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Royals Rumblings - News for February 18, 2015

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Baseball players doing baseball things.

Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports

Royals Rumblings - News for February 18, 2015

Jeffrey Flanagan speculates on the Royals likely starting lineup, and thinks Brandon Finnegan will be in the bullpen.

Lorenzo Cain will likely be hitting near the top of the Royals lineup this year, but he's ready to help out wherever he can.

But where will the Royals center fielder hit in 2015? That will be determined during spring training, but Yost indicated he plans on having Escobar bat first. Right fielder Alex Rios could bat second, though Yost said Cain also is a possibility there. And it’s possible Cain could still hit third, but that’s not a given, considering he hit just five home runs last season.

"We got a few more power guys, so things might change," Cain said. "I might be hitting in the eight-hole this year, but we’ll see. You never know. He might keep the speed at the top or he might go with the power. So wherever I’m hitting at, I’m fine with. "Leadoff, third, eighth, I’m still going to be the same player trying to get on base, drive in runs, using my legs as much as possible."

Here are your early birds in camp already.

The Royals will look at free agent Alfredo Aceves throw. The 32-year old right-hander had a 6.52 ERA for the Yankees last year.

Salvador Perez has been shooting a Pepsi commercial.

MLB Trade Rumors ranks Alex Gordon as the seventh-best potential free agent next winter.

Speaking of Alex, his cast is off. But he is still not cleared to throw or swing yet.

He has resumed lifting weights and conditioning, but the biggest tests for his health have yet to come. "It’s more when I get in the training room and start stretching it out," he said. "I mean, it’s a little stiff. I was in a cast for a while. There’s no pain. It’s just more about getting the flexibility and strength back. And I feel like that’s pretty close." He added, "Hitting will probably be the biggest challenge."

Eric Hosmer got an autographed Ken Griffey Jr. jersey, and his reaction was, "YEAAAAAAAAAARGHHHHHHHHHH!!!!"

Sam Mellinger is picking the Hos to lead the Royals in home runs this year.

This is a great question, because the Royals might have five or six guys who could be reasonable answers here: Sal Perez, Eric Hosmer, Mike Moustakas, Alex Gordon, Kendrys Morales. That’s five. Depending on your Alex Rios thoughts, could be six, I guess. But, well, five’s a big number. Anyway, I think it’ll be Hosmer. I really think he might be in a place where he has the breakout year people have been waiting for. Assuming he stays healthy, and focused, I think he could have a 25-homer, 40-double kind of season.

Anthony Castrovince breaks down each American League ballclub.

After finishing 90 feet shy of tying Game 7 of the World Series, the Royals faced some major personnel decisions this winter. Their budget compelled them to take some risks -- Edison Volquez (ostensibly replacing James Shields) fending off regression after his 2014 comeback campaign, Alex Rios (replacing Nori Aoki) bouncing back from an extreme power regression in Texas and Kendrys Morales (replacing Billy Butler) getting back to his '13 production level after a vagabond '14. The biggest strengths of the Royals will remain the same -- a beefed-up bullpen (which could be even better with Luke Hochevar back) and a stellar defense. And they still need a breakout season from Eric Hosmer and Mike Moustakas

MLB executives voted the Royals as one of the "Most Unimproved Teams" off the off-season, although they loved the Jason Frasor signing. The Billy Butler signing with Oakland was also voted one of the worst free agent signings.

Royals playoff hero Jayson Nix has signed with the enemy in Baltimore.

Bob Feller's Museum in Van Meter, Iowa is going to become the city hall.

Jeffrey Maier, the Yankees fan who reached over and grabbed a home run ball against the Orioles, has his glove up for auction.

A-Rod writes an apology letter to fans. I'm still waiting for Jonathan Sanchez's apology letter.

Rivals.com has middle school recruiting now. Chris Hansen would like to see you know.

Everything you need to know about NASCAR in 2015.

The NBA has become the first sport to embrace virtual reality.

Its awful that the Gates BBQ near the stadiums has burned down, but that had to be the best smelling building fire ever, right?

An oral history of the Upright Citizen's Brigade, a terrifically funny comedy troupe that produced Amy Poehler, among others.

Obesity in America has more to do with snacks- like Pop Tarts - than large meals.

Your brain is primed to reach false conclusions - especially if you're a political cartoonist writing about baseball.

Slate asks if its time St. Louis leave Missouri.

Your song of the day is Nirvana with "All Apologies."