Rios stays hot, Ventura shaky in spring debut

Hot bats overshadow rough first inning for Royals' starter

Rios stays hot, Ventura shaky in spring debut

GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- An eight-run outburst in the fifth inning on a windy afternoon at Goodyear Ballpark helped power the Royals to a 11-9 Cactus League win over the rival Indians on Friday. The offensive outpouring overshadowed a shaky spring debut for Kansas City's Yordano Ventura.

Ventura -- a favorite to be the Royals' Opening Day starter -- faced nine batters in the first inning, laboring through 30-plus pitches before calling it a day. The hard-throwing right-hander surrendered four runs and struck out one, but that was hardly enough damage to slow Kansas City down.

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Jordan Bastian is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Major League Bastian, and follow him on Twitter @MLBastian. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

MRI reveals ligament damage to Collins' left elbow

Treatment undecided as Royals' medical staff may opt for Tommy John surgery

MRI reveals ligament damage to Collins' left elbow

SURPRISE, Ariz. -- The MRI on Royals southpaw Tim Collins showed damage to his left elbow ligament, and he said he will have a second opinion within a week or so. Manager Ned Yost wouldn't speculate whether surgery would be necessary or when Collins might be able to pitch again.

"It won't be anytime soon," Yost said.

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Jeffrey Flanagan is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @jflanagankc. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Royals sign veteran Kotchman to Minor League deal

First baseman last played with Marlins in 2013

Royals sign veteran Kotchman to Minor League deal

SURPRISE, Ariz. -- The Royals on Friday signed 10-year veteran first baseman Casey Kotchman, a left-handed hitter, to a Minor League deal.

Royals general manager Dayton Moore confirmed the deal and said Kotchman would participate in the team's Minor League camp.

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Jeffrey Flanagan is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @jflanagankc. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Ventura shakes off rough debut, says arm feels fine

Right-hander labors in first, allows four runs on four hits

GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- Royals right-hander Yordano Ventura is shaking off his shaky first Cactus League start.

Ventura, who last pitched in Game 6 of the World Series that resulted in a 10-0 win, labored through the first inning Friday against the Indians. Ventura gave up four hits and four runs, while walking two and striking out one.

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Jeffrey Flanagan is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @jflanagankc. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

'Less food': Morales reveals secret to offseason weight loss

Veteran DH slugs homer in spring opener, feels more agile

'Less food': Morales reveals secret to offseason weight loss

SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Royals designated hitter Kendrys Morales dropped about 12 pounds during the offseason and now weighs about 213 pounds.

His secret to the weight loss?

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Jeffrey Flanagan is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @jflanagankc. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Infante to have right elbow checked out

Discomfort is similar to experience last spring, but Royals will wait on results of MRI

Infante to have right elbow checked out

SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Royals second baseman Omar Infante will have an MRI on his troublesome right elbow Friday. Infante was scratched from the lineup -- he was going to be the designated hitter in Kansas City's game against Cleveland in Goodyear, Ariz.

"It just hurts a little when I throw," Infante said. "There's no pain when I hit."

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Jeffrey Flanagan is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @jflanagankc. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Cuthbert's two-run single in ninth rallies Royals past Rangers

Game-winning hit comes with two outs as K.C. wins second straight

Cuthbert's two-run single in ninth rallies Royals past Rangers

SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Cheslor Cuthbert, a third-base prospect, drove in the winning runs with a sharp two-run single to left with two outs in the bottom of the ninth as the Royals rallied past the Rangers, 5-4, on Thursday afternoon at Surprise Stadium.

"It's just a Spring Training game but it felt really, really good," Cuthbert said. "I was very happy for our team. I was just looking for a pitch to drive a little and I got a hanging slider."

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Jeffrey Flanagan is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @jflanagankc. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Royals' prospects stand out in win over Rangers

Royals' prospects stand out in win over Rangers

SURPRISE, Ariz. -- It was like the Royals' very own Futures Game on Thursday in a 5-4 win over Texas.

"I want to give our young guys as much playing time as I can," manager Ned Yost said. "They looked good. Real good."

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Jeffrey Flanagan is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @jflanagankc. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

MLB.com Columnist

Phil Rogers

Rogers: Royals roll on with Escobar in leadoff spot

Yost plans to stick with what helped K.C. get to 2014 World Series

Rogers: Royals roll on with Escobar in leadoff spot

SURPRISE, Ariz. -- If it's not broken, don't fix it.

The free-swinging Alcides Escobar doesn't fit the traditional definition of a leadoff man, but the Royals rolled to the World Series after an exasperated Ned Yost put him into the leadoff spot last September. He's still writing his name there.

