Tag Archive | "League Veteran"

Westbrook To Make Rehab Start


Springfield, MO – The St. Louis Cardinals have announced that Cardinals RHP Jake Westbrook will make a rehab start for the Springfield Cardinals this Tuesday, June 4.

The Cardinals host the Arkansas Travelers at 7:09pm on Tuesday. Click below to get your tickets right now.

Westbrook, 35, got off to a great start to the 2013 campaign with St. Louis, posting a 2-1 record with a 1.62 ERA through six starts early this year. His finest outing came on April 10 when he dealt a complete game shutout against the Cincinnati Reds, striking out three and scattering only five hits in the dominant performance. Westbrook had limited opponents to one run or fewer in all but two starts this season, prior to being placed on the disabled list on May 12.

The 14-year Major League veteran has compiled a 100-96 record with a 4.24 ERA throughout his career, and helped the Cardinals win the 2011 World Championship with two scoreless relief innings in the World Series against the Texas Rangers.

Originally from Athens, GA, Westbrook was selected by the Colorado Rockies with the 21st overall pick in the 1st round of the 1996 Draft. He made his Major League debut on June 17, 2000 with the New York Yankees, before spending the next 10 years with the Cleveland Indians. Westbrook was acquired by the Cardinals in a three-team trade with the Indians and San Diego Padres on July 31, 2010.

Click here to get your tickets to see Jake Westbrook at Hammons Field this Tuesday!

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Fourteen Players, Three Roster Spots

For the first time in several years, the Royals lineup, starting rotation and bullpen is pretty much set, barring injuries. But opportunities exist for some players to get a spot on the bench.


It’s likely Manager Ned Yost will go with 12 pitchers and a backup catcher. Add the eight position players and the designated hitter and there’s only three reserve player spots available. How many players are vying for those three spots? Fourteen.

Of the fourteen, three of them are long shots. Infielder Brandon Wood signed a Minor League contract and is a non-roster invitee. A former top prospect with the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, Wood’s last stint in the Majors was 99 games with the Pittsburgh Pirates in 2011.

Royals Minor League infielder Anthony Seratelli is a non-roster invitee who provides Spring Training depth, but little else.

Non-roster invitee outfielder Luis Durango played 39 Major League games from 2009-2011 with the San Diego Padres and Houston Astros. He’s likely be in AAA Omaha’s outfield or could be released.

The next group could make the club, but a few things are going to have to go their way. Non-roster invitee Xavier Nady is an 11-year Major League veteran who’s played with several different teams. He’ll get an opportunity as a reserve outfielder or first baseman.

Former Royal and non-roster invitee Endy Chavez will see some time in the outfield during Spring Training, but barring a great spring performance or injuries to other players, Chavez has a slim chance.

The Player to be Named Later in the James Shields/Wade Davis trade is utility infielder Elliot Johnson, who played 123 games for the Tampa Rays last year. Being the Royals newest player, Johnson will get a long look as a backup to shortstop Alcides Escobar.

Non-roster invitee outfielder Willy Taveras provides some speed and seven years of Major League experience. If he has a good spring, he could be a reserve outfielder if Jarrod Dyson falters.

Royals infield prospect Christian Colon only has two seasons of pro baseball, but if he plays well, he might be in the mix for second base. But if the Royals think he needs more seasoning, he’ll go back to the Minors.

Outfielder David Lough played 20 games last year for the Royals, but Dyson will have to stumble for Lough to make the club.

And there’s longtime Royals farmhand Irving Falu, who played 24 games for the Royals in 2012. Seeing how few opportunities the club gives him, it’s likely Falu ends up in Omaha, even if he deserves a real shot of making the club as a utility infielder.

The next group is the most likely to make the club, due to their contributions to the Royals last year or their veteran status.

Whoever loses the second base battle between Chris Getz and Johnny Giavotella will end up on the bench, so that leaves two spots on the bench.

Outfielder Jarrod Dyson had a solid 2012 filling in for the oft-injured Lorenzo Cain. Dyson isn’t much of a hitter, but he’s got speed and plays a decent outfield. If Cain stays healthy, Dyson is a good fourth outfielder and will take the second spot on the bench, with one spot left.

