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Kansas City at Chicago

Venue: U.S. Cellular Field
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CHICAGO (AP) - As the Kansas City Royals added to their roster during the offseason, Billy Butler was glad the team embraced the task at hand instead of eyeing the future.

The Royals are in a win-now mode and believe they are poised to make a big jump in the AL Central starting with Monday's opener against the Chicago White Sox.

"There's no reason we shouldn't be better," Butler said Sunday. "How much better that is? I'm not a mind reader. I'm not a projector. ... Our talent's higher than it's ever been since I've been here."

After going 72-90 for their 17th losing season in 18 years, they believe they're ready to become a winner.

"We're still young, we're still growing," manager Ned Yost said. "We're going to have ups and we're going to have downs, but I think we're in a much better position to be successful this year just because of the maturity factor."

While the Royals made some big moves, including a trade with Tampa Bay for ace James Shields, the White Sox largely kept their roster intact. Even so, they believe they have enough to challenge Detroit for the AL Central title.

They led the division for 117 days last season before a 2-10 slide in late September dropped them to 85-77, three games behind Detroit.

Chicago's biggest offseason moves were re-signing pitcher Jake Peavy before he could become a free agent and giving a five-year deal to Chris Sale - the opening-night starter - after a 17-win season. The White Sox also shuffled their front office, promoting Rick Hahn to general manager and Ken Williams to executive vice president, and let catcher A.J. Pierzynski sign with Texas.

As for splashy additions? They left that to the rest of the division.

"I'll drop the Florida Gulf Coast here," Sale said, referring to his alma mater's run to the regional semifinals in the NCAA tournament. "Nobody expected them to win anything. They didn't have a big bandwagon or fan base to start with. If you believe in yourselves, that can take you a long way. We all believe in ourselves and in each other. We're going to get this thing going - and get it going right away."

Where it'll end is difficult to predict.

"We have a solid team," Gordon Beckham said. "It's six months away from when we'll know if we're going to the playoffs or not. Do we have a chance? Yeah. But I think 30 teams have a chance."

Kansas City appears to have improved. The Royals re-signed Jeremy Guthrie after he dazzled in a short stint with them last season, and they acquired Ervin Santana from the Los Angeles Angels. The deal for Shields cost them top prospect Wil Myers.

"That's the first time we've ever made a move to help out the big league team," Butler said. "Usually, we're stocking the system. Our big league team's gotten to the point where we needed to make a move to help out the big league team because we have talent and we needed to trade some prospects for major league. It doesn't get more exciting than that."

Copyright 2015 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
 
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Probable Starters

James Shields, RHP
2013 stats
- Innings Pitched -
--- Wins-Losses ---
- Earned Run Average -
- Walks -
- Strikeouts -
0 Pitches Per Start 0
Career vs. opponent
- Innings Pitched -
--- Wins-Losses ---
- Earned Run Average -

Chris Sale, LHP
Weather
weather image  Partly cloudy. Chilly.
Hi TempLo TempWindHumidityPrecip %
37°F30°F16mph/NW44%4%
Standings
TeamStandingsWLPct.GBL 10Strk
Kansas City1st AL Central7949.617-7-3 W 2
Chi White Sox4th AL Central6067.47218 ½ 5-5 L 1
 
 

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Game Odds
AwayLineHomeLine
Kansas City 125 Chi. White Sox -135
Injuries
Kansas City
PlayerInjury
T. CollinsElbow
B. FlynnLat
A. GordonGroin
J. VargasElbow
Chi White Sox
PlayerInjury
D. WebbBack
 
Series Game Log
DateatResult/TimeWinnerLoser
Aug 21SEACHW 11-4Sale Hernandez 
Aug 22SEACHW 6-3Jones Farquhar 
Aug 23SEASEA 8-6Walker Danks 
Aug 27CHWCHW 4-2Rodon Elias 
Aug 28CHWSEA 2-0Walker Danks 
Aug 29CHW 7:10 PM EDT  
Aug 30CHW 2:10 PM EDT