Royals have fun with Gore's first Spring Training hit

Royals have fun with Gore's first Spring Training hit

SURPRISE, Ariz. -- When Royals outfielder Terrance Gore drilled his first career Spring Training hit on Sunday, he was hoping he'd get the ball.

But no one came through for Gore, so first-base coach Rusty Kuntz improvised: Kuntz found a beat-up ball and signed it "Gore, 1st Spring Training hit, 2016."

"And Rusty told me, 'Hey, you knocked the cover off of it,'" Gore said, laughing.

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Gore, who went 0-for-9 in Spring Training in 2015, is 1-for-4 this spring. The reaction in the dugout to Gore's first hit carried on for several minutes.

"Oh, man, they gave me so much [grief]," Gore said. "It was like, 'Oh, you finally got a hit!' And then [manager] Ned [Yost] said, 'We got to change your number from 0 to 1.' And then they kept going on that. 'Maybe [Jarrod] Dyson can go from 1 to 0 because he's not playing anyway.' It was pretty funny."

As good as it felt for Gore to get that first hit -- a solid line drive to center -- this spring has been puzzling for the speedy outfielder.

"It's crazy, because I got more hits than stolen bases now," Gore said. "I've actually been caught twice. I don't know what the heck is going on with that.

"I was safe on one of them. I told Rusty, 'Call New York, man.' It's my sliding that's messing me up. They got me sliding early so I don't get hurt on the pop-up slide. But when I slide early, it feels like I get stuck. Oh, well. It'll get better."

Jeffrey Flanagan is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @FlannyMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.