So who gets the last reserve roster spot? I believe the Royals will give it to six-time All-Star and 2002 MVP infielder Miguel Tejada. He’s not the player he was ten years ago, but as a bench player in a limited utility role, he can play a serviceable third base, shortstop and even second. Perhaps “veteran leadership” is a baseball myth, but Tejada has the right attitude to provide guidance for a young team.

Sure, some fans might think the Royals have no business giving a roster spot to a 38-year old player whose best days are behind him. But he’s not taking the starting job of a younger player and you have to admit he’s probably a better player than Yuni Betancourt.

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Royals Sign Endy Chavez


KANSAS CITY, MO (December 31, 2012) – The Kansas City Royals today announced the club has signed outfielder Endy Chavez to a minor league contract for 2013.  The Royals plan to announce the club’s Major League camp non-roster invitees at a later date.

Chavez, 34, is an 11-year Major League veteran.  He made his debut in 2001 with Kansas City after the Royals selected him from the New York Mets organization in the 2000 Rule 5 Draft.  The 6-foot resident of Valencia, Venezuela, is a career .269 hitter with 118 doubles, 32 triples, 26 home runs, 229 RBI, 341 runs and 100 stolen bases for the Royals (2001), Expos (2002-04), Nationals (2005), Phillies (2005), Mets (2006-08), Mariners (2009), Rangers (2011) and Orioles (2012).  The left-handed hitting and throwing outfielder appeared in 64 regular season games with Baltimore last season, also playing in three Division Series games against the Yankees.

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Royals Sign Three To Minor League Deals

KANSAS CITY, MO (December 11, 2012) — The Kansas City Royals announced today that the club has signed three additional players to minor league contracts for the 2013 season.  The club plans to announce Major League Spring Training invitations at a later date.

Left-handed pitcher George Sherrill, 35, is 19-17 with 56 saves and a 3.77 ERA in 442 career Major League appearances, all in relief, for the Mariners (2004-07, 2012), Orioles (2008-09), Dodgers (2009-10) and Braves (2011).  The 2008 American League All-Star made just two appearances for Seattle in 2012 before undergoing Tommy John surgery on his left elbow on May 4.  Born and raised in Tennessee, the current Utah resident has held left-handed batters to a .186 batting average in his Major League career.

Dan Wheeler, who turned 35 on Monday, is 25-43 with a 3.98 ERA in 589 outings over a 13-year Major League career for the Rays (1999-2001, 2007-10), Mets (2003-04), Astros (2004-07), Red Sox (2011) and Indians (2012).  Born in Rhode Island but now living in Florida, Wheeler split the 2012 campaign between the Cleveland Indians and Triple-A Columbus.

Outfielder Willy Taveras, who will turn 31 on Christmas Day, is a seven-year Major League veteran who has compiled a .274 career average with 195 stolen bases for the Astros (2004-06), Rockies (2007-08), Reds (2009) and Nationals (2010).  The Dominican Republic resident led the National League with 68 stolen bases in 75 attempts for Colorado in 2008.  Taveras is currently batting .280 with eight stolen bases in 39 games for Obregon in the Mexican Winter League.

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Meet the newest Royals, Humberto Quintero and Jason Bourgeois

With catchers Salvador Perez and Manny Pina being out for 2-3 months with knee injuries, the Kansas City Royals made a trade Tuesday, acquiring catcher Humberto Quintero and outfielder Jason Bourgeois from the Houston Astros for minor league left-hander Kevin Chapman and a player to be named later. To make room for the newest Royals, the team put Perez and Pina on the 60-day disabled list.

Ever since Perez’s injury, the Royals expressed interest to acquire a catcher outside the organization. There were rumors the Royals invited Ivan Rodriguez to camp, but it ended up being just rumors. Instead, the Royals went the trade route, getting Quintero.

The 32 year-old Quintero is a nine-year major league veteran, playing for the San Deigo Padres from 2003-2004 and with the Houston Astros from 2005-2011. He’s been a career backup catcher, appearing in 379 games. Quintero appeared in 88 games in 2010, the most he’s played in a season.

