Notes: Sweeney weighing options

Notes: Sweeney weighing options

KANSAS CITY -- Longtime Royals captain Mike Sweeney is keeping a low profile as he experiences life as a free agent.

After 13 years in Kansas City, Sweeney remains interested in re-signing with the Royals, but that's probably a long shot.

Sweeney says his agent, ex-Royal Keith Miller, is keeping in contact with several clubs, but prefers not to identify those teams, except for one -- the Royals.

General manager Dayton Moore was asked recently if there was anything new on Sweeney. "No," he said. "We've got 40 players on our roster, and we can keep 25. We'd have to make some kind of trade to create room and create opportunity, and I'm not sure where we go with that. I'd love to be able to figure something out. I just don't know what we could do."

Sweeney hopes to sign with a team soon -- perhaps next week -- but says his future remains uncertain. His health, often a factor in recent years, does not fall into the uncertain category, though.

"My back is great and my knee is just fine," he said. "I'm probably in the best shape of my career."

Hudson in picture: Right-hander Luke Hudson said his surgically-repaired shoulder is much improved and he's ready to pitch.

"After what I did last year, I don't want to rush, but I expect to compete for a job," he said. "I'll be bummed out if I don't break camp with the team."

Hudson, a pleasant surprise in 2006 when he went 7-6, pitched just once last season and underwent surgery last June 28.

He's been throwing off the mound for nearly four weeks and estimates his shoulder strength is 90 percent.

Wathan into Hall: Former Royals player and manager John Wathan will be inducted into the Missouri Sports Hall of Fame on Feb. 10 at Springfield, Mo.

Wathan is entering his 36th year in baseball and his 32nd with the Royals as an assistant in player development. He played 10 years for the Royals and was on the World Series clubs of 1980 and 1985. He was the club manager in 1987-91 and was also a broadcaster.

"Not many guys get fired three times and keep coming back like a bad penny," Wathan said.

The 2008 Hall of Fame class of 15 also includes former Cardinals star Keith Hernandez and the football Chiefs' Neil Smith.

Early show: Staff ace Gil Meche expects to be among the pitchers getting an early, informal start at the Surprise, Ariz., camp. Several pitchers plan to start throwing as early as Feb. 7, a week before the official reporting date.

"It's actually smart that we do this. It's nice outside," Meche said. "You can work out indoors here [in Kansas City], but it's not the same feel. It's good to go there and get in that weather."

Secret sumthin's: Left-handed reliever Jimmy Gobble was asked if he was working on anything new down there in Bristol, Va.

"If I told you, then it wouldn't be a secret, would it?" Gobble said. "I am working on a couple things, but we'll save 'em for April and May and June and July when everybody says, 'What's he throwing?'"

Gobble paused a moment.

"But, yeah, I'm working on two new sumthin's," he said.

Less of Bale: Left-hander John Bale, who'll get a look as a starter in Spring Training, came to the first Royals FanFest with a leaner look.

"I've lost 20 pounds. I cut out soda and started eating right," he said. "I'm down to my old starting weight I had in Japan."

Bale was both a starter and a reliever in his three years with the Hiroshima Toyo Carp.

Dick Kaegel is a reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.