Royals focused on improving number of HRs

Additions of Morales, Rios should help add more power to lineup

Royals focused on improving number of HRs

In the days leading up to Opening Day, MLB.com is examining various aspects of each team's roster. Today, the time has come to focus on a key number for the upcoming season. For the Royals, it's 95: Major League-worst home run total in 2014.

SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Back in 2013, former Royals hitting coach Jack Maloof infamously conceded that the Royals likely would "lead the league in fewest home runs" that season.

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

Eibner's two homers back Ventura's fine start

Eibner's two homers back Ventura's fine start

SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Royals farmhand Brett Eibner came into the game with a 1.077 slugging percentage and he promptly belted two more homers, his second a two-run shot in the ninth that helped the Royals earn a 4-4 tie with the Dodgers on Wednesday at Surprise Stadium.

"He had a real good spring," Royals manager Ned Yost said of Eibner. "We've just been waiting for him to get healthy at some point and he is now. Now, we got an idea [what he can do]."

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

Coleman looking to stick on Royals' roster

Coleman looking to stick on Royals' roster

SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Right-hander Louis Coleman knows he is sitting clearly on the roster bubble.

But, he said, he's used to it.

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

Royals mulling eight-man 'pen or position player

Reliever Madson, outfielder Orlando looking to earn roster spots

Royals mulling eight-man 'pen or position player

SURPRISE, Ariz. -- As the Royals head into the final few days before Opening Day on Monday, manager Ned Yost said he has seen everything he needs to see.

But Yost also conceded that his club won't have its final 25-man roster set until Sunday, mainly because they're waiting to see what moves other teams are going to make over the next few days.

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

For Gordon, no time like the present

Off triumphant season, Royals' left fielder not weighed down by contract status

For Gordon, no time like the present

In the days leading up to Opening Day, MLB.com is examining various aspects of each team's roster. Today, the time has come to focus on a key player for the upcoming season. For the Royals, that's left fielder Alex Gordon.

SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Just how the 2015 Royals will fare will depends greatly on their quiet leader, two-time All-Star and four-time American League Gold Glove Award winner Alex Gordon.

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

Guthrie limits Padres to one run in final spring outing

Balanced offense led by two hits each from Morales and Moustakas

Guthrie limits Padres to one run in final spring outing

PEORIA, Ariz. -- Jeremy Guthrie certainly didn't look like a No. 5 starter Tuesday, holding the Padres to one run over six innings as the Royals defeated the Padres, 4-1, at the Peoria Sports Complex.

Guthrie walked one and struck out six and Kendrys Morales and Mike Moustakas each had two hits as the Royals improved to 18-10.

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

Hochevar will begin season rehabbing in Triple-A

Royals reliever must build arm strength before joining bullpen

Hochevar will begin season rehabbing in Triple-A

SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Right-hander Luke Hochevar, who is rehabbing from Tommy John surgery, will start the season on the disabled list at Triple-A Omaha, Royals manager Ned Yost said Tuesday.

Hochevar, just over a year removed from his surgery, has had an effective spring, posting a 2.25 ERA in four Cactus League games. But Hochevar is not yet able to go on back-to-back days.

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

Blanton to provide bullpen depth at Triple-A Omaha

Royals' veteran pitcher accepted assignment, rather than opting out

Blanton to provide bullpen depth at Triple-A Omaha

SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Right-hander Joe Blanton has accepted an assignment to Triple-A Omaha to start the season, manager Ned Yost said Tuesday.

Blanton has a 2.79 ERA in three Cactus League games. The Royals view the veteran starter as needed depth at Omaha.

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

Fans can watch 161 Royals games on TV this season

SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Royals fans are in for a special treat this season -- a record 161 games will be televised.

The Royals have 150 regional telecasts scheduled on FOX Sports Kansas City. Eleven national TV appearances push the total to 161.

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

Yost likes how Royals set up for 2015 season

Yost likes how Royals set up for 2015 season

SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Royals manager Ned Yost sat down for a Q&A with MLB.com about the 2015 season and the pain of how the '14 season ended.

Flanagan: What have you liked the most about your team this spring?

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

Moose's slam powers Royals' seven-run frame

Moose's slam powers Royals' seven-run frame

SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Rangers starter Lisalverto Bonilla gave up seven runs in the first inning, including a grand slam to Mike Moustakas, and the Royals went on to an 11-7 victory on Monday at Surprise Stadium.

