Moore continues to support Hillman, staff

Moore continues to support Hillman, staff

KANSAS CITY -- Dayton Moore has heard some of the recent criticism lobbed toward Royals manager Trey Hillman.

The Royals general manager watched his club's 18-11 start rapidly disintegrate, and Kansas City is just 19-42 since May 7.

Moore responded to the sharp criticism earlier this week by saying that Hillman would be back for the 2010 season.

"I always try to refrain from making any sort of decisions as far as on-field personnel until after the season," Moore said Sunday before the Royals' game against the Rays. "But as it pertains to Trey specifically, Trey's done and the staff have done and are doing a tremendous job with our baseball team."

A slew of offseason acquisitions and a newly renovated Kauffman Stadium heightened expectations coming into the season, but injuries to closer Joakim Soria, center fielder Coco Crisp, shortstop Mike Aviles and third baseman Alex Gordon forced the Royals to piece together a makeshift roster through most of May and June. The results weren't good, and Hillman bore the brunt of the criticism.

"We understand and acknowledge that this is a process that we're going through here," Moore said. "To use a quote from a wise guy, 'This ground here has been hard here for a long time,' and we're working hard to soften it and move in the right direction."

Hillman was asked about Moore's words of support before Sunday's game. Hillman has heard the criticism, too.

"I understand the frustration," Hillman said. "For our general manager to say that, it certainly gives you a boost of confidence no doubt, and I'm appreciative for that. But I've got ultimate respect for Dayton Moore, I've got ultimate respect for ownership, I've got ultimate respect for this organization. I'm for whatever the organization wants to do. I want to grind through this, go through the hard times and the hard knocks."

And both Moore and Hillman still feel like they're on the right path -- despite the bumps and bruises of this season.

"I've got to stick to my guns and my convictions of what I've learned and what I know is best for the individual guys over the long haul for this organization," Hillman said.

So while criticism may have become more audible over the last two months, Moore said the Royals' front office and coaching staff are still embracing the challenges that face the Royals in the short- and long-term.

"Criticism is part of it, but we know that we're doing things the right way in all aspects of our organization," Moore said. "Are we perfect? No. Do we make mistakes? Yes. But the effort is good, the process is good, and you can't get discouraged."

Rustin Dodd is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.