Robert Ford came to 610 Sports Radio in 2009 as the station’s “Royals Insider.” He currently serves as the pre and post game show host for Royals Broadcasts on 610. The Syracuse graduate has been around professional baseball as a reporter and broadcaster for over a decade.
Hosmer's Swing Looking Effortless...And Other Observations from Surprise
by Robert Ford,posted Feb 21 2012 6:54PM
Today was the first official spring training workout for Royals pitchers and catchers, but they weren’t the only ones getting their work in. Since many of the position players are here, those guys were taking ground balls and batting practice. I’d forgotten how much fun it is to watch Eric Hosmer swing the bat; he makes it look so effortless. The best thing I saw all afternoon was Hosmer hitting home runs to right-center and left-center on back-to-back swings.
As always, there are many ongoing battles in spring training and one I’m really looking forward to watching is the competition between lefthanded relievers. If you include Jose Mijares, the only pitcher yet to report, the Royals have eight lefties in camp who are bullpen candidates. Ned Yost would like to carry two lefties in the pen, and that pair will probably come out of the group comprising Mijares, Everett Teaford and Tim Collins. However, that doesn’t mean those are the only lefthanded relievers we’ll see in Kansas City over the course of the season.
Today, I watched two of those other lefties, Tommy Hottovy and Ryan Verdugo, throw live batting practice. Even though he’s a non-roster invitee and new to the organization, many in Kansas City may already be familiar with Hottovy because he’s a graduate of Park Hill South High School and also pitched at Wichita State before being drafted by the Boston Red Sox. I saw a lot of Hottovy when I was a AA broadcaster in the Eastern League and Hottovy was a starter for the Portland Sea Dogs, the Red Sox AA affiliate. Back then, Hottovy threw over the top. But, he moved to the bullpen after Tommy John surgery in 2008 and now throws sidearm, showing similar arm action to Louis Coleman, although he doesn’t throw as hard as Coleman does. I’m curious to see how Hottovy does against Major League hitters (he did pitch in eight games for Boston last season), because he definitely seems like someone who could come up and be a left-on-left guy later in the year.
Verdugo came to the Royals from the San Francisco Giants this winter, along with Jonathan Sanchez, in exchange for Melky Cabrera. Verdugo is on the 40-man roster and spent last year in AA, where he worked as a starter. He finished his live-BP session with a few excellent sliders and showed a very good sinking fastball. I didn’t get to see Verdugo throw his changeup, which he’ll need to have if he is going to be anything more than a left-on-left guy at the Major League level.
I’m looking forward to watching more pitchers throw tomorrow. Keep checking this blog daily and follow me on Twitter (@raford3) for more Royals spring training updates.