First baseman hits first spring homer; Bourn's hot hitting continues in loss
By Jordan Bastian and Jeffrey Flanagan
GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- Salvador Perez had three of the Royals' 15 hits as K.C. scored in five consecutive innings through the middle of the game on the way to a 10-5 win over the Indians on Thursday at Goodyear Ballpark.
First things first: There definitely could be some PFP (pitchers' fielding practice) in store for Royals left-hander Danny Duffy, who not once but twice was late getting to first base on ground balls hit to the right side. Those mental mistakes led to one of the three runs charged against him.
"The first one was on me," Duffy said. "But the second one was an in-betweener. As fast as I am, I'm not as fast as [Michael Bourn]."
Royals manager Ned Yost was glad Duffy got lengthened out a little (57 pitches).
"His command was off but not crazy off," said Yost. "There's a difference."
Big Sal busts out: Salvador Perez had just one hit in 14 at-bats this spring. Until Thursday. The Royals' catcher broke out with three hard-hit balls -- a single and two doubles, one for an RBI.
The long road back: Last March 18, Royals right-hander Luke Hochevar underwent Tommy John surgery. On Thursday, Hochevar was back pitching competitively for the first time. And Hochevar looked like the Hochevar of 2013 -- he faced four hitters and didn't allow a hit. He walked one and struck out one, freezing Bourn with a terrific four-seamer for strike three.
"Being able to finally get out there and compete was pretty exciting," Hochevar said. "You get the juices going - it's the first time I have had those competitive juices in a while. I welcomed them."
Power strokes: Indians catcher Roberto Perez and first baseman Santana each flashed some serious pop for the Tribe. In the second, Roberto Perez crushed a 2-2 pitch from Duffy over the left-field wall and nearly out of Goodyear Ballpark for a two-run homer.
Santana added a rocket of his own in the fifth, connecting for a two-run shot to right field off Royals pitcher Casey Coleman.
Filling in: With ace Corey Kluber working in a simulated game Thursday, lefty Nick Maronde got the start for the Indians. Maronde, who is likely ticketed for Triple-A Columbus, logged three innings and limited the Royals to one run. Kansas City's Ryan Jackson singled in the third and scored on a triple from Alcides Escobar.
"He was OK," Francona said. "He worked ahead and he threw some pretty good breaking balls, too. He gave up the one run, but when you look back on the day, he actually threw the ball pretty good."
"I'm trying to try a little easier." -- Duffy
"I think he feels good about himself. He's bouncing around. I think running right now is not a labor for him. I don't think he's worried about his legs. He feels good. I think even at the plate, we're seeing him having more of a base under him and he's swinging the bat because of it." -- Francona, on Bourn
"He was up today with everything. I still think the ball is coming out of his hand better now than it was at this time last year. He just was up with everything today and he paid for it. I'll put my money on Shaw. When the lights come on and we're ready to go, he'll be ready to go." -- Francona, on setup man Bryan Shaw, who has allowed nine runs (four earned) in 1 2/3 innings this spring
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The Royals were looking for a power upgrade in right field over Nori Aoki, and although it's only Spring Training, they are getting that pop from Alex Rios, who is leading all American League hitters with a 1.125 slugging percentage.
Bourn went 2-for-3 for the Indians on Thursday, improving his Cactus League average to .538 (7-for-13) through five games.
Royals lefty Franklin Morales, fighting for one of the final bullpen spots, continues to impress. He threw another clean inning, striking out one. He has thrown four scoreless innings this spring.
Cleveland's rotation battle will play out on two fronts on Friday, when the Tribe takes on the D-backs and Cubs in split-squad affairs. At Goodyear Ballpark, rotation candidate Zach McAllister will start for the Indians in a 4:05 p.m ET tilt against Arizona, live on Gameday Audio. On the road in Mesa, lefty T.J. House (also vying for a spot on the starting staff) will take the mound in a 4:05 p.m. ET contest against Chicago.
The Royals will send out right-hander Edinson Volquez, expected to be their No. 3 starter, against an Oakland split-squad team on Friday at Surprise Stadium in a 3:05 p.m. CT start. Right-hander Chris Young, just added last week to add depth to the bullpen, will make his Cactus League and Royals debut. The game can be heard on an exclusive free royals.com webcast.