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Royals Rumblings - News for March 17, 2015

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Now is the time for Mike Moustakas. Now is always the time for Mike Moustakas.

Allan Henry-USA TODAY Sports

Royals Rumblings - News for March 17, 2015

Sam Mellinger writes that if Lorenzo Cain can repeat his career season in 2014, the Royals could repeat their success.

"There was a transformation in his game," manager Ned Yost says. "From about the middle of September on, he literally took his game to the next level. It was amazing to watch. You always knew it was in there, you just didn’t see it. You’d see it in flashes."

Yost believes this is the new normal for Cain, and he sees the answer here in front of him, in this batting cage. More than anyone else on the roster, Yost says, Cain’s batting practice is always with a purpose.

Ned Yost likes the dependability of Alcides Escobar, and that's part of the reason why he's leading off.

So, now everyone asks Escobar if he’s going to take more pitches and he says he will, but the sample size is much too small to know anything for sure. But in this at-bat, the one that Yost brings up after the game, Escobar watched the first three pitches, all of them balls. Maybe in the past, this is where he’d have seen the take sign from the dugout. But Yost made a point of letting Escobar make the decision. He took a strike on the inside corner, and depending on your perspective this is either a player maturing or a manager trusting his guy or maybe a combination of the two.

"I want him to be himself," Yost says. "Whatever that is. I’m not mandating he takes more pitches. That takes away from his game."

You can depend on him to make outs at a high rate.

Craig Brown at Royals Authority has thoughts on who should hit leadoff.

Why not Alex Gordon back at leadoff? He’s done it before and he’s done well in that role. According to Baseball Reference, his tOPS+ at the top of the order is 111. (That’s the measure of a player’s OPS+ relative to his own career. In other words, he’s performed better hitting leadoff than, say, hitting fourth, where his tOPS+ is 68.)

I don’t know why the Royals are fighting this so much. Gordon doesn’t fit the leadoff profile, but he’s accumulated more plate appearances batting first than any other spot in the order. That’s a credit to Yost for thinking outside the box. But damn, if he doesn’t want to jump right back in that box.

Yordano was hit around by the Indians yesterday, but Matt Fields swatted a home run he can cherish on the plane trip back to Omaha.

Alex Gordon took some batting practice against some minor leaguers. There were no survivors.

"I had a check swing, which we were kind of worried how it was going to respond to that," Gordon said after completing an additional round of batting practice with the big-league club. "It was fine. Held up nicely. No pain. That’s the best part, I came away from it with no discomfort, no backsteps ."

Andy McCullough tweets it is "unlikely" Luke Hochevar will be ready for Opening Day following his recovery from Tommy John surgery.

Matthew DeFranks at Fox Sports Kansas City writes that the time is now for Mike Moustakas. Which I believe, is what was written about him last year.

Moustakas told reporters this spring that he'll try to go the opposite way more this season, even dropping down bunts to keep opposing defenses honest. But the easiest way for Moustakas to beat the shift might be to hit over it. His above-average power makes him a home-run threat, and he's hit 47 home runs in the last three seasons. The only Royals to hit more were Billy Butler and Alex Gordon, both with 53 over that span. Coming off a five-homer postseason, it's up to Moustakas to prove that his superb month wasn't an aberration, but a sign of things to come.

Oh wow.

Well, here you go. Amazing.

Pete Rose petitions Commissioner Rob Manfred for re-instatement. What are the odds?

Terrific spreadsheet here of the instances of Tommy John surgery over the last decade, with the Royals falling about in the middle of the league.

Nate Silver writes that Kentucky has about a 41% chance of winning it all, double what other leading favorites have had entering the tournament in recent years.

Tim Tebow worked out for the Philadelphia Eagles. ESPN has cancelled its coverage of the NCAA Tournament.

Promising 49ers linebacker Chris Borland retires after just one season due to concussion concerns.

Is Bill Simmons looking to exit ESPN?

Yahoo! won't let "Community" die no matter how hard creator Dan Harmon wants to let it.

Mitt Romney will fight Evander Holyfield. Okay.

IKEA bans "hide-and-seek" games in its stores.

Oregon becomes the first state to automatically register voters when they receive a driver's license.

Your song of the day is Jason Isbell with "Alabama Pines."