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 Tue, 3/6
by Robert Ford,posted Mar 6 2012 7:22PM
In today’s start vs. San Diego, Luke Hochevar showed excellent command for a first spring training outing, working around a hit and a walk over two scoreless innings. After the game, Hochevar talked about the progress he’s made with his changeup, a pitch he’s struggled to throw effectively throughout his career. However, Hochevar says he’s found a grip that works for him and he’s been happy with the way the ball comes out of his hand. Hochevar has a pretty extensive repertoire, but most of his pitches are hard. Having something soft, like a changeup, could bode well for Hochevar this season. For one, it gives him a pitch he can throw when hitters are hitting his fastball; sometimes, struggling pitchers are better off going softer when they’re in trouble rather than trying to go harder (an issue Hochevar’s had in the past). Hochevar is also working on focusing on one pitch at a time as a way of preventing bad situations from snowballing on him, another issue he’s dealt with throughout his career. Hochevar will likely open the season as the Royals’ #1 starter and, while he may not have all the makings of an ace, Hochevar needs to be a rotation anchor for the Royals to be successful.
Today was a split-squad day for the Royals, with games at home against the Padres and on the road vs. the Indians. As a result, both Mike Moustakas and Yuniesky Betancourt started at third today, the latter drawing the assignment in the home game. It was the second straight start at third for Betancourt, who has looked solid over there thus far. Yesterday, he made a nice backhand stop of a sharply hit ball down the line and just missed throwing out a runner at second. The Royals have been watching Betancourt closely at third since he’s never really played there before and because they signed him in part to spell Moustakas against tough lefties. The Royals aren’t as worried about Betancourt at second because shortstops are usually fairly adept at second and Betancourt has played there before, mostly in Cuba. Manager Ned Yost plans on using his bench more this season and the Royals are counting on Betancourt’s versatility; if he can handle second, short and third, that would enable the Royals to carry Jarrod Dyson as the fourth man on a four-man bench. Dyson has proven to be rather effective in late-game, pinch-running situations. Dyson might’ve been able to stick with the Royals all year in 2011 had they not decided to carry 13 pitchers most of the season.