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Royals Rumblings - News for March 18, 2015

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Royals camp is handing out more free jewelry than Oprah.

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Royals Rumblings - News for March 18, 2015

Right-fielder Alex Rios says he is finally healthy and ready to hit for more power.

Rios played most of last season for the Rangers with an injured thumb. Surgery repaired it after his season, and for those of us who have never tried to hit big-league pitching with an infected thumb, Rios can explain. "It’s like, I would say, trying to run a marathon with a broken toe," he says. "That would be a good analogy." So, basically, it’s physically possible, and people sometimes do it, but their times are bad and the whole experience (stinks). ...

"We play in a big park, but I think he’s capable of being a 20 to 25 home run guy," Royals manager Ned Yost says.

For Twitter Tuesday, Sam Mellinger writes about how the Royals have changed with success.

Sort of to that point, it’s interesting to see the little ways that this team is run so differently now. Like, I was talking with a personnel evaluator today who was saying that Whit Merrifield is a guy who would probably get a chance in the big leagues with some teams. Merrifield just turned 26, and last year hit .340 in 76 games in Omaha.

"Yeah," I said. "A few years back, Whit Merrifield was Kila Ka’aihue."

But the point is that the Royals’ recent history is filled with sorry teams that would be talking themselves into believing that Merrifield could hit .300 in the big leagues, instead of being patient and making him prove it.

The flip side of that, of course, is that if the Royals were still bad they wouldn’t be tempted to make a bad decision and turn Brandon Finnegan into a relief pitcher.

Veteran reliever Ryan Madson, trying to make the club after missing several years with injury, is probably on the outside, looking in for a bullpen spot.

"Madson’s stuff is really, really good," Yost said. "But not throwing, not pitching the last couple years, he’s still a little rusty in the zone. I’m really pleased with what I’m seeing coming out of his hand. The command of his changeup’s not quite there yet. But the action on his changeup is really nice. That’s encouraging."

Luke Hochevar looks like a long shot to be ready by April 6. That leaves at least two open spots in the bullpen. Lefty Franklin Morales appears to be pitching his way into one of them. The other could come down to Louis Coleman, Rule 5 pick Jandel Gustave or 2014 first-round pick Brandon Finnegan.

Finnegan was not sharp in a 4-3 loss to the Cubs on Tuesday.

"Finnegan just wasn’t sharp today," manager Ned Yost said. "Just one of those days. He threw a couple good breaking balls, but fought command with his fastball and his breaking ball most of the day."

Matthew DeFranks of Fox Sports Kansas City thinks the Royals defense can get even better.

So how do the Royals improve on one of the best defensive seasons in history?...

The Royals had plenty of pluses on defense, but also had their share of minuses. But entering this season, the biggest minuses are no longer on the roster. The five Royals who had the worst dWAR in 2014 -- first baseman/DH Billy Butler, right fielder Nori Aoki, outfielder Justin Maxwell, outfielder Raul Ibanez and infielder Danny Valencia -- are all with other teams this season.

Craig Calcaterra of Hardball Talk visited Royals camp as they were passing out Triple-A Championship rings to their Omaha players.

I noted, during the various introductions and acceptance speeches, that everyone made mention of a "championship organization" or the "champions" assembled before them. Many, many "champion" references. Many references to the AL Pennant and two straight Triple-A titles and all of that. It’s so different than the last time I was here — or any of the few times before that — when the Royals were considered a sad sack, messed up organization. They likely didn’t think of themselves that way then, of course, but the public did and they didn’t go around crowing about themselves because one just doesn’t do that. It’s kind of cool to see them happy and free to crow now, though. It’s such a canard to think of ballplayers as just doing it for the money or not appreciating that they get to play "a kids’ game" or what have you, but they all want to win and all love it more than anything else.

Alex Gordon hit in a minor league scrimmage and dong was hung.

Salvador Perez gets two votes in a survey of MLB executives and managers on who they would most like to start a franchise with.

Expect tighter security and longer delays getting in Kauffman Stadium and every Major League park.

Bleed Cubbie Blue takes a look at their enemy Royals.

You can find complete season previews for all 30 MLB teams here.

Ben Lindbergh at Grantland has an inspired piece about Twins shortstop Eduardo Nunez's pursuit of a pop-up in every at bat.

Grant Brisbee writes that Tommy John surgeries aren't going away.

MLB is eliminating paper All-Star ballots.

The NCAA tournament began yesterday. Or did it? Is a play-in game technically "the playoffs"?

Will President Obama end subsidies for sports stadiums?

People had blazing hot takes on linebacker Chris Borland's sudden retirement.

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell backed out of an episode of "Between Two Ferns" with Zach Galifianakis because he didn't want to be made fun of.

Starbucks gets brushback from a Twitter campaign to improve race relations.

Donald Trump may actually run for President this time.

Duggan, you been to Vulcan Video? Matthew McConaughey and Jimmy Kimmel do a local commerical for the Austin-based video store.

People are making response videos to the documentary exposing the Church of Scientology "Going Clear" and they are something.

Director Tommy Wiseau of the infamous movie "The Room" did an AMA on Reddit.

RIP Internet Explorer.

Your song of the day is Crash Kings with "Mountain Man."