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Royals Rumblings - News for February 23, 2015

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And the Oscar for Best Bunt goes to....

Kevin Winter/Getty Images

Royals Rumblings - News for February 23, 2015

Danny Duffy is in the BEST SHAPE OF HIS LIFE.

"He’s in great shape," manager Ned Yost said. "He’s in, by far, the best shape I’ve ever seen him in."

At this juncture of the season, there is no more banal cliché. Yet the Royals saw the changes as critical. Before the winter began, team officials instructed him to focus on increasing the muscle mass in his legs and his core. The result? Duffy said he weighed in at his physical on Friday at 212 pounds, a 17-pound gain over his usual size of 195.

Josh Sheperdson at Fangraphs takes a look at the Royals rotation for fantasy baseball purposes.

The Royals biggest offseason addition to their rotation was Edinson Volquez. His 2014 performance was unlike anything previously demonstrated by the veteran pitcher. Volquez sacrificed strikeouts to walk fewer batters posting a full season career low strikeout rate and career best walk rate. That said, his 8.8% walk rate was worse than the 2014 league average of 7.6%. Volquez’s 3.04 ERA was more than a full run lower than all of his ERA estimators. Again, that’s despite his new found control. Even the slightest dip in preventing free passes coupled with a rise to his .263 BABIP (a .295 BABIP was the league average last season and .298 is his career mark) could leave Volquez without a rotation spot before season’s end.

Andy McCullough details Mitch Maier's transition from player to coach this camp.

Maier, the 32-year-old veteran of six seasons in Kansas City, will work as a coach this season. He is spending the spring studying at the feet of Kuntz, a renowned outfield instructor. Consider it a Cactus League apprenticeship.

"If you want to learn how to be a coach, there’s no one better to teach you than Rusty," manager Ned Yost said.

Maier is expected to aid the big-league club during home games and spend time with the minor-league affiliates when the Royals are on the road, Yost said. Jason Kendall works in a similar role, assisting as an instructor in Surprise and Kansas City.

Craig Brown at Royals Authority is okay with the Eric Hosmer contract.

I guess the lesson here is the $8.25 due Hosmer in 2016 isn’t crazy money, or out of scope for a corner infielder of his status. Just we can’t pass judgement on the deal until we see how the 2015 season plays out for him.

Eric Hosmer has a message for you stat nerds.

Veteran reliever Ryan Madson, trying to make a comeback with the Royals, insists he is healthy.

Rule 5 pick Jandel Gustave impressed manager Ned Yost.

Second baseman Omar Infante is dealing with minor elbow irritation.

Video of Dayton Moore talking about the rotation and the state of the Central Division.

James Shields turned down a larger offer from the Giants before signing with the Padres.

Tim McClelland, the umpire famous for calling George Brett out in the Pine Tar game, has retired after 32 seasons.

Joe Posnanski writes about Royals clutch legend Pat Tabler in strat-o-matic baseball.

B.J. Upton was so bad last year's, he's going by a different name now. Worked for Ned "Frank" Yost.

Grant Brisbee looks at the new rules baseball will implement to speed up the pace of the game.

The top baseball scenes in non-baseball movies, ranked by ESPN. How "Naked Gun" is not #1 is a mystery.

Grantland is trying to determine who is the best "second banana" of all-time.

Your first image of Jason Momoa of "Game of Thrones" as the new Aquaman.

Yikes, Lenovo was pre-installing adware into its computers for you. You're welcome.

RIP Great Mall of the Great Plains in Olathe. You were terrible from day one, but that didn't stop you from hanging around for 20 years.

Your song of the day is Bruce Springsteen with "Surprise, Surprise."