Tag:Eric Hosmer
Posted on: June 7, 2011 1:57 am
 

3 Up, 3 Down: Sweet victory for Danks



By Matt Snyder

John Danks, White Sox. From 2008-2010, Danks was 40-31 with a 3.61 ERA, a 1.24 WHIP and a decent strikeout rate. Basically, he was a very solid No. 3 pitcher and at age 26, he had a good shot to become even more entering 2011. Instead, he started 0-8 with a 5.25 ERA and 1.51 WHIP. The sad thing is, through seven starts, Danks wasn't bad at all. He got little run support in some games and the bullpen blew leads in some others. Then Danks got all focused on that archaic wins and losses total and started to press, even wondering aloud what was wrong with himself. Then he lost confidence and fell apart in a few starts. Fortunately, Danks got off the schneid Monday night. For a while it looked like Danks would have to do it all himself. The White Sox held a tenuous 1-0 lead through six innings, but would tack on two more runs and the bullpen held the lead. Danks worked 7 1/3 innings and allowed only an unearned run. He struck out six and earned his first victory of the season. Good for him.

Brennan Boesch, Tigers. Nelson Cruz of the Rangers hit two home runs and drove home four, but Boesch completely overshadowed him in a 13-7 Tigers win. Boesch got things started with a three-run homer in the first inning and didn't take his foot off the gas. He homered again in his next at-bat and ended the game 5-6 with a double, two home runs, three runs and five RBI. A tip of the cap to Michael Kirkman for getting Boesch to fly out in the seventh (though Kirkman also allowed Boesch's double a few innings earlier).

Eric Hosmer, Royals. The Royals needed 11 innings to score three runs Monday, but came away with the victory. Rookie sensation Eric Hosmer accounted for all three. In the fourth, he reached on an error and then scored. In the seventh, he coaxed a big game-tying, bases-loaded walk. Then, with two outs in the bottom of the 11th, Hosmer came through with a clutch base hit to win the game in walk-off fashion. He's now hitting .304 with 20 RBI in 29 games since being recalled. Maybe it's time to give him Mike Moustakas as protection in the middle of the order? C'mon, Royals, don't make us wait forever.




Padres' offense. Six Rockies' pitchers combined to shut out the Padres Monday night, but it's not as if the Padres weren't given their chances. They collected nine hits and drew four walks, only to strand 11 and take the 3-0 loss. Brad Hawpe struck out with runners on second and third to end the first and Alberto Gonzalez struck out with the bases loaded to end the eighth -- and this was when it was only 1-0 Rockies. There were several other chances, but those were just the two most egregious. That's how you rank in the top three in NL ERA and still sit in last place.

Javier Vazquez, Marlins. Just when it looked like Vazquez had turned a slight corner, he was obliterated by the Brewers. Eight hits and six runs in four innings was the line, with the big blow coming courtesy of Prince Fielder in the third inning. The ERA has now ballooned all the way back up to 6.50 for Vazquez and the Marlins are officially reeling. They've lost five in a row, including getting swept in four games to the Brewers -- who entered the series 9-19 on the road.

The Cubs. Seven straight losses, baserunning blunders, bad errors, balls misplayed in the outfield and a team that is completely falling apart in nearly every way. For Cubs fans, 2008 is sure a distant memory ... and it was only three years ago. The rest of the road trip shows two more at Cincinnati and three at Philly. Oh, and then they return home for a seven-game homestand against the Brewers and Yankees. It's hard to see things going well any time soon.

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Posted on: May 29, 2011 10:02 pm
Edited on: May 29, 2011 10:05 pm
 

Royals Pena says fear didn't back him up

Brayan Pena

By C. Trent Rosecrans

Royals catcher Brayan Pena said he made a mistake at the end of Sunday's loss to the Rangers, but it had nothing to do with fear or Buster Posey or anything like that, it was a simple mistake of not knowing exactly where he was.

