Gathright ranged deep into the gap to cut off a base hit on one hop.
"I just happened to be out there and I saw how far he went. Speed kills," Hillman said. "That was very impressive and sticks out in my mind today. That kind of speed is a nice thing for us anywhere in our outfield."
Gathright, assumed to be the fourth outfielder, also demonstrated his leg work on a bunt attempt. He was out with pitcher Leo Nunez making a nice scoop but he showed some daring by bunting with two strikes.
"That jumped out at me. I asked him if he was feeling that confident about his bunting game and if that's something he would do during the season," Hillman said. "And he said, 'I'm feeling real good about my bunting game right now and I might be so bold as to try that sometime during the season.' "
Brett Tomko pitched three innings and gave up four hits and two runs. One was unearned as Esteban German got an infield single and scored as Billy Butler's liner went past right fielder Damon Hollins for a three-base error.
Hillman said Tomko didn't show the same downward angle on his pitches as in recent bullpen sessions.
"But the thing I was very pleased with was he was very concentrated pitch to pitch and at-bat to at-bat and controlling it and not getting in a hurry," he said.
Left-hander Jorge De La Rosa was the other starter and gave up two hits and a walk in 2 1/3 scoreless innings.
"His command was OK," Hillman said. "He threw some real good pitches and he did throw a lot of strikes today. He did have some strikes that weren't quality strikes but at least they were strikes and that's a bonus for his first outing."
The game was limited to 4 1/2 innings. Final score: Royals 3, Royals 1. Mitch Maier, Justin Huber and Matt Tupman had doubles for the winners; Hollins and Ken Huckaby each doubled for the losers.
Hillman didn't manage either team; he let coaches do that.
"I just didn't think it was right to get my first win in an intrasquad game," he said slyly.
Moore back in camp: General manager Dayton Moore returned to Surprise after being in Houston during cancer surgery for his mother, Penny Moore.
"She's doing fine. She's out of intensive care and making progress. It'll be a week to 10 days until she's out of the hospital," he said.
Gordon's grandfather dies: Third baseman Alex Gordon will leave camp Sunday for the funeral of his grandfather, A. Charles Gordon, in Nebraska.
Gordon will be back on Tuesday.
Nomo on stage: Japanese comeback aspirant Hideo Nomo is scheduled to be the Royals' second pitcher on Friday against San Diego. There's sure to be a huge contingent of Japanese journalists on hand to record his every pitch and twitch.
"From a managerial standpoint, I hope to see the ball get out of his hand with close to the same location as his last bullpen. It's not just the world according to Trey. I run a check with other people and make sure I'm seeing the same thing as other people. All of us saw the same thing, vast improvements from the first day."
Shealy on shelf: First baseman Ryan Shealy was the latest Royal on sick call, sent home with cold sweat and fever. A cold also knocked pitcher Ryan Braun out of the intrasquad game.
Pitcher John Foster's MRI showed enough back problems for the Royals to send him to a specialist. A non-roster 29-year-old left-hander, Foster missed the 2006 season after having Tommy John surgery. He was signed by the Royals last July and pitched 11 innings in the Minors.
Up next: The Royals' starting pitcher against the Padres at 1:05 p.m. MT will be staff leader Gil Meche. He'll be followed by Nomo, Jimmy Gobble, Joel Peralta, Joakim Soria and Brandon Duckworth.
The Padres' starter is left-hander Shawn Estes.
Dick Kaegel is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.