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.
Royals Spring Training Report for Mon, 3/26
by Robert Ford,posted Mar 26 2012 8:10PM
With Johnny Giavotella being optioned to Omaha yesterday, the Royals are left without a great option for the number two spot in the lineup. Chris Getz seems to make the most sense, but batting him second between Alex Gordon and Eric Hosmer means the Royals would have three straight lefthanded hitters, making it easier for other teams to match up against them, especially in the late innings. The other viable options for the two spot are Lorenzo Cain and Yuniesky Betancourt. The Royals tried Cain in the leadoff spot last season at Omaha, but quickly realized he wasn’t a great fit there; even though Cain has speed, he also has a bit of a long swing, which doesn’t play well in the two spot either. Betancourt generally puts the ball in play, which is what you want a number two hitter to do, but he may be too much a free swinger to excel in that role. Without an ideal fit, who bats second figures to change based on who’s performing the best.
Luis Mendoza turned in another strong outing today, throwing five shutout innings against the Giants in Scottsdale. Coming into camp, Mendoza faced an uphill battle to make the rotation but the way he’s pitch combined with his lack of options is going to make it difficult for the Royals not to start the season with him on the 25-man roster. Felipe Paulino, with whom Mendoza’s been competing, hasn’t been quite as sharp, but he’s also out of options and he has a longer – and better – Major League track record, complicating the decision. I think both Paulino and Mendoza will be on the club, with one in the rotation and the other as the long reliever in the bullpen. Paulino’s turn at relieving, last year with Colorado, was disastrous and he seems to be better suited mentally for starting, even though his stuff would play well in the bullpen. Mendoza may be a better fit for the Royals than Paulino in long relief, but it will be pretty tough to tell Mendoza he’s going to the bullpen when he’s outperformed his starting competition this spring. I really don’t have a good feel for how this competition is going to end; it may come down to the final starts of spring training for both.