"I know you have to ask that question, but no," Pena told reporters, including the Kansas City Star's Bob Dutton, when asked if he had tried to avoid contact on the play. "That's part of my job -- to go out there and get hit. I just really thought I had home plate blocked. But I guess not."

After Nelson Cruz led off the ninth inning with a homer to tie the game, Napoli singled. And with two outs and Napoli still on first, Elvis Andrus singled to right and Rangers third base coach Dave Anderson waved him home.

First baseman Eric Hosmer's relay throw was in plenty of time to get Napoli, who was barreling in on Pena, who then took a step back off the plate, appearing to brace for impact. Napoli slid and Pena tagged him on the chest after his foot touched the plate -- and give a ton of credit to home plate umpire Mike Eastbrook, who made a difficult call correctly at the plate.

Pena slammed the ball down after the call and argued he made the tag -- and it was obvious he thought he did at the time. But then, after the game, he saw the video. See the video here.

"I could tell he was safe," Pena said. "Everything was perfect, too. The guys did a great relay. Hosmer threw a perfect strike. It was on me."

The question, even with hindsight, was there a decision on a subconscious level to take a step back, to brace himself for contact or to try to avoid being injured like Posey? If so, it's natural, but still one that's sure to be frowned up by teammates and fans alike.

As for the Rangers side of the story, remember Anderson was criticized for his decision to send Josh Hamilton home on a pop up last month, which resulted not only in an out, but in an injury to the reigning American League MVP.

"Sometimes you have to be aggressive out there and take chances," Anderson told the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. "How the game was going on, something crazy was going to happen to have this game over with. With two outs, you take a chance."

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Posted on: May 24, 2011 10:14 am
Edited on: May 24, 2011 11:02 am
 

Pepper: Brian Fuentes criticizes manager Geren



By Evan Brunell

FUENTES BLOWS UP: Brian Fuentes, the Athletics closer, had some strong words for manager Bob Geren after losing his seventh game of the year. He's now blown five of seven tie games and Fuentes isn't happy about the skipper's communication skills, saying Geren has handled his communication with the reliever poorly.

"There’s just no communication," Fuentes says. "Two games, on the road, bring the closer in a tied game, with no previous discussions of doing so. And then, tonight, in the seventh inning, I get up. I haven’t stretched, I haven’t prepared myself. If there was some communication beforehand I would be ready to come into the game  -- which I was, when I came into the game, I was ready. Just lack of communication. I don’t think anybody really knows which direction he’s headed."

Fuentes really shouldn't be complaining about being brought in during a tie game on the road. The general rule of thumb is that you deploy your closer with a tie at home or lead on the road, but that doesn't mean everyone has to follow that tenet -- not to mention that rule of thumb is a pretty weak one. You bring in your best reliever for the situation that demands it most, end of story.

That aside, it appears as if Geren doesn't have the right pulse on Fuentes -- or maybe even the bullpen as a whole. Fuentes says it's difficult to adhere to what appears to be a random schedule, instead of being afforded time to stretch and prepare for coming into the game in the eighth or ninth. Again, we're seeing "established" rules for closers with no reason for being established causing problems. In Fuentes' defense, however, he didn't trailblaze these established rules -- he's just following them and it's easy to see how he thinks they're a valuable part of his preparation. From the manager's perspective, though, Fuentes may have very well been the best choice to come into the seventh inning. The problem is when you don't communicate effectively.

"I thought he misspoke," Fuentes said of when he first learned Geren wanted him in the game in the seventh. "I thought it was some sort of miscommunication, but he said, ‘No, you’re up,’ so I got up and cranked it up. You can’t try to guess along with them. Very unpredictable."

Fuentes adds that this hasn't been a situation that's been slowly getting worse; rather, it's fairly recent and Fuentes first became displeased when Oakland traveled to San Francisco this past weekend. Or maybe it's because Fuentes has a 6.48 ERA in 8 1/3 May innings.

