An up-close look at the club as we approach Opening Day
Ready to make the leap: Shealy's path to the Majors was blocked by Todd Helton with the Rockies, but after coming to the Royals, first base is all his. He hit .280, including .301 with runners in scoring position, with seven home runs in 51 games with Kansas City last season.You can bank on: Teahen, who is moving from third base to the outfield, hit .290 and topped the club with 18 home runs in 109 games last season. His slugging percentage increased .141 points from .376 in 2005 to .517 in 2006. His numbers should continue to rise. Litmus test: If Mike Sweeney, who was restricted to 60 games last season because of back injuries, can stay healthy, that would have a sizeable impact on the Royals' offense. The Royals also need Meche to develop into a staff ace, which is a new role for him. Games you don't want to miss: The defending World Series champions and cross-state rival St. Louis Cardinals come to town for a three-game series, June 12-14. The Yankees make two trips, July 23-26 and Sept. 7-9, to Kauffman Stadium.
The Phillies, with NL MVP Ryan Howard, who went to Missouri State, make their first trip to Kansas City since the 1980 World Series from June 9-10.
Alan Eskew is a contributor to MLB.com This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.