Shortstop Escobar aiming for the fences

Shortstop Escobar aiming for the fences

SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Shortstop Alcides Escobar made a bold statement right out of the gate Saturday as rain cut short the Royals' workout: He believes he can hit double-digit home runs after hitting a career-high seven homers in 2016.

"Oh, yeah. I think I can hit 10-15 homers," said Escobar, who arrived in camp Friday.

Escobar also has the same goal he has every season -- play 162 games, a feat he accomplished in 2016 and '14.

"Every year I feel better," he said. "I feel more comfortable at the plate. I'm feeling really good."

Worth noting

Speedy Terrance Gore has never been known for his bat -- he's a career .243 hitter in the Minors, is hitless in nine Major League plate appearances and didn't get his first Spring Training hit until last season.

But Gore pledges that his offense will be much better in 2017.

"I feel better at the plate," Gore said. "I don't know why. I just got more comfortable. They say you're your own best coach, and I feel like I've figured some things out."

Jeffrey Flanagan has covered the Royals since 1991, and for MLB.com since 2015. Follow him on Twitter @FlannyMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.