"I think the games in San Francisco were some unorthodox managing," he noted. "I thought it was maybe the National league thing, that maybe that had something to do with it, but [Monday] was pretty unbelievable."

Just don't expect Fuentes to be the one to initiate communication. He's going to leave that up to Geren.

"I can’t predict the future. If he decides to take that step, then there will be communication. If not, I’ll make sure I’m ready from the first." (MLB.com)

LOSING CONFIDENCE: Wins and losses don't matter from an evaluation perspective, that much is clear. But for a pitcher, it can be pretty demoralizing to see an 0-7 mark next to his name, like John Danks is dealing with despite a 4.34 ERA that is plenty good enough to keep him in the rotation, as manager Ozzie Guillen said. "It’s getting harder and harder," Danks said. "That's the blunt truth. But like I said, it doesn’t do me any good to sit and dwell on it or feel sorry for myself. I got to come in ready to work and have myself ready for my next strart. That’s how I’ll go about it." (Chicago Tribune)

RANDY POFFO, BASEBALL PLAYER: Before "Macho Man" Randy Savage became a sensation in the wrestling world, he was an aspiring baseball player with a tremendous work ethic who just didn't have the talent to go beyond Class A. But that didn't stop Savage, whose real name was Randy Poffo, from trying. (Sports Illustrated)

SAVAGE HOMER: When Brewers GM Doug Melvin heard that Savage had died, it took him a while to figure out that Savage was the same Poffo who played in the minor leagues. "I think he hit a homer off me," Melvin said, hearkening back to 1972 when the two would have been on opposing rookie-ball teams. Unfortunately, Melvin was unable to verify this, as he could not find boxscores. (MLB.com)

MOVING ON: It's hard to, but Francisco Rodriguez is trying to move on from the much-publicized altercation with his ex-girlfriend's father last season. Rodriguez is off to a fantastic start as closer and appears to have made major strides mentally. (New York Daily News)

MANAGING FOR THE FANS: In case it's not clear for you just yet, Jim Leyland manages for the fans, not with fans. Leyland didn't take too kindly to being second-guessed for taking Rick Porcello out of a game in which he was one-hitting the Pirates after eight innings with 84 pitches. Closer Jose Valverde finished off the win, and Leyland went on a rant Monday about being second-guessed. (Detroit Free-Press)

START 'ER UP: The Cardinals will put Mitchell Boggs into the rotation at Triple-A after the reliever was demoted in a bit of a surprising move on Monday. The transition to the rotation isn't permanent, but it will afford St. Louis some security in rotation depth as well as allow Boggs to fine-tune his secondary offerings. (FoxSportsMidwest.com)

GOING OPPOSITE: David Ortiz seems to be taking a page out of Adrian Gonzalez's book, as Big Papi is going to the opposite field more than he ever has before, banging balls off the Green Monster. Of Ortiz's 27 hits at home so far, 14 have gone the opposite way. Compare that to a full-season total of 16 in 2008. (WEEI)

MOVE THE WALLS: Padres manager Bud Black might be getting sick of the decrepit Padres offense. Black has avoided all comment about possibly moving the walls of Petco Park in, but admitted Monday he thought there was "room for discussion." (MLB.com)

GLOVE MAN: What can't Eric Hosmer do? All the focus has been on Hosmer's offense, but he sports a pretty good glove too. Alcides Escobar thinks so, smiling enthusiastically when asked about Hosmer's defense. (Kansas City Star)

SLOW AND STEADY: Adam Lind still hasn't played in a game since May 7 thanks to a sore back, but that could finally be coming Wednesday. Once Lind returns from his minor-league rehab assignment, he'll return to first base but will see starts at DH mixed in to ease him back physically. (MLB.com)

DAT DUDE: Brandon Phillips' Twitter account is among the best in sports and has turned him into a marketing machine who fans adore. That's quite a ways from the kind of person he was in Cleveland. This is a nice profile of Phillips and how Twitter has impacted him. (MLB.com)

