP Aaron Harang, SD: 3 IP, 7 H, 7 ER, 1 BB, 1 K. Yuck. Harang (pictured) got blasted against his former team who dressed just one projected starter in Brandon Phillips, making this outing all the more worse. Harang felt he was simply too nervous. "You kind of want to go out there and do well against your old team," Harang told the Associated Press. "I guess I look at it that it's better to get it out of the way down here than having it happen the first time throwing against them during the season." At least, Harang hopes that's the reason. The Padres, too.

2. SP Scott Kazmir, LAA: 3 IP, 5 H, 1 R, 0 ER, 4 BB, 1 K. "What's Kaz doing here if he didn't give up any earned runs?" you ask. Did you happen to notice he coughed up nine baserunners in three innings? Kazmir also contributed an error when attempting a pickoff. The Angels will be very impatient with Kazmir after being nothing but a bust since the trade with Tampa Bay. The lefty says he's close to a breakthrough after simplifying his delivery. For his sake, we hope so.

3. 1B Miguel Cabrera, DET: 3 AB, 1 R, 1 H, 2 K. Cabrera was in the news Wednesday for all the wrong reasons as details emerged about the night of Feb. 16, when it was exposed to the world that Miggy still had a drinking problem. It's been three weeks since the incident and Cabrera is apparently in the best shape of his life, but he's still hitting .174 on the spring. But remember: spring statistics aren't worth the pixels on the computer screen.

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.


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Posted on: February 24, 2011 2:20 pm
Edited on: February 24, 2011 3:00 pm
 

Is 2011 finally Gordon's year?

Back in 2005, Alex Gordon was the Royals' first-round draft pick. Only Justin Upton was off the board, as Gordon was the second overall pick. He was coming off a national player of the year season in college baseball. Then, in 2006, he was the minor league player of the year after hitting .325 with 29 home runs, 101 RBI, 111 runs and 22 steals. His OPS was a robust 1.016. All this made him the No. 2 prospect in all of baseball heading into the 2007 season.

Since then, things have been a relative flop.

His best season was 2008, when he went .260/.351/.432. He hit 16 home runs and had 35 doubles in 493 at-bats. He wasn't great, but those numbers certainly weren't awful. So he looked primed for a breakthrough in 2009, only he's badly regressed since then. He has battled injuries, suffered through a demotion to the minors, changed positions and failed to be productive at the big league level. 

His combined stats for 2009-10 show 123 games and 470 plate appearances. His line is .222/.319/.365.

The good news is that Gordon has refined his swing and, according to his hitting coach and manager, looks ready to have that breakout season (via Associated Press ).

"It's really huge for him," hitting coach Kevin Seitzer said of Gordon's swing. "His confidence right now is probably as high as it's ever been since I've been here. We’re getting him looser with his upper body, doing pretty much a solid month of drill work, just the tension out of his upper body and really focusing him being more consistent in his approach. His hands are working better. His swing is much better. Now it’s just going to be seeing how consistent he can be once the game starts."

"He's been putting on shows in batting practice," Royals manager Ned Yost added. "Granted it's only been batting practice, but his swing looks different. He looks much, much better. The real judge will be in the games when you’re making adjustments off competitive pitching. It looks like the work is paying off for him. It's just smoothing his swing out more than anything else, really just getting him short and just getting him to stay behind the ball and drive the ball."

He's also only 27, so while it seems like we've been waiting on Gordon for ages, he's still young enough to make good on his once seemingly unlimited promise.

Someone who comes to mind as a viable example is Phil Nevin. Granted, Nevin is viewed historically as a bit of a bust, considering he only made one All-Star Game after being the top overall draft pick, but he did have a solid six-year stint with the Padres from 1999-2004, where he compiled a 133 OPS-plus and 147 home runs. That stint started when he was 28.

This isn't to compare the two players or show Gordon won't break out until next season. It's simply an illustration that sometimes there's a delay before great talent shows up. Gordon could still easily go on to have a banner career.

And 2011 could be the new beginning.

-- Matt Snyder

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Posted on: November 17, 2010 8:59 pm
Edited on: November 18, 2010 5:47 am
 

Wednesday evening rumor roundup

Hot Stove Wednesday wasn't quite as exciting as Tuesday's rumor-mongering at the GM meetings, but hey, we did get a trade and an overpaid free agent signing, so it wasn't all that different. Here's some of the other stuff that went down -- or has been talked about -- 'round Orlando and beyond.