Quintero’s career line is .234/.268/.321, so the Royals didn’t get him for his hitting. They got him for catching and throwing ability and his major league experience. For now, Quintero expects to play two to four days a week, splitting playing time with Brayan Pena.

It was clear the Royals didn’t see Max Ramirez as a solution, despite his good spring offensive numbers. In fact, Ramirez only started a handful of spring training games as a catcher, so the Royals didn’t have much faith in his catching abilities. Cody Clark doesn’t have major league catching experience and it’s likely the Royals believe Clark would be a better fit for AAA Omaha, where they also need catching help.

There is one concern and hopefully it’s a minor one. This spring, Quintero was out with a bulging disk in his back but returned to action over the weekend. At least it’s not his knee.

As for Bourgeois, the 30 year-old outfielder has four years in the majors, playing for the Chicago White Sox, Milwaukee Brewers and Astros. Bourgeois played 192 major league games in his career with a .262/.307/.324 line with 431 plate appearances and 22 RBIs. His speed and versatility are his main assets, with 46 career stolen bases, with 31 of those in 2011. Bourgeois also hits well against left-handers, with a .328 batting average compared to .205 against right-handers.

Bourgeois is not a everyday player, so Alex Gordon, Lorenzo Cain and Jeff Francoeur have little to worry about. But with his versatility of playing all outfield positions and some second base, players like Mitch Meier and Jarrod Dyson have some competition for the reserve outfielder job. Who knows, maybe Manager Ned Yost might have Bourgeois in the second base mix between Johnny Giavotella, Chris Getz and Yuni Betancourt. It is spring training after all.

Probably not. The Royals see Bourgeois as a right-handed reserve outfielder who’s a cross between Meier and Dyson. The odd man out in this situation could be Dyson, who bats from the left side but doesn’t have the versatility of a Bourgeois.

Both Bourgeois and Dyson have options remaining, so it’s likely one of them makes the Opening Day roster and the other one goes to Omaha. If Bourgeois goes to Omaha, he would serve as outfield depth in case someone get injured. If Dyson goes to Omaha, he would get more playing time, perhaps improving his chances of developing into an everyday outfielder. If either player makes the Royals roster, it will be as a reserve outfielder.

The Astros get Chapman, a 24 year-old left-handed relief pitcher who played two seasons with A+ Wilmington and AA Northwest Arkansas. His career ERA is high at 5.06, and he gave up 9.1 hits per nine innings. But his strikeouts per nine innings is 12.4, so Chapman gets a lot of strikeouts. Chapman projects to be a reliever if he makes it to the majors. And that could be soon, since he’s with the Astros.

The other player the Astros get is our old friend player to be named later. It’s uncertain who it is, but according to Astros General Manager Jeff Luhnow, this player was a big reason the Astros did the trade. Don’t worry, Royals fans, it’s doubtful the PTBNL are either outfielders Bubba Starling, Wil Myers or pitcher Jake Odorizzi. It better not be, if Dayton Moore wants to keep his job. And if Royals fans want to keep their sanity.

Quintero and Bourgeois are not long-term solutions for the Royals. Quintero was acquired to fill the gap of Perez and Pina being gone for half the season and Bourgeois was acquired to provide outfield depth and perhaps give Dyson and Meier some competition as a reserve outfielder. For now, they fill some holes, if nothing else.

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Quntero, Bourgeois to Royals in exchange for Chapman and PTBNL


SURPRISE, AZ  (March 20, 2012) – The Kansas City Royals today announced that the club has acquired catcher Humberto Quintero and outfielder Jason Bourgeois from the Houston Astros in exchange for minor league pitcher Kevin Chapman and a minor league player to be named.  To make room on the Royals 40-man roster, the club placed catchers Salvador Perez (surgery on left knee for torn meniscus) and Manuel Pina (surgery on right knee for torn meniscus) on the 60-Day Disabled List.