SELLING OUT: The Double-A Dayton Dragons are at 799 consecutive sellouts and if all goes according to plan, July 9 is when the Dragons will take out the Portland Trail Blazers for most consecutive sellouts in sports history. However, 40-60 tickets a game for the 7,230-seat stadium remain, although the team does not appear concerned about that posing an issue. (Dayton Daily News)

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Posted on: May 18, 2011 5:17 pm
Edited on: May 18, 2011 5:19 pm
 

On Deck: Duffy's coronation


By C. Trent Rosecrans

ROYAL DEBUT: We recently saw the start of the Royals' rich minor league system infiltrate the big leagues with the promotion of Eric Hosmer (.270/.349/.568 in 10 games), and now we're beginning to see what really may be the strength of the team's system -- left-handed pitching. Duffy is one of four left-handed starters ranked in the top 10 of Baseball America's ranking of Royals prospects (deemed perhaps the best system ever) -- and third among those, behind John Lamb and Mike Montgomery. Duffy was 3-1 with a 3.00 ERA in seven starts in Triple-A, has above-average stuff, including a mid-90s fastball. Rangers at Royals, 8:05 p.m. ET (Watch live)

Jorge De La RosaCole HamelsLEFTY BONANZA: The pitching matchup of the night leans further left than Dennis Kucinich -- the Rockies' Jorge De La Rosa against Philadelphia's Cole Hamels. De La Rosa has struggled in his career against the Phillies, going 0-3 with a 9.78 ERA, but he's had better results this year than in years past, accumulating a 5-1 record with a 3.70 ERA. Looking a little closer to his numbers, there's not a whole lot of difference between De La Rosa last year and this year, his xFIP is similar (3.61 this season, 3.65 last). The biggest differences are that he's walking fewer batters (3.70 walks per 9), getting more ground balls (42 percent this season, 52.3 last) and fewer of his fly balls are traveling for homers (7.7 percent this season, 7.7 last). Hamels struggled a little in his first and last start, but in the six in between those two, he's 5-1 with a 1.80 ERA. Rockies at Phillies, 7:05 p.m. ET (Watch live)

Bud NorrisBAD MATCHUP: As Matt wrote earlier, Albert Pujols has tied his career-long with 22 games without a homer. For the most part, you'd expect him to own a guy named Bud -- but a look at the stats say no. Against Astros starter Bud Norris, Pujols is hitting .235/.316/.353 with two doubles in 19 plate appearances -- and no home runs. In seven career starts against the Cardinals, Norris is 5-1 with a 1.97 ERA and 4-0 with a 1.73 ERA at Busch Stadium. Cardinals starter Kyle Lohse didn't allow a run in seven innings against the Astros in a win on April 27. Astros at Cardinals, 8:15 p.m. ET (Watch live)

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Posted on: May 12, 2011 10:20 am
 

Pepper: Peavy's encouraging return, young guns



By Matt Snyder


BASEBALL TODAY: See the video above for my takes on Justin Masterson, Zach Britton, Daniel Hudson, the Angels without Kendrys Morales and Jake Peavy's encouraging first start of 2011.

OVERTHINK MUCH? Yankees owner Hal Steinbrenner had a theory as to why Derek Jeter was struggling earlier in the season. It's that Jeter was pressing due to feeling the pressure of the upcoming 3,000-hit milestone. "I'm not concerned about Derek," Steinbrenner told the New York Post. "Milestones can be difficult. They can be a big weight on a guy." Oh, yeah, and then this: "He's obviously broken through that and is hitting well now." As if right on cue, Jeter went out and had an 0-6 day Wednesday night. So is he feeling the pressure again? Let's all take a deep breath and realize guys are going to have ups and downs over the course of 162 games. You too, Hal.

