Moose hoping OD homer good sign for '17

Last time Moustakas homered in opener was in best MLB season

Moose hoping OD homer good sign for '17

MINNEAPOLIS -- The last time Mike Moustakas hit an Opening Day home run prior to Monday's bomb was in 2015 against the White Sox.

Moustakas remembered it.

"Pretty good year, wasn't it?" Moustakas said, smiling.

Indeed it was. The Royals won it all that season, their first World Series title in 30 years.

After most of Moustakas' 2016 season was wiped out because of an ACL tear, he is eager to bounce back big in 2017. That home run Monday got him off to a good start.

"Always nice to get the first hit out of the way and even better that it's a homer," Moustakas said. "I remember one year I was like 0-for-22 before I got that first hit -- felt like I'd never get one."

While much of the talk about the Royals' power centers around guys like Eric Hosmer or Salvador Perez or Brandon Moss or Jorge Soler (presently injured), manager Ned Yost doesn't ignore Moustakas' long-ball potential.

Moustakas twice has hit 20 or more home runs in the Majors, and Yost said he wouldn't be surprised at all if Moustakas were to lead the team in home runs this year.

"He's developed into that type of power hitter," Yost said. "But he's also developed into a much better all-around hitter."

Moustakas said he doesn't really focus on elevating the ball.

"I've always been able to hit homers, from the Minors to the bigs," Moustakas said. "But I don't try to hit homers. Kauffman's a different game. You don't really try to hit home runs there. It's more about hitting the gaps.

"And besides, my job hitting second is to get on base for the guys behind me. If the homers come, great."

Moustakas had seven home runs already in early May in 2016 before he was hurt; he was headed for a possible 30-35 homer season that could have threatened Steve Balboni's club record of 36.

Moustakas, though, doesn't fantasize about the record.

"Nah, I don't think about that at all," Moustakas said. "All I think about is winning another championship. That's all we think about. Getting to the World Series, winning it all and having another parade."

Raising the woof

Royals left-hander Danny Duffy was a happy man Wednesday morning after Kansas Citians passed a critical vote Tuesday night that will help finance a new facility for Kansas City Pet Project, one of the largest no-kill shelters in the country.

Duffy is a regular supporter of KC Pet Project.

"Oh man, I love Kansas City!" Duffy said. "The old facility just isn't big enough, so they really needed this. They do such great work there taking care of any animal brought in."

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