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Weekend Rumblings - News for March 26, 2022

MJ Melendez shows his power.

Kansas City Royals Photo Day Photo by Kelsey Grant/Getty Images

Weekend Rumblings - News for March 26, 2022

The Royals suffered their first loss of spring training when the Rangers jumped on Carlos Hernández right away, but Mike Matheny isn’t too concerned.

“You’ve got 98 to 100 and a plus changeup and you can go to a curveball or a slider and throw both for strikes,” Matheny said. “I mean, fill it up and trust your stuff. You know, this is without game planning against them and knowing which guys are going to come up there ready to swing at the first-pitch fastball. That’s more information that we’ll have once we go into the season. Right now, it’s about pitch execution.

“And I was happy to see him not just go away from that game plan and then try to make perfect pitches. He did a great job and kept pounding it, letting them get their at-bats in, but getting his work in and staying in the zone.”

Lynn Worthy writes that Matheny was impressed by catcher MJ Melendez’s home run.

“That’s twice now he had another swing [Thursday] when it looked like he just kind of wristed it and short-hopped the left field fence,” Royals manager Mike Matheny said of Melendez. “Then this one, the ball was a little bit elevated and it wasn’t like it was a cheat swing or he was just going for broke. He just kind of used his hands again. A no-doubter to center field on a day when the winds weren’t howling out of here.

Anne Rogers writes about his experiment trying other positions.

Third base brings a different pace of game from catching, where Melendez is involved in every pitch. He’s learning the nuances of the infield, but he fits well there because of his plus arm and quick instincts.

“I do like it,” Melendez said. “It’s definitely a different pace of game. You’re not involved in every single play like you are when you’re catching. I think the hardest part is making sure that I’m always ready and keeping my arm ready and loose. You may not get a play for a couple innings, so staying alert [and] staying aware, because the ball could get hit to you at any moment.”

She also projects the Opening Day roster.

Health permitting, it stands to reason that the Royals could have 15 pitchers and 13 position players on their Opening Day roster. The remaining bench spots are intriguing based on who is performing this spring and what the Royals want out of their bench. The club has enough positional versatility in its infield that it can move players around as needed, so it’s reasonable to think that those spots can go to outfielders. O’Hearn, who will be paid $1.3 million this season, can also fill at first base if needed.

Olivares has been on fire so far in the Cactus League, with an insane 1.385 slugging percentage through five games. With his defense improving, he might just hit his way to a roster spot.

Kiley McDaniel at ESPN has team-by-team prospect rankings.

Alex Duvall at Royals Farm Report compares Royals prospects lists.

Meanwhile in the minor league games:

MLB sent a memo that they are cracking down on pitchers with foreign substances again after some circumvented their enforcement.

Oakland re-signs infielder Jed Lowrie.

The Cardinals sign reliever Blake Parker to a minor league deal.

Washington signs reliever Tyler Clippard to a minor league deal.

The Rays acquire outfielder Harold Ramirez from the Cubs.

Former reliever and union rep Andrew Miller has retired.

MLB vet Mike Fiers signs with a team in Mexico.

Boston could see J.D. Martinez in the outfield more this year.

Don Mattingly is the subject of a new MLB Network documentary.

Tsuyoshi “Big Boss” Shinjo made quite an entrance on NPB Opening Day.

Texas Tech baseball defeats Texas with a walk-off steal of home.

Kansas City will host the 2023 NFL draft.

St. Peter’s is the greatest March Cinderella of all-time.

Gene editing could upend the future of factory farming — for better or worse.

The history of “hup”, the jump sound in every video game.

A look at when Nicholas Cage became the biggest action star of the 90s.

Your song of the day is Foo Fighters with Hero.