FIRST OF MANY: Royals prospect-turned-first baseman Eric Hosmer went yard in Yankee Stadium Wednesday night for the first home run of his very young career. To top things off, he came through with the go-ahead RBI on a sacrifice fly in extra innings. He's sure to see some hills and valleys throughout his rookie season, but thus far he's been really solid. Cling to that .250 batting average if you must, as Hosmer's sporting a .409 on-base percentage and a .909 OPS, which is outstanding.

BACK ON TRACK: Cubs shortstop Starlin Castro started the season absolutely on fire, but then drastically cooled. In fact, he recently had a 12-game stretch where he hit .137 with an abysmal .311 OPS. The Cubs' rivals came to town, Mike Quade dropped Castro in the order and things seem to be back where Starlin likes them. In the past two games, he's 6-8 with a triple, four RBI, three runs and a walk.

MORE HUG-GATE: Wednesday in Pepper we discussed the completely meaningless yet somehow blown out of proportion hug between Albert Pujols and Cubs general manager Jim Hendry. Hendry laughed about the talk that fateful embrace sparked. Pujols offered up his thoughts on the situation Wednesday afternoon. "I figured that would happen, that they would play with it," Pujols said. "At the end, it's not what you do on the field. It's what kind of person you are off the field. That's the kind of relationship you want to build with somebody you respect. He's on the other side. I'm on our side. I just think it's kind of ridiculous. Three writers came and talked to me about that and the contract. "Are you serious? C'mon." (StLtoday.com) Meanwhile, Joe Cowley of the Chicago Sun-Times says Cubs fans should forget about Pujols for two reasons: 1. He's not signing with the Cubs; 2. They'll be better off in the long-haul for it.

TORRE SETTLING IN: Joe Torre is ready to attend the first owner's meetings in his new role of executive vice president of baseball operations. The first meeting's agenda doesn't appear to have any impact in terms of on-field play, but there is one interesting nugget in this article: Torre's reason to retire from managing was that he couldn't take losing anymore. "It wasn't balanced out by the winning anymore. I hated it," Torre said. "I was more ready not to do what I've been doing for years. When the Commissioner made this job offer to me, I asked him a few times if he thought I could do it. It was the insecurity of not knowing what the job entailed, even though it's baseball-related. But it has been fun and very energizing for me." Good for him. Honestly, he's 70, who needs that kind of day-in, day-out stress at that age anyway? (MLB.com)

I MIGHT BE A SADIST, BUT ... : Grant Brisbee over at SB Nation asked how much money it would take to step into the batter's box and face Aroldis Chapman right now -- keeping in mind that he can hit 105 on the radar gun and has walked nine of the last 14 batters he's faced. The stipulation is that you could wear a helmet but no "Barry Bonds armor." Honestly, I'd give it a go for free just to see what it looked like from there. My biggest issue isn't so much the fear of getting drilled, but the fact that he's left-handed (I'm a lefty and they always had me mentally whipped when I played). Then again, I haven't been hit with a pitch in probably 11 years and never took one more than 90 mph. Maybe I'll take some cash for the fictional at-bat afterall.

CREDIT WHERE DUE: Tigers manager Jim Leyland was going to give slugging first baseman Miguel Cabrera the day off Wednesday to give him a few days off (the Tigers have an off-day Thursday) before a weekend series to rest his sore back. Instead, Cabrera waved him off and insisted on playing. (MLB.com) Keep this in mind whenever you hear people complaining about how the guys only play for the money and don't really care about the results. Sitting down would have had no effect on Cabrera's earnings. Since the complainers like to use real-world examples, compare this to having your boss tell you to take the day off and you insisting on staying at work (yeah, sure you would). Oh, and he had a two-RBI double in the fifth to give the Tigers the lead. They would win 9-7.

IN THE CINCY AREA AND LIKE SMOKED MEATS? The Reds have put in a new restaurant called Mr. Red's Smokehouse, and it will open Friday for the first game of the Reds' series against the Cardinals. On the menu, you'll find smoked ribs, turkey legs, pulled pork and chicken wings -- in addition to rotating specialty items. This weekend's item is "smoked Cardinal" (it's actually quail). Click here for a video tour of the new smokehouse.