Bonilla faced eight batters in the first and allowed seven to reach base on five hits, a walk and a hit batter. The home run by Moustakas was his second of the spring. Alex Gordon and Eric Hosmer both had three-hit afternoons for the Royals.

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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.

Gordon's timing right in belting first spring HR

Gordon's timing right in belting first spring HR

SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Royals manager Ned Yost said he is not concerned with left fielder Alex Gordon's slow start this spring in Cactus League games.

"He's still getting his timing down," Yost said. "He'll be fine.

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

Versatile Merrifield caught in numbers game

Versatile Merrifield caught in numbers game

SURPRISE, Ariz. -- In other circumstances, Royals farmhand Whit Merrifield would be a fabulous addition to the 25-man roster for manager Ned Yost.

"He's a super utility guy who is very versatile," Yost said.

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

Gore nearing return after being struck in face

Gore nearing return after being struck in face

SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Royals speedy outfielder Terrance Gore, who was a huge baserunning threat last September and October, could resume playing soon after being hit in the face with a pitch in a Minor League game last week.

Gore sustained a fractured jaw, but manager Ned Yost said that Gore did not require his jaw being wired shut. Gore will begin the season with either Class A Advanced Wilmington or Double-A Northwest Arkansas.

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

Royals fans get chance to pick 6th-inning song

Royals fans get chance to pick 6th-inning song

SURPRISE, Ariz. -- The image of Steve Perry, former lead singer of Journey, dancing and singing in the aisles of AT&T Park while rooting for his hometown San Francisco Giants, likely tainted last season's Royals' sixth-inning anthem forever.

Royals fans had chosen "Don't Stop Believin'" as the sixth-inning song played at Kauffman Stadium in 2014 -- that selection, of course, stopped once the Royals met the Giants in the World Series. The replacement song became KISS' "I Want to Rock and Roll All Night."

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

Alex Gordon shows how Game 7 might have ended

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Alex Gordon shows how Game 7 might have ended

We all remember how Game 7 of the 2014 World Series ended: Alex Gordon, representing the possible tying run, wound up stuck on third base forever more. Since then, at least 700,000 parallel universes have been created based on the speculation that he should have been waved home, which would have led to a dramatic showdown between Gordon and Giants catcher Buster Posey at the plate -- and, possibly, a Royals win.

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Madson shows he still has plenty to offer Royals

After years of struggling with injuries, right-hander has productive camp

Madson shows he still has plenty to offer Royals

SURPRISE, Ariz. -- When Ryan Madson came into camp this spring with the Royals, he wanted to prove to himself he's healthy enough to pitch again in the Major Leagues. That mission has been accomplished.

"It has been a challenge," said the veteran right-hander who has been with Kansas City this spring as a non-roster invitee with a chance to make the big league team. "I've been away from it for so long. It took a lot of determination and hard work and just the grind. The time off put a lot of rust on."

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Barry M. Bloom is a national reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, Boomskie on Baseball. Follow @boomskie on Twitter. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Sharp Volquez fans eight in loss to Cubs

Right-hander allows two earned runs over five-plus frames

Sharp Volquez fans eight in loss to Cubs

SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Veteran Cubs right-hander Edwin Jackson found the ballpark on Sunday, but he's still trying to find his spot in the rotation with only a week to go in the Cactus League season.

Jackson was pitted against another veteran, right-hander Edinson Volquez, starting his first season with the Royals in a game the Cubs won, 7-0.

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Barry M. Bloom is a national reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, Boomskie on Baseball. Follow @boomskie on Twitter. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Royals rebound with five-run seventh to down D-backs

Orlando, Infante each have three hits in win; Duffy fans seven

Royals rebound with five-run seventh to down D-backs

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- A five-run seventh was capped by RBI doubles from Paulo Orlando and Moises Sierra as the Royals completed a comeback win, 10-5, over the D-backs Saturday at Salt River Fields at Talking Stick.

Two-run homers by Paul Goldschmidt and A.J. Pollock helped give the D-backs a two-run lead entering the seventh, but Robbie Ray struggled in relief, allowing five runs in two innings.