The 32-year-old Quintero (full name is pronounced “hum-BEAR-toe” “kin-TEAR-o”) is a nine-year Major League veteran of the San Diego Padres (2003-04) and Houston Astros (2005-11).  The right-handed hitter batted .240 (63-for-262) with 12 doubles, a triple, two home runs, 25 RBI and 22 runs scored in 79 games with the Astros in 2011.  In 379 career games, Quintero is a .234 hitter with 15 home runs and 94 RBI.  Defensively, he has a career fielding percentage of .992 and has thrown out 53 of 192 attempted basestealers for a 27.6 percent clip.  The five-foot-nine, 216-pounder is originally from Maracaibo, Venezuela, but currently resides in Pearland, Texas.

Bourgeois (pronounced “Boosh-wah”), 30, played in a career-best 93 games for Houston last season, batting .294 (70-for-238) with eight doubles, two triples, one home run, 16 RBI and 30 runs scored.  The speedy and versatile outfielder also recorded 31 stolen bases in 37 attempts while playing all three outfield positions.  In his four-year big league career with the White Sox (2008), Brewers (2009) and Astros (2010-11), Bourgeois compiled a .262 average in 192 games with 46 steals in 56 attempts.  The right-handed hitter is a career .369 (61-for-186) batter against left-handed pitching.  Born and raised in Houston, Texas, he was originally a second-round selection of the Texas Rangers in 2000.

Chapman, 24, split the 2011 season between Wilmington (High A) and Northwest Arkansas (AA).  He was the club’s fourth-round selection in the 2010 Draft out of the University of Florida.

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Spring Training Report #2

Spring Training Report #2: Games Just Days Away
Former Naturals Hitting their Stride in spring

SPRINGDALE, AR – The Kansas City Royals wrapped up their first week of workouts last week, and position players have officially reported and begun to work out this week.  Some of the Highlights from the first week of Spring practice included former Natural Greg Holland.  Holland, who will be competing for a spot in the major league bullpen with a host of others has reportedly come to camp in great shape and thrown several solid sessions in the bullpen.

Some baseball observers believe that Holland has the ability and stuff to be a closer in the near future, although he’s most likely to begin 2012 as the set-up man for Joakim Soria.

Ned Yost has also come out with his “ideal” lineup for the 2012 season.  This lineup has former Natural Johnny Giavotella hitting in the number two spot.   This would indicate that as position players get set to begin their first full week of workouts that Giavotella has a leg up in the competition to earn the starting job at second base.  He will be competing for the spot this spring with major league veteran Chris Getz.

Another former Natural Aaron Crow was in the news in the first week of camp and is expected to get a chance to make the starting rotation this season.  Crow was very successful last season in relief for the Royals.  The primary concern with moving him to the rotation would be his workload having only worked 60.2 innings last season.  Yost has reportedly said that he will be going with a six-man rotation early in spring training due to the large number of pitchers that he has at his disposal, before shaving back down to the traditional five-man rotation for the last couple of weeks of Spring.

The Royals will be playing their opening spring training game on Sunday March 4 when they take on the Texas Rangers at 1:05pm.  All games will be webcast on royals.com.

Naturals/Texas League Notes

Naturals in Other CampsJuan Abreu (2009) is in camp with the Astros and is expected to compete to be the team’s closer.  He will be competing against Brandon Lyon and with former Texas Leaguers David Carpenter and Wilton Lopez.  Abreu made his major league debut with Houston last season.  Angel Sanchez (2008) is in camp with Houston as a non-roster invitee and will look to make the roster as a utility infielder after the Astros traded for Jed Lowrie.  Kila Ka’aihue (2008) is also in camp with the Oakland Athletics and is expected to compete for playing time at first base and designated hitter with Daric Barton and former Texas leaguer Chris Carter (Midland, 2009).  Ka’aihue is out of options, and must make the big league roster or be exposed to waivers prior to being sent to the minor leagues.  Former right-hander Jeff Fulchino (2008) is competing with among others major league veteran Chad Durbin for a bullpen role with the Washington Nationals.  Other former Naturals in spring training this season include Dan Cortes (Nationals), and a trio of players who are in camp with the Atlanta Braves  Dusty Hughes (2008), first baseman Ernesto Mejia (2010), and outfielder Jordan Parraz (2009).