HAIL DELAY: Via Big League Stew, here's a video of the hailstorm that caused an hour-plus delay to Tuesday night's Twins-Tigers game in Minnesota. Yes, that is golf-ball sized hail and a good amount of it.



IF YOU CARE ABOUT DYKSTRA: I'm pretty well over him at this point, and have been for years. If you are interested in what's become of Lenny Dykstra's life, according to this interview, by all means click through and read it. Scott Engel of RotoExperts.com got an exclusive interview with Dykstra's limo driver.

HIDE THE WOMEN AND CHILDREN: Roger McDowell's suspension is almost over, as he'll rejoin the Braves Friday and resume his duties as their pitching coach. (MLB.com) I'd encourage fans across America to heckle him and test if those sensitivity classes paid off.

CANADIAN DOLLARS: An interesting discussion here, in that -- as long as the Canadian dollar is valued higher than the American dollar -- players for the Blue Jays are actually earning more money than their contracts dictate, assuming they cash checks in Canada. It's the exact opposite of how it used to be, when players used to get traded to either the Expos or Blue Jays and take a hit. (Slam Sports)

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Posted on: May 11, 2011 2:10 pm
Edited on: May 11, 2011 2:12 pm
 

Who gets next call for Royals?

By Matt Snyder

If you've been paying attention to any prospect talk since the beginning of spring training, odds are you've heard the Royals have a stacked system. The major-league group is playing above expectations to this point at 18-17 and is already pretty young with the nucleus of Billy Butler, Alex Gordon, Jeff Francoeur, Melky Cabrera and nearly the entire bullpen -- including closer Joakim Soria -- being 27 years old or younger.

With last week's promotion of Eric Hosmer (who is hitting .250 with a .438 on-base percentage through four games), I started thinking ahead to how long it will be until the Royals gave another one of their promising youngsters a promotion to the bigs. After all, only Butler and Soria -- and maybe Gordon -- from the above group were supposed to be part of the nucleus in the next decade when most said the Royals would be a legitimate playoff team.

The three closest to major-league ready from the list of hyped prospects are Mike Moustakas, Danny Duffy and Mike Montgomery.

Third baseman Mike Moustakas is the best bat in the system now that Hosmer's up. He got off to a slow start, but has picked things up of late. He's hitting .333 with two home runs, eight RBI and a 1.002 OPS in nine May games for Triple-A Omaha. We know he can crush the ball, too, because last season between Double-A and Triple-A, he hit .322 with 36 home runs, 124 RBI, 94 runs, 41 doubles and a .999 OPS in 118 games.

He's a third baseman, though, and the Royals are getting good production right now from both Mike Aviles and Wilson Betemit. There's no reason to make the move now and start Moustakas' service-time clock with guys getting the job done, especially since he's only been hitting well for a few weeks. He's only 22, so there's no rush.

The one area where the Royals do have a concern in 2011, should they stay competitive in the AL Central or Wild Card races, is the starting rotation. Luke Hochevar isn't going anywhere, but Jeff Francis has been bad and Kyle Davies has been worse. Bruce Chen has been placed on the disabled list and Vin Mazzaro has gotten the call to take his spot. No, Mazzaro isn't one of the stable of ballyhooed prospects. He's a guy who went 10-17 with a 4.72 ERA in 41 games for the A's the past two seasons, though he's only 24 and hasn't been dreadful in the minors. He was chosen over Duff and Montgomery for the time being, but that's not a statement on the two young guns.

Montgomery, 21, has a 2.84 ERA, 1.32 WHIP and 30 strikeouts in 38 Triple-A innings. The 6-foot-4 left-hander probably needs to cut down his walks (21) before the Royals are ready to give him the call. And, again, he's awfully young to be rushed to the majors and have that service clock get started.