• The Rockies are interested in Jon Garland, but aren't looking to offer much beyond a one-year deal. (Sports Illustrated 's Jon Heyman via Twitter )

• The Nationals are one of "six or eight" teams to have talked with Twins free agent starter Carl Pavano. (Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post )

• The Brewers hope to extend second baseman Rickie Weeks, who will be a free agent following the 2011 season. (Tom Haudricourt of the Journal Sentinel )

• Jorge de la Rosa will move quickly on signing, preferably signing before the Cliff Lee sweepstakes is wrapped up. He'll jump on an offer from the Nationals or Pirates if the terms are right. (Troy Renck of the Denver Post )

• The Rockies have been aggressive in Orlando with trades and free agents. The team has interest in Oakland third baseman Kevin Kouzmanoff. (Renck via Twitter)

• Miguel Olivo is drawing interest from the Rangers, White Sox and Blue Jays. (FOXSports.com's Jon Paul Morosi )

• The White Sox are interested in Hideki Matsui and Johnny Damon to fill their need of a left-handed hitter, but aren't expected to make a move until after the Dec. 2 non-tender date. (Chicago Tribune 's Phil Rogers )

• The Phillies have done "extensive" groundwork on a deal for the White Sox's Carlos Quentin, who would replace Jayson Werth. (ESPN.com's Jayson Stark )

• Oakland, Toronto and Colorado have interest in Kansas City's Alex Gordon. (MLB.com's Dick Kaegel )

• Tsuyoshi Nishioka was officially posted on Wednesday (U.S. time), so the bidding will close at 5 p.m. Eastern on Tuesday. The Giants, Twins, Cardinals, Orioles, Mariners, Padres, Diamondbacks, Dodgers and Red Sox have all been mentioned by Japanese media as teams with interest. (YakyuBaka.com )

-- C. Trent Rosecrans

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.


Posted on: November 11, 2010 9:17 am
Edited on: November 11, 2010 11:07 am
 

Jays have checked in on Greinke

Zack Greinke The Blue Jays are apparently very interested in the Kansas City Royals.

The Toronto Sun 's Bob Elliott writes that the Jays have called Kansas City about Zack Greinke. Elliott adds the Jays have also talked about Royal disappointment Alex Gordon.

According to Elliott, the Royals are looking for two "can't-miss prospects" in return for Greinke to start, and it would likely take well more than just two players. Of course, Gordon was once a "can't-miss prospect" so there's that to keep in mind.

The Jays have some decent prospects, but it would have to be some of their top talked, like Kyle Drabek, Deck McGuire or Anthony Gose to really get this job done. The Jays don't quite have the surplus of prospects yet to make this deal, but it an interesting proposition.

Greinke can decline a trade to 15 teams and according to ESPN's Jayson Stark , teams that have checked in with the Royals "have come away with the impression that he wouldn't approve a deal to ANY major-market East coast team (Yankees, Red Sox, Phillies, Mets)." The Blue Jays are in a major market and in the Eastern time zone, but somehow I don't think Toronto is the kind of place Greinke, who has been diagnosed with social anxiety disorder, is looking to avoid.

UPDATE: Bob Dutton of the Kansas City Star writes the Red Sox have already shown interest in Greinke, while the Rangers are expected to make a push for the 2009 Cy Young Award winner.

-- C. Trent Rosecrans

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.




Posted on: September 22, 2010 2:48 pm
 

Gordon predicts domination in 2011

Alex Gordon Psst… Alex, why not try to be good first? Or even decent.

But nope, the Royals' Alex Gordon is speaking loudly and carrying a limp stick.

"I'm going to dominate next year," Gordon told the Kansas City Star 's Bob Dutton . "I can tell you that. Not that this year is over, but I'm going to dominate next year."

Oh, nothing like the inevitable Royal domination.

The "next George Brett" is now a left fielder with a carer OPS+ of  96, who is hitting .227/.326/.367 with seven homers and 17 RBI in 64 games this season. But all that for the bargain-basement price of $1.14 million -- or a little more than twice Joey Votto's salary.

Gordon spent some time in Triple-A this season after struggling at the big league level, and, yeah, he "dominated" there -- hitting .31-/.451/.567 with 14 homers with Class A Wilmington and Triple-A Omaha. Good work. With Omaha opening a new stadium next season, the team may want its hometown boy there to open it and "dominate" once again. All the while, the Royals will hope for something approaching average out of the second-overall pick of the 2005 draft, who to this point has been a Royal disappointment.

 -- C. Trent Rosecrans

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Category: MLB
 
 
 
 
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