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Royals Rumblings - News for July 7, 2020

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Has Mike Matheny changed since his days in St. Louis?

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Kansas City Royals Summer Workouts Photo by Ed Zurga/Getty Images

Royals Rumblings - News for July 7, 2020

Jeffrey Flanagan has his notes from the first few workouts, and he writes about the battle to be the Opening Day starter.

“I want our guys to take a lot of pride in being that guy,” Matheny said. “We know Brad Keller has been that guy. I’m wanting to push Danny Duffy to believe there’s no reason to believe he shouldn’t be that guy. I want Jakob Junis to believe ... and then to understand there’ll only be one guy who is the Opening Day starter.

“Especially with our team, we need veteran leadership, and I want Danny Duffy to think, ‘This is the staff I should be leading. I want to be that guy [who is the Opening Day starter].’ I think that is the right way of thinking.

He also writes about Greg Holland’s pursuit of a roster spot.

“I felt good leaving Spring Training, and that’s part of the reason I was upset when we had to leave. For me, it’s just taking care of today, and we’ll just see where the chips fall. I can’t worry about making the team. I understand that part is there. But I also know that if I work hard and do what I need to do, it puts me in the best position to help the team.”

Lynn Worthy writes that the Royals could be creative in how they use their pitchers this year.

Kennedy said the shortened sprint of a season compared to the grueling marathon of a 162-game slate lends itself to trying things like using relievers to starts games or using multiple relievers for multiple innings each.

“That short season allows for that to happen,” Kennedy said. “I think when people start talking about openers — like the Rays do it once a week or once a time in through the rotation and I think it’s hard on the bullpen. All though, I think for 60 games you can sustain that. I think for a 162, it’s really hard for longevity. I think that for a short couple months, it could possibly happen.”

Alec Lewis writes about the re-invention of Mike Matheny since his days in St. Louis, when he was criticized for reportedly allowing reliever Jordan Hicks to be hazed by a veteran.

What the masses did not know at that time were the lengths to which Matheny had gone to help Hicks, who had occasionally shown up late during spring training in 2018. Cardinals management sent Hicks down to minor-league camp, but not before Matheny passed along a journal with an uplifting note, suggesting Hicks could become a star.

“That was really the beginning of Jordan’s journey in becoming more — not that he wasn’t responsible — but he was a 21-year-old kid,” Jordan’s mom, Jennifer, said recently. “I have nothing but great things to say about (Matheny).”

When Hicks arrived in the majors that year, Matheny and his wife, Kristin, housed him in a spare room for more than six weeks. Still, on July 14, 2018, four days after the Norris report, even after Hicks himself told MLB.com he thought the situation “got blown out of proportion,” the Cardinals fired Matheny, citing his lack of success on the field (though the club sat one game above .500).

Jeffrey Flanagan writes about Whit Merrifield’s thoughts on a short season and the risk players are taking.

“My feeling on the whole thing is — and this is coming from someone with a wife who has a compromised immune system — there’s never been hesitation from her or me about playing this year. She’s been with me since high school. She understands what it takes to get to this level. She understands this level is for a short period of time.

“She also understands that I have an obligation to her to be the best husband I can be, to my siblings to be the best brother I can be, to my parents to be the best son I can be. But I also have an obligation to those guys [in the clubhouse.] Those guys are my family as well. Those guys are my family, just like my family at home is family.”

Clint Scoles at Royals Academy talks to Assistant GM JJ Picollo about how minor leaguers will work on improving this season.

The Royals VP said they’re looking at the starters to work every five days like they would in an average season. The relievers will be used as they would in the regular season. The action would be similar to a simulated game with a full group in the field and three to four hitters taking at-bats. Like in high school, these hitters would then be rotated around. It’s less than ideal, but the Royals are hoping they can get in 13 to 14 starts for these pitchers that need to play catch up with a lack of a minor league season.

Royals minor leaguer Brandon Marklund wants to prove 2019 was no fluke.

Kevin O’Brien at Royals Reporter thinks the positive test by Salvador Perez should temper expectations this season.

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