It’s undeniably been a special couple of seasons for the Royals, and many of the team’s core players tell Bob Nightengale of USA Today that they are enjoying the time they have together for at least the next couple of seasons. To a man, they expressed an interest in sticking around long-term, though of course it would be hard to predict how many will ultimately do so. Meanwhile, GM Dayton Moore suggested that the organization is taking much the same approach. “You can’t be so consumed with what players are going to be here for just this period of time,” he said. “There’s urgency every day. We’re not going to focus on next year, two years, or three years from now. I can’t predict the future. We’re just going to go out there and do the best we can.”
More from the division…
- One Royals newcomer, veteran righty Chien-Ming Wang, is hoping to become the organization’s latest pitching turnaround success, as MLB.com’s Jeffrey Flanagan reports. The sinkerballer has thrown six impressive frames and worked into the mid-90s with his fastball after taking a different approach to his preparation over the winter. Wang, who will soon turn 36, has a May 1 opt-out date but is making a real run to crack the roster in the bullpen.
- Twins right-hander Trevor May is headed to the bullpen to open the season, writes MLB.com’s Rhett Bollinger. GM Terry Ryan told reporters that May took the news “the right way,” though he may not have been privately displeased with the decision. Ryan went on to explain that he still believes May can start for the Twins in the future: “There are other factors in the decision and who is in the rotation and how they’ve done,” said Ryan. “But I don’t know why he couldn’t be a future starter in the Major Leagues. He’s got the pitches, he’s got the strength. He’s shown he can do it. But right now for this ballclub, the better fit is in the bullpen.” With May out of the rotation picture, Tommy Milone, Ricky Nolasco and top prospect Jose Berrios are competing for the final spot behind Ervin Santana, Phil Hughes, Kyle Gibson and Tyler Duffey. Nolasco, notably, has two years and $25MM remaining on his contract with the Twins.
- Michael Brantley’s accelerated recovery from shoulder surgery will take another step in the right direction tomorrow, as MLB.com’s Jordan Bastian writes. Brantley is slated to play four or five innings in the outfield and receive multiple at-bats in a minor league game, per manager Terry Francona. While Francona stopped short of calling Opening Day a possibility, Bastian notes that the opener continues to be Brantley’s goal. Francona noted that Brantley could return to the lineup in early or mid April, either of which would be considerably better for the Indians than initial projections on Brantley’s timeline. Bastian also breaks down the Indians’ potential outfield alignments in the event that Brantley does need to sit out the first couple weeks of the season.