Hillman stressing fundamentals in '08

Hillman prepping Royals in fundamentals

Royals skipper Trey Hillman is in his first season with the club, having previously managed in Japan. MLB.com sat down with Hillman to talk about the upcoming year.

What's the biggest adjustment you had to make coming from Japan back to U.S. baseball?

I guess just the comfort level of not having an interpreter following me all the time. That's a comfortable thing. Although I loved my interpreter, I didn't like having to send my message through someone else.

What style of baseball can Kansas City fans expect from your team?

Max-effort. Leave it on the field every night.

Why have you had such emphasis on the bunt, slash and stealing in simulated games?

Because it provides a lot of different things to be fundamentally sound, both offensively and defensively.

I hear you get to the clubhouse about 4:30 in the morning. If that's true, what in the world do you do at that hour?

Running lineups and trying to be as fair as possible, and giving guys as many at-bats and, at the same time, take care of the bodies and get them ready for Opening Day.

Coming in here, you must have had some preconceived notions about players. Who's been the most different from what you imagined?

Jose Guillen. Because before I ever met him, I don't think he got a fair shake from his reputation. I think he's extremely approachable. I've never had a problem talking to him. He's been extremely respectful. The word on the streets is he's difficult and I don't find him difficult.

Team-wise, what results will satisfy you at the end of the season?

Knowing that for the entire season we gave everything we had to be fundamentally sound in three areas: Pitching, defense and offense.

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