Transactions:  The Royals extended the contract of former Naturals’ catcher Salvador Perez on February 27th.  Perez agreed to a five year deal worth $7 million in guaranteed money and the deal includes three options that could potentially keep Perez in Kansas City until 2019.  The deal makes Perez the first former Natural to sign a multi-year major league deal.

Manny’s Surgery:  One of the early stories in camp this season for the Royals was the injury to Manny Pina.  Pina was expected to compete for the back-up catcher job with the Royals, but suffered a knee injury twisting his knee while trying to catch a foul-tip during batting practice on February 23.  The injury was later revealed to be a torn meniscus, and Pina has undergone surgery, and could miss the rest of spring training.  He is projected to miss 3-4 weeks depending on how quickly he recovers after surgery.

Other Injury Notes: Several former Naturals were also hampered by a flu-bug that was passed around the clubhouse during the first week of spring training.  The players affected included Jake Odorizzi, Everett Teaford.  Paulo Orlando was diagnosed with a sports hernia on February 22, it is not yet known how much time he will miss, or whether surgery will be required.  He flew to Philadelphia late last week to see a specialist.

Check nwanaturals.com for our Spring Training Report, where we’ll continue to follow Royals’ minor leaguers in spring training as well as cover other baseball information that pertains to the Naturals and the Texas League.

The Northwest Arkansas Naturals are the Double-A Texas League affiliate of the Kansas City Royals and play at state-of-the-art Arvest Ballpark, located in Springdale.  Visit our website, nwanaturals.com, for information on season tickets and ticket plans.

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Spring Training Report #1: Naturals Reporting To Camp

Spring Training Report #1: Naturals reporting to Camp
Former Naturals Looking to Turn Heads this Spring

Photo Courtesy of Minda Haas

SPRINGDALE, AR – The Kansas City Royals have opened spring training with pitchers and catchers already reporting to camp.  Position players will be reporting this Friday, although a number of them have already reported to the Surprise, Arizona facility.  The Royals are looking to build off a season that saw several of their young prospects and former Naturals make their major league debuts.
Former Naturals Eric Hosmer, Mike Moustakas, and Salvador Perez all enter camp in new roles as projected starters this season, rather than battling to try an earn a spot on the big league roster as they have in past seasons.  Hosmer is coming off a year where he hit 19 home runs and drove home 78 in just 128 games in the major leagues.  He finished third last season in Rookie of the Year voting behind Tampa Bay Rays starting pitcher Jeremy Hellickson, and Los Angeles Angels outfielder Mark Trumbo.  Moustakas had his best month as a major leaguer in September when he batted .352 with four home runs and 12 RBI.  Perez made great strides in working with the pitching staff in 2011 and was strong at the plate posting a .331 average in Kansas City.
Another Natural, Johnny Giavotella is in camp after also making his major league debut in August last season.  Giavotella is expected to battle major league veteran Chris Getz for the starting job at second base.
Former Naturals Jarrod Dyson, Paulo Orlando, David Lough, Wil Myers, and Derrick Robinson are also in major league camp competing with Mitch Maier and the newly signed Greg Golson to make the major league roster as a fourth outfielder.
The pitching staff is where most of competition will be this spring.  The starting rotation potentially has two positions that several players will be competing for with Luke HochevarJonathan Sanchez, and Bruce Chen considered to have already secured spots. Former Naturals Danny Duffy, Aaron Crow, Mike Montgomery, are expected to compete for a job at the back end of the rotation along with Pacific Coast League Pitcher of the Year Luis Mendoza and Felipe Paulino.  Several former Naturals are looking to nail down a spot in the bullpen as well.  Louis Coleman, Greg Holland, Kelvin Herrera, Jeremy Jeffress, Everett Teaford, and Blake Wood are among those competing with offseason acquisitions Jose Mijares and Tommy Hottovy.
Other former Naturals in major league camp include pitchers Chris Dwyer, Jake Odorizzi, Will Smith, Zach Miner, Roman Colon, catchers Manny Pina and Cody Clark, and infielders Irving Falu and Clint Robinson.