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Steve Gilbert is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Inside the D-backs, and follow him on Twitter @SteveGilbertMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Royals won't skip No. 5 Guthrie despite early off-day

Regular season rotation taking shape

Royals won't skip No. 5 Guthrie despite early off-day

SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Though the Royals will have an off-day during the first week of the regular season, manager Ned Yost said he will not skip right-hander and No. 5 starter Jeremy Guthrie in the rotation.

Last year, Yost, for the most part, kept his No. 1 starter, James Shields, on a strict schedule of throwing every fifth day.

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

Yost: Cain sacrifices power for all-around game

Manager believes last year's breakout center fielder could hit 15-20 homers

Yost: Cain sacrifices power for all-around game

SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Last season unquestionably was a breakthrough season for Royals center fielder Lorenzo Cain, who hit .301 and was named the American League Championship Series Most Valuable Player.

But the Royals still don't know what Cain's ceiling is, especially in terms of his power.

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

MLB.com Columnist

Lyle Spencer

Rios feels sky-high about 2015 Royals

After down season, veteran outfielder is rejuvenated in Kansas City

Rios feels sky-high about 2015 Royals

SURPRISE, Ariz. -- In the company of one of the liveliest bands of players in baseball, Alex Rios is reinvigorated. The American League champion Royals are taking the graceful, athletic right fielder back to his youth following a dark, injury-derailed season in Texas.

"I'm 34 years old," Rios said, "and I feel like a 20-year-old kid."

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Lyle Spencer is a national reporter and columnist for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @LyleMSpencer. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Gore suffers broken jaw in Minor League game

Speedy outfielder hit by a pitch Friday

Gore suffers broken jaw in Minor League game

SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Terrance Gore, the Royals' speedster outfielder who became a baserunning weapon for the Royals last September and October, suffered a fractured jaw when he was hit by a pitch in a Minor League game Friday, according to manager Ned Yost.

Yost said he just learned about the injury on Saturday morning and did not have further details.

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

Ventura dazzles with his Opening Day form

Ventura dazzles with his Opening Day form

SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Royals ace Yordano Ventura figured out he had a no-hitter going on Friday night somewhere around the fifth inning.

That's when he had a message for catcher Salvador Perez.

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

Ventura paces Royals with 7 hitless frames

Ventura paces Royals with 7 hitless frames

SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Royals Opening Day starter Yordano Ventura appeared sharp and ready for the season to begin, throwing seven no-hit innings in a 5-1 win over the Mariners on Friday night at Surprise Stadium.

Ventura walked two and struck out four before exiting in favor of Jason Frasor, who gave up the first hit to the Mariners, a one-out RBI single by Tyler Smith in the eighth.

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Jeffrey Flanagan is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @FlannyMLB. Greg Johns is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @GregJohnsMLB as well as his Mariners Musings blog. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Rios not concerned over aggravated right thumb injury

Yost being cautious with outfielder, who may not play until Sunday

Rios not concerned over aggravated right thumb injury

SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Royals right fielder Alex Rios' injured right thumb is not a major concern to him.

Rios aggravated the thumb injury -- the same injury that set him back last season and stripped him of his power (four homers in 2014) -- during his final at-bat Wednesday night.

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

Royals send well wishes to recovering superfan

Faseler, shot during home invasion, thanks supporters on Twitter

Royals send well wishes to recovering superfan

Jimmy Faseler, the Royals superfan who was shot recently in a home invasion, thanked fans and friends on Twitter for their support as he recovers in a Kansas City area hospital.

Faseler then tweeted, "I probably won't be posting too much for now. I don't have a lot of strength and need to conserve my energy for learning to walk again."

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

Duffy's ascendance a symbol of homegrown success

With Ventura as ace, Royals' top two starters products of farm system

Duffy's ascendance a symbol of homegrown success

SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Overshadowed a bit by the news of Yordano Ventura being named the Royals' Opening Day starter was the fact that another young pitcher has been elevated to the No. 2 spot in the rotation -- left-hander Danny Duffy.

With Ventura and Duffy at the top of the rotation, it represents a changing of the guard for the organization.

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

Ventura to make first Opening Day start

Young right-hander earned start with brilliant postseason performance

Ventura to make first Opening Day start

SURPRISE, Ariz. -- The two worst-kept secrets in Royals camp all spring -- who would be the Opening Day starter and what the rotation would be -- were officially revealed by manager Ned Yost on Wednesday.

Right-hander Yordano Ventura will start on Opening Day on April 6 against Jeff Samardzija and the White Sox.

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