Power-hitting Robinson competing at first base

Power-hitting Robinson competing at first base

SURPRISE, Ariz. -- There are three Robinsons in Royals camp -- Robinson Tejeda, Clint Robinson and Derrick Robinson -- but only one is a Triple Crown winner. That's Clint, a big first baseman who topped the Texas League in the three essential categories with 29 home runs, 98 RBIs and a .335 average for Northwest Arkansas.

"It was kind of surprising," Robinson said. "We had Mike Moustakas with us for about 70 games, and his numbers would have been way past anything any of us would've done. So for me to just kind of keep pace and take up the slack when he left, that helped us get to the playoffs."

When Moustakas was promoted to Triple-A, Eric Hosmer was brought into Northwest Arkanas. The Naturals won the Texas League title and hit up a storm.

"Having Hosmer hitting in front of me helped me; we all kind of protected each other. The opposing pitchers had nowhere to go, because there was no break in that lineup," Robinson said. "So you just kind of beat up on 'em and beat up on 'em. So I'm sure that helped with as high as my numbers were."

Robinson batted fourth in the lineup all season.

"You get to hit behind two or three of the best prospects in baseball, and it's fun to watch," he said. "Even though these guys are three or four years younger than I am, I'm still learning as a player and developing my game. And to watch them succeed and to pick from their brains what they're doing, it definitely helps you out as a hitter. You're watching Hosmer and Moustakas tear these guys apart and you start to pick up on things. Look what he did -- maybe that'll work."

Robinson is competing at first with a strong cast of Billy Butler, Kila Ka'aihue and Hosmer.

"You've got two proven big leaguers and one of the top five prospects in baseball," he said. "It can't do anything but help me, whether I go to Omaha or go to the big leagues. At least I get to be out here and share the experience with them, learn and keep progressing, then go into the season and try to have the kind of year I had last year."

Robinson, 26, has banged 74 homers in his four Minor League seasons with 285 RBIs and a .307 average.

"He's a kid that's got some real interesting qualities about his game," manager Ned Yost said. "He can really hit and he can hit with power. We're a little log-jammed, and we'll just have to find him a position where we can utilize that offensive production at the big league level."

Robinson came into Spring Training early as he recovers from an elbow injury that popped up in his brief winter ball fling in Puerto Rico. At least he escaped a possible foot injury as a result of the Triple Crown.

"They gave me a big three-star trophy that weighed about 40 pounds -- and they didn't warn me -- and I almost dropped it on myself," he said.