Despite skid, no radical roster changes expected

Despite skid, no radical roster changes expected

Despite skid, no radical roster changes expected
KANSAS CITY -- Yes, the Royals had a terrible road trip and cooled off. Yes, their Triple-A team at Omaha and some top prospects have been smokin'. No, don't expect any radical roster changes at this early stage of the season.

"The philosophy is not going to change," Royals general manager Dayton Moore said on Friday. "The player has to perform, they have to have ability and there has to be opportunity. And right now, the sample size of performance isn't what it needs to be to have a comfort level in promoting players to the Major Leagues. There's a huge difference between Triple-A and the Major Leagues."

Omaha first baseman Eric Hosmer was at .408 (31-for-76) with 12 RBIs, designated hitter Clint Robinson at .347 (25-for-72) with six homers and 14 RBIs, and second baseman Johnny Giavotella at .315 (23-for-73) and 13 RBIs. Third baseman Mike Moustakas, after a slow start, was heating up and hit two homers on Thursday night. With the effort, he upped his average to .237 (18-for-76).

That's too few at-bats on which to make a solid judgment, in Moore's view.

"After a guy gets a couple hundred at-bats, you start believing the sample," Moore said.

"We're very confident in the Major League players that we have. We've already massaged the bullpen a little bit, and we're encouraged by the performance of some of our Minor League players, but, at the same time, we need to be sure," Moore said.

Among pitchers, left-hander Danny Duffy has been impressive with a 0.90 ERA in four starts, and 24 strikeouts in 20 innings. Fellow starting lefties Everett Teaford (2.65 ERA) and Mike Montgomery (3.00), and lefty reliever Blaine Hardy (1.13) have also looked good. Of those pitchers, only Teaford is on the 40-man roster, and that's another factor -- such a player can be brought up without first clearing roster space.

Righty relievers Greg Holland and Jesse Chavez also have good numbers, and they're already on the 40-man roster, giving them an edge if bullpen help is needed.

Moore has said he expects Moustakas to surface with the Major League club at some point this season.

"We'll see what happens," Moore said. "Mike Aviles has been playing great, Wilson Betemit has been playing great [at third base], so there's got to be opportunity for him, too."

Aviles did well in a Triple-A stay in the second half of last season, putting him ahead developmentally of Hosmer, Robinson and Giavotella, who are in their first Triple-A seasons.