Duffy, on the other hand, has a sparkling line in Triple-A. Through six starts, he sports a 2.25 ERA, 0.97 WHIP, 41 strikeouts and just seven walks in 32 innings. He's similar to Montgomery in that he's a tall (6-foot-3) left-hander. Duffy's also doing the same thing this year he did last season once promoted to Double-A, which is mow down opposing hitters.

It probably won't be awfully soon, but your best bet for the next big-time Royals prospect to join the majors is Moustakas due to his immense upside. It might be several weeks or even months, because he would need a chain reaction of things to happen before the call is made. All Duffy needs is for someone in the organization to grow tired of seeing Davies and/or Francis running out there every fifth day and just decide to go with him, so he has a shot to beat the heavily-hyped slugger to Kansas City.

No matter who it is, it would certainly be an exciting time to be a Royals fan -- something that hasn't been said for a long time. 

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Posted on: May 5, 2011 5:56 pm
 

Hosmer gets call from the Royals

By Matt Snyder

Highly-touted Royals prospect Eric Hosmer isn't going to be destroying minor-league pitching any longer. Thursday afternoon, he was called up to the show (Mike Swanson on Twitter) -- less than a day after Danny Knobler noted he was on the fast track. As a corresponding move, Kila Ka'aihue was optioned to the minors.

Hosmer was a top 10 prospect in all of baseball on pretty much every list there was heading into this season and he's done nothing but increase his stock with what he's done in Triple-A this year. He's hitting .439 with five doubles, three home runs, 15 RBI, 21 runs and a 1.107 OPS in 26 games. He's gotten on base more than half the time as he's walked more times (19) than he's struck out (16). Last season he hit .338 with 20 home runs and 86 RBI in 137 games between Class A-Advanced and Double-A.

The Miami, Florida product is only 21 years old and has been in the Royals system since he was drafted third overall in the 2008 draft out of high school.

Ka'aihue was granted the job at first base for the Royals out of camp, but he's scuffled thus far, hitting just .195 with a .295 OBP and 26 stirkeouts in 82 at-bats.

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Posted on: April 24, 2011 4:24 pm
 

Greinke can't finish 3 innings in minors

By C. Trent Rosecrans

Zack GreinkeBefore Sunday's game against the Astros, Brewers manager Ron Roenicke said the Brewers wouldn't rush Zack Greinke's return to the Brewers.

Hours later, he showed why, struggling a little against the Royals' Triple-A affiliate in a start for the Nashville Sounds.

Greinke went 2 2/3 innings, allowed three hits and two runs, walking one and striking out two. He finished with 54 pitches, 32 strikes.

It was Greinke's second minor-league rehab outing. He threw 35 pitches in three innings at Class A Brevard County on Tuesday. He is scheduled to make another start for Nashville on Friday.

Roenicke said Greinke wasn't pressing the team to get back sooner than the first week in May.

"Not any more," Roenicke told Charles F. Gardner of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. "He was. To bring back Zack a week earlier or five days earlier and really not have his arm strength, it makes no sense to me. We need this guy for the long haul.

"When he's back here, I want him to be solid for the rest of the season, hopefully getting us into the playoffs. That's when I want him good."

Greinke retired the first five batters he faced on Sunday before giving up a double to Lance Zawadzki in the second and walking Gregor Blanco, but struck out Irving Falu to end the inning. In the third, he allowed back-to-back triples, including one to center fielder Lorenzo Cain, one of the players the Brewers gave up to get Greinke. Greinke was relieved after Eric Hosmer's sacrifice fly.

Former Brewer Jeff Suppan started for the Storm Chasers.

While Greinke is still a few starts away, the Brewers expect to get right fielder Corey Hart back as soon as Tuesday. Hart is scheduled to play all nine innings for the Sounds on Monday and then could return either Tuesday or Wednesday.

"We'll see how [Monday] goes," Roenicke told MLB.com. "If his at-bats are good and he feels his timing is there, we may try to do something."

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