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Moustakas, Hosmer are KC's bats of future

Moustakas, Hosmer are KC's bats of future

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ANAHEIM -- Mike Moustakas and Eric Hosmer in the same lineup -- it's something that Kansas City Royals fans hope to see in the near future at Kauffman Stadium.

On Sunday afternoon, the former first-round Draft picks were teammates for the U.S. team, which beat the World team, 9-1, in the XM All-Star Futures Game.

Moustakas, the Royals' first-round pick (second overall) in the 2007 First-Year Player Draft, got the start at third base and was 0-for-3.

Meanwhile, Hosmer, who was picked third overall in 2008, was the designated hitter and went 4-for-5 with a double and a pair of RBIs.

"It's amazing to be able to come out and play baseball with the talent level in this clubhouse and the other," Moustakas said. "It's almost a little overwhelming the caliber of players that are in here. It's a pretty special atmosphere."

Moustakas flashed the leather in the second inning, when he backhanded a ball that had taken a wicked hop off the bat of Wilin Rosario and nearly turned it into a double play, but Rosario beat the throw from second baseman Drew Cumberland and was safe at first.

The 21-year-old, who is at or near the top of the Double-A Texas League in most offensive categories, could soon be headed to Triple-A, but right now is enjoying his Arkansas teammates.

"The team in Arkansas was playing really well, which helped me out tremendously, and we've just been getting it done lately, which is nice," Moustakas said.

Last season at Class A Wilmington was a frustrating one for Moustakas, who hit just .250 with 16 homers and 86 RBIs. This year, though, has been anything but disappointing. He is hitting .355 with 21 homers and 76 RBIs.

The key difference has been his approach at the plate, which he has worked on with Double-A hitting coach Terry Bradshaw. The emphasis has been on patience and pitch recognition.

"I was getting myself out a lot when I was in Wilmington swinging at bad pitches and not being patient," Moustakas said. "The simpler it was the better it was, and he likes to keep things simple and it's helped me out a lot. In this game, it's the old cliché you really do have to take it one day at a time and learn from your mistakes. The past two years, I had a lot of learning to do, a lot of changes that I had to make and I finally feel like I've come around to that point. The Royals have helped me out tremendously with the coaching they've given me and the guidance they've given me thus far. So it's been real nice, it's been a treat."

Speaking of treats, Hosmer found there to be plenty of them around the Angels' clubhouse, which housed the U.S. team.

"Being in this clubhouse every day would be pretty nice," he said. "There's a chef in there to make you food, there's Gatorade everywhere. It's unbelievable."

Hosmer also struggled last year, hitting a combined .241 at two Class A stops. This year, though, he is raking at Wilmington with a .349 average to go with 27 doubles, six triples, seven homers and 50 RBIs.

"I think I started pretty good and ever since then have stayed up there," Hosmer said. "I'm just trying to stay out of the slumps. When things are going bad, just clear my mind out and start over."

That's essentially what he had to do after scuffling last year. The 20-year-old spent the offseason on an intense workout regimen, determined to rebound in 2010.

"I was always dominating everywhere and having that year last year motivated me in the offseason to work harder," Hosmer said. "I came into Spring Training and went about my business and wasn't there just to be there, I was there to work hard and it's paid off."

As highly touted No. 1 picks, Moustakas and Hosmer garner a lot of attention, but they are hardly alone in the Royals' talent pipeline.

"There's so many other guys in that organization who definitely deserve to be here too," Moustakas said. "It's going to be a lot of fun in Kansas City in the next few years, we're going to have some fun. From top to bottom in the Minor Leagues in that organization is loaded with talent. It's pretty impressive what [general manager] Dayton [Moore] has done with the Draft and getting guys and the makeup of the guys he's gotten. It's been a blast playing for the Royals so far."

Steve Gilbert is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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