KC may be targeting catcher with Draft pick
Miami's Grandal could go at No. 4 overall on Monday
KANSAS CITY -- A published report speculates that the Royals are likely to take Miami catcher Yasmani Grandal with their first-round selection in the First-Year Player Draft on Monday night.
The Kansas City Star reported on Sunday that "word leaked" of a provisional agreement between the Royals and Grandal, a switch-hitting junior at the University of Miami. The Royals have the fourth pick behind the Nationals, Pirates and Orioles.
Reportedly, Grandal was eyeing a $6 million signing bonus but the agreement would modify that. The Royals have gone down to the deadline before signing their last two first-round picks, pitcher Aaron Crow and first baseman Eric Hosmer.
Asked last week if immediate signability of a player would be a determining factor in a selection, Royals general manager Dayton Moore said:
"No, I wish it was. ... The guys are kind of programmed right now to wait all summer under this current system. You want them out playing but that's the way it is."
The Royals have steadfastly declined to comment on Draft reports.
Greinke looking for more relaxed approach
KANSAS CITY -- Zack Greinke will take the mound again on Tuesday night at Minnesota and Royals manager Ned Yost is hoping his ace pitcher will be more relaxed.
"I think Zack's been pressing a little bit. He's been out there really trying to make perfect pitches every pitch," Yost said on Sunday. "His between-starts sessions have been built more around staying within himself and doing what he's capable of doing. Don't force the ball.
"It's like [Luke Hochevar] last night -- when Hoch got into trouble, he went softer. He didn't try to muscle up. I think Zack just needs to get back to being himself a little bit and not pressing like he has. Especially it was evident to me in his last game. He was really out there getting after it and sometimes you just need to take a half a step back and let your stuff work for you. Don't force it, just let it happen."
Greinke is 1-7 after starting 7-1 in his 2009 Cy Young Award season. Five pitchers on the staff have more victories. Even Bruce Chen, after two starts, has as many wins (1) as a starter as Greinke.
So far Greinke, outwardly at least, has seemed to accept his reversal of fate on an even keel but, after losing to the Angels last Thursday, he was thinking maybe it's time to fire up his reaction.
"It's usually a strength I think when you don't usually let things affect you but maybe I need to start taking it more personal and change it up a little bit because it's been going on a while. Eventually you're going to have to stop it or you're going to cost your team a lot of games," Greinke said.
He's suffered from lack of run support (just 3.1 per game) but Greinke admits he's not quite as sharp usual. For example, he was asked if he thought he was getting "squeezed" by the umpires.
"It [the strike zone] just feels small the past month and it's not the umpires. I'm just not in the zone at the moment," he replied.
Greinke reeled through his Cy Young season in a very relaxed manner which seemed to diminish this year as his record declined.
"He's getting back to that point now," Yost said. "One good game where we can score him some runs and that's all forgotten. We talked about this all week: He just needs to focus on controlling what you can control. Don't try to hold them scoreless until we score a run. Just go out and be yourself and, when you look up there, you've probably held them scoreless."
Bloomquist's versatility a nice asset
KANSAS CITY -- Willie Bloomquist started in left field with Scott Podsednik getting a day off on Sunday, one of five positions he's manned so far this year. He's a valuable extra part in the view of Royals manager Ned Yost.
"Willie brings a professional approach at the plate, he'll give you a great at-bat every time. Willie can steal bases. He's been swinging the bat great ever since I've been here," Yost said.
Indeed. Bloomquist had a .114 average when Yost took over the team and, going into Sunday's game, had gone 7-for-20, .350, since.
"Willie's a complete player. I've had a hard time to figure out three guys that do what Willie does in all of baseball," Yost said, noting that Bloomquist can play all four infield positions and all three outfield positions. "With the quality at the position that Willie does, I can't think of another player that can do that."
This was the third straight Sunday that Podsednik was given a day off. Maybe Yost noticed a trend: after going 5-for-9 on the first two Sundays this season, Podsednik went 1-for 16 on the next four Sabbaths.
KANSAS CITY -- The Longest Day.
It began as a ballyhooed pitching matchup between the Royals' Bret Saberhagen and the Rangers' Nolan Ryan that drew 38,523 fans to Royals Stadium on a bright Thursday afternoon, June 6, 1991.
On the anniversary of the invasion of Normandy, it turned out to be the Royals' "Longest Day." The game went 18 innings and lasted until dusk, 6 hours and 28 minutes later.
Saberhagen and Ryan each pitched seven innings and each gave up two runs. Del Black, the official scorer that day, recalled that Saberhagen left the game, drove to pick up his kid at school, came back and watched the rest of the game in the stadium.
The Royals won that game 19 years ago, 4-3, when Kevin Seitzer, now the hitting coach, scored from second base as Rangers pitcher Kenny Rogers fielded Kurt Stillwell's sacrifice bunt and made a wild throw.
Dick Kaegel is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.