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 Wed, 3/21
by Robert Ford,posted Mar 21 2012 8:10PM
The Royals got a little bit of a scare today when pitcher Luis Mendoza took a hard-hit ground ball off the back of his left leg in the second inning against the A’s in Surprise. Mendoza left the game with a bit of a limp. The Royals say Mendoza has a left hamstring contusion – a fancy way of saying he has a bruise – and was taken out for precautionary reasons. Hopefully, for the Royals sake, it’s nothing serious. Especially since Mendoza has been the most impressive starter in camp. Mendoza and Felipe Paulino are out of options and, if they both continue to pitch well, they’re both going to make the team, with one in the rotation and one in the bullpen. Right now, I think Mendoza has a leg up on Paulino and is more likely to be in the rotation.
Monday, the Royals didn’t have a game, which gave me a chance to watch some of the minor leaguers. I got my first look at Bubba Starling, the fifth overall pick in last year’s draft. What impressed me most about Starling was his speed. Most guys Starling’s size – 6’4” and 205 pounds – aren’t fast or they’re fast, but it takes them several long strides to reach top speed. Not only does Starling have above-average speed, but he reaches top speed in a couple of steps. Starling still looks very raw, which is to be expected for someone who was a three-sport athlete in high school and never concentrated solely on baseball. As a result, it seems unlikely Starling will begin the year with Low-A Kane County. Cold weather in April and May means there’s less opportunity for players with full-season minor league clubs to do the early work that helps them sharpen their skills; all they’re doing is playing in games and not much else. By keeping Starling in Surprise for extended spring training, the Royals would have more chances to help him improve upon his raw skill set. But, that doesn’t mean Starling will open his pro career with a short-season rookie ball team; the Royals could opt to send Starling to Kane County once the weather there warms up. The Royals have raved about the adjustments and improvements Starling’s been able to make and, if those continue, he’ll find his way to Kane County this summer.