Naturals/Texas League Notes

Naturals in Other Camps: At least eight former Naturals players are also showing up in other big league spring training camps around major league baseball.   Right-hander Juan Abreu (2009) has reported to camp with the Houston Astros after making his major league debut last season.  He’ll be joined by infielder Angel Sanchez (2008), an Astros’ non-roster invitee.  Kila Ka’aihue is also in camp with the Oakland Athletics and is expected to compete for playing time at first base and designated hitter with Daric Barton and former Texas leaguer Chris Carter (Midland, 2009).  Ka’aihue is out of options, and must make the big league roster or be exposed to waivers prior to being sent to the minor leagues.  Former Naturals’ starter Dan Cortes (2008-09) is in camp after signing a big league deal with the Washington Nationals following his release from the Seattle Marinerrs.  Right-hander Jeff Fulchino, who spent an abbreviated two-game stint with the Naturals in the first week of their history, joins him in Nationals’ camp as a non-roster player.

A trio of former Naturals – left-hander Dusty Hughes (2008), first baseman Ernesto Mejia (2010), and outfielder Jordan Parraz (2009) – are also in big league camp, with the Atlanta Braves, as non-roster invitees.

‘Manny being Manny’ at Arvest???  Divisive big league slugger Manny Ramirez agreed to terms on a contract with the Oakland Athletics this week.  Manny will have to serve a 50-game suspension violating major league baseball’s substance abuse policy.  There is a provision that would allow Ramirez to play a ten game stint in the minor leagues before joining the Athletics roster for their 51st game – which would be a road contest May 30th against the Minnesota Twins.  This would put him on track to possibly begin a minor league stint on or around May 20th.  It is too early to speculate on where he may appear, or what minor league teams he may be with, but the Midland Rockhounds, Oakland’s Double-A affiliate, will be at Arvest from May 23-25th.  Should he appear in Springdale he would be the biggest name to rehab at Arvest Ballpark since Kevin Millwood made a rehab start against the Naturals in August of 2008, while on a rehab assignment from the Texas Rangers.

Top 100 Prospects: Several former and future Naturals are listed on the Baseball America top 100 prospect list.  Former Natural Mike Montgomery is ranked 23rd, while Bubba Starling, the fifth over all pick in the 2011 draft, is right behind Montgomery ranked 24th. Starling is not likely to see time in Northwest Arkansas before 2014.  The Royals had five players overall make the list, as current Natural Wil Myers is ranked 28th, and Jake Odorizzi is ranked 68th, and Cheslor Cuthbert, a promising third baseman from Nicaragua who is expected to begin the 2012 season with Wilmington, is 84th on the list.  Former Diamond Hog Zack Cox, who spent last season in the Texas League with Springfield, was ranked 88th.  The Royals are one of three teams to have three players make the Top 30 for 2012.  The Mariners and Diamondbacks also accomplished the feat.

Transaction Log: Former Naturals’ right hander Roman Colon returns to the Royals organization after spending the 2011 season in the Los Angeles Dodgers organization pitching for Triple-A Albuquerque.  In 27 appearances the 32-year old Colon posted a 2-1 record and a 4.85 ERA in 27 appearances.  Colon spent the 2010 season pitching in Korea, and has been invited to big league spring training this season, but if he wins a job coming out of camp, that’s likely to be in the bullpen with Triple-A Omaha…The Royals also signed right-hander Steve Kent to a minor league contract.  Kent is a 22-year old Australian right-hander who has spent the last two seasons in Class-A ball in the Atlanta Braves’ system.  He’ll join the cast of arms competing for spots with Kane County and Wilmington, but could advance to Double-A later in the season.  Kent’s career minor league record is 8-10 with a 4.17 ERA in 67 career games, including 30 starts.  He posted a 7.77 ERA in 48 2/3 innings last season for Class-A Rome (GA), where he missed time with injury.

Check nwanaturals.com for our Spring Training Report, where we’ll continue to follow Royals’ minor leaguers in spring training as well as cover other baseball information that pertains to the Naturals and the Texas League.

The Northwest Arkansas Naturals are the Double-A Texas League affiliate of the Kansas City Royals and play at state-of-the-art Arvest Ballpark, located in Springdale.  Visit our website, nwanaturals.com, for information on season tickets and ticket plans.

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