Royals' Arteaga gets extended look

Royals' Arteaga gets extended look

Extended spring camp in Surprise, Ariz., has not been everything Royals infield prospect Humberto Arteaga has expected.

It's been more.

"It's been a little hot, but things are great," Arteaga said with a smile. "In Venezuela, I never played every day like this. We played three games a week, but I'm getting used to it. I feel more comfortable. I have one year under my belt and I'm working on my physical strength."

Arteaga, ranked No. 19 among Kansas City prospects, hit .254 with 11 doubles and two triples for the Royals in the Arizona Rookie League last year. The young Venezuelan committed 15 errors in 220 chances and knows he can do better. He has been concentrating on his defense in Arizona.

"It wasn't an excellent year if you look at the numbers, but I learned so many things," Arteaga said. "It was a year of lessons. If you look at it that way, it was a great year. As a player, I feel like I am getting better."

Arteaga's teammate Adalberto Mondesi is also making the most of his opportunity in the Valley of the Sun. The infielder had five hits in an extended spring game on Monday.

At 16, the switch-hitting infielder is the youngest player in camp. The son of former Major Leaguer Raul Mondesi, the teenager signed with club for $2 million as an international free agent out of the Dominican Republic last season.

"My dad always tells me I can be better than he ever was," Mondesi said. "He says I have developed at a rapid pace."

The elder Mondesi, an outfielder, won the National League Rookie of the Year Award in 1994 and was an All-Star the next season for the Dodgers. He played in the Majors for 13 years. Raul Mondesi Jr. is a prospect in extended spring camp with the Brewers in Phoenix.

"Having my father play in the Major Leagues has helped me," Adalberto said. "I know a lot of people have fantasized about playing in the Major Leagues, but it is not a fantasy to me. It's not a dream. It's a place where I want to be. I know my father did it and he knows I can do it, too."

Adalberto recalls visiting Dodger Stadium and Yankee Stadium as a child and has fond memories of Toronto and playing with Carlos Delgado's