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Phil Rogers is a columnist for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Royals sending Collins to have MRI on left elbow

Reliever hopeful that tightness just normal result of early Spring Training work

Royals sending Collins to have MRI on left elbow

SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Royals left-hander Tim Collins, who left Wednesday's 13-2 win over the Rangers after facing four hitters because of tightness in his elbow, will have an MRI on Thursday morning at a local hospital.

Collins said he did not notice any significant swelling in the elbow on Wednesday night, which might be a good sign.

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Jeffrey Flanagan is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @jflanagankc. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Royals haven't yet determined Finnegan's role

Lefty could begin the year with K.C. in the bullpen or at Triple-A as a starter

Royals haven't yet determined Finnegan's role

SURPRISE, Ariz. -- There is a pretty healthy discussion going on within the Royals' organization these days about what to do with rookie left-hander Brandon Finnegan.

The scouting and development folks naturally would like to see Finnegan, who was a first-round pick last June, be groomed as a starter, the position for which he was drafted.

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Jeffrey Flanagan is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @jflanagankc. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Royals take power surge in opener in stride

Royals take power surge in opener in stride

SURPRISE, Ariz. -- There is always an offensive distortion factor that all managers whose teams train in Arizona have to consider.

That was true again in the Royals' Cactus League opener Wednesday as they banged out a 13-2 win over Texas, highlighted by back-to-back-to-back homers by Eric Hosmer, Kendrys Morales and Alex Rios.

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Jeffrey Flanagan is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @jflanagankc. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

No ill effects for Hochevar after 1st BP session

Yost pleased with right-hander's performance, says progression is 'normal'

No ill effects for Hochevar after 1st BP session

SURPRISE, Ariz. -- The first thing Royals skipper Ned Yost did when he got to the clubhouse Wednesday morning was find out how right-hander Luke Hochevar was feeling.

Hochevar, recovering from Tommy John surgery last March, had thrown his first batting-practice session of the spring on Tuesday.

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Jeffrey Flanagan is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @jflanagankc. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Rios caps off homer barrage in Royals debut

Rios caps off homer barrage in Royals debut

SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Alex Rios said he honestly can't remember if he was once part of a back-to-back-to-back home run barrage at any level of his career.

Rios couldn't even remember if he'd ever seen it.

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Jeffrey Flanagan is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @jflanagankc. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Royals go back-to-back-to-back in return to action

Rios tallies two hits, three RBIs against former club in KC debut

Royals go back-to-back-to-back in return to action

SURPRISE, Ariz. -- The Royals scored six runs in the top of the first inning off Rangers starter Colby Lewis on the way to a 13-2 win on Wednesday in the Cactus League opener for both teams at Surprise Stadium.

Lewis allowed the first six batters he faced to reach base. Alcides Escobar led off with a walk, and singles by Jarrod Dyson and Lorenzo Cain gave the Royals a 1-0 lead. Lewis then gave up three straight home runs, to Eric Hosmer, Kendrys Morales and Alex Rios to make it 6-0.

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T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Postcards from Elysian Fields, and follow him on Twitter @Sullivan_Ranger. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

5 things you may not know about Royals' Duffy

5 things you may not know about Royals' Duffy

SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Left-hander Danny Duffy is without question one of the more colorful Royals.

Duffy is the man, of course, who came up with the song "We Ready," which became the Royals' postgame anthem from September through the playoffs (spoiler alert: it will not be the Royals' anthem this season).

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Jeffrey Flanagan is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @jflanagankc. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Royals 'pen hopeful Collins exits with tight left elbow

Royals 'pen hopeful Collins exits with tight left elbow

SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Left-hander Tim Collins, in a battle for one of the final spots in the Royals' bullpen, left the club's Cactus League opener against the Rangers on Wednesday because of tightness in his elbow after facing just four hitters.

Manager Ned Yost said that Collins may have an MRI on Thursday, if an exam can be scheduled.

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Jeffrey Flanagan is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @jflanagankc. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Yost says not to read too much into early lineups

Yost says not to read too much into early lineups

SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Jarrod Dyson was in the lineup card in left field in the Royals' Cactus League opener, filling in for Alex Gordon, who is still rehabbing his right wrist.

Manager Ned Yost also plopped Dyson second in the batting order, leading to obvious speculation that when Gordon is healthy enough to play in games, Gordon might be the Royals' No. 2 hitter this season.

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Jeffrey Flanagan is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @jflanagankc. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Finnegan among spring decisions for Royals

Finnegan among spring decisions for Royals

SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Spring Training games are finally on deck, and Royals manager Ned Yost can soon begin the process of determining the 25-man roster that he will break camp with later this month.

The Royals open the Cactus League schedule against the Rangers on Wednesday at Surprise Stadium.

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Jeffrey Flanagan is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @jflanagankc. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Moose isn't likely to see many spring shifts

Moose isn't likely to see many spring shifts

SURPRISE, Ariz. -- One of the big questions this spring is how much progress third baseman Mike Moustakas will make in trying to combat the shift, which hampered his season in 2014.

But Moustakas' work likely will be restricted to times that he is in the batting cage -- the Royals do not anticipate other teams will go into the shift in Spring Training against him for fear of giving Moustakas too much practice against it.

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Jeffrey Flanagan is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @jflanagankc. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Madson excited over tweak in his mechanics

Madson excited over tweak in his mechanics

SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Right-hander Ryan Madson isn't too concerned about his minor setback -- he felt some stiffness in his lower back over the weekend that prevented him from throwing on Monday.

In fact, Madson is pretty excited about the new mechanics that pitching coach Dave Eiland has taught him this spring -- Madson is less upright in his delivery and is doing more "drop and drive" toward the plate, which is a Royals' staple.

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Jeffrey Flanagan is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @jflanagankc. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Royals prospect Dozier aiming to bounce back

Last season's struggles may be valuable learning experience

Royals prospect Dozier aiming to bounce back

SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Hitting a baseball has never been an issue for third baseman Hunter Dozier, the Royals' top pick in the 2013 First-Year Player Draft.

Through Little League, high school, and college, where Dozier had a ridiculous 1.237 OPS his senior year at Stephen F. Austin State, he punished opposing pitchers.

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Jeffrey Flanagan is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @jflanagankc. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Royals sign remainder of pre-arbitration players

Royals sign remainder of pre-arbitration players

SURPRISE, Ariz. -- The Royals on Tuesday morning signed eight players -- all pre-arbitration players, including right-hander Yordano Ventura -- to one-year deals.

All players in Royals camp are signed for this season. Here are the figures:

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Jeffrey Flanagan is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @jflanagankc. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Royals' feeling is they have winning chemistry

Royals' feeling is they have winning chemistry

SURPRISE, Ariz. -- This collection of Royals always has been a pretty loose group. If it's not catcher Salvador Perez needling center fielder Lorenzo Cain on Instagram, it's outfielder Jarrod Dyson poking fun at incoming rookies in camp.

It's that type of playful camaraderie that manager Ned Yost appreciates.

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Jeffrey Flanagan is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @jflanagankc. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Gustave could stick on Royals' 25-man roster

Gustave could stick on Royals' 25-man roster

SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Right-hander Jandel Gustave, a Rule 5 Draft pick, intrigued the Royals' scouting department enough with his 101-mph fastball that the club considers it a real possibility that it could carry him on the 25-man roster all season.

But Gustave certainly struggled in his first showing on Sunday in an intrasquad game, giving up a walk on four pitches, and then later, allowing four straight solid hits.

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Jeffrey Flanagan is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @jflanagankc. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Rain washes out Royals' intrasquad contest

Rain washes out Royals' intrasquad contest

SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Heavy rains washed out the Royals' intrasquad game on Monday, and manager Ned Yost said the club doesn't plan on making it up on Tuesday.

"Hopefully the conditions will be better Tuesday and we can have our normal routine then," Yost said.

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Jeffrey Flanagan is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @jflanagankc. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Royals impressed with Infante's perseverance

Second baseman battled various injuries last season

Royals impressed with Infante's perseverance

SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Royals second baseman Omar Infante had one of the most demanding physical seasons of his career in 2014.

Infante battled through shoulder issues, elbow issues and back issues. He was nailed in the face by a pitch. His right arm throbbed throughout September and the postseason.

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Jeffrey Flanagan is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @jflanagankc. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Hochevar straight forward on throwing curveballs

Hochevar straight forward on throwing curveballs

SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Right-hander Luke Hochevar remembers the exact pitch that he blew out his elbow on last Spring Training -- a curveball.

"I remember throwing it and I felt a pop and burn," Hochevar said on Sunday. "I didn't think a whole lot about it at the time because I'd been battling tightness and soreness since 2010 really. Then, I threw a cutter to get the final out of that inning and got back to the bench, and I started to wonder what was going on.

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Jeffrey Flanagan is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @jflanagankc. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

MLB.com Columnist

Tracy Ringolsby

Gordon emerges as standout of impressive '05 Draft class

Royals star more consistent than peers Braun, Zimmerman and Tulo

Gordon emerges as standout of impressive '05 Draft class

SURPRISE, Ariz. -- In the midst of a discussion of the importance of the coming season for Brewers outfielder Ryan Braun, Milwaukee general manager Doug Melvin paused, and smiled.

"The game is a challenge," he said. "A few years ago, there were questions about Alex Gordon, and the buzz was about Braun, [Troy] Tulowitzki and [Ryan] Zimmerman. Now? They've all had their problems the last couple years and you'd say Gordon has become the most consistent."

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Tracy Ringolsby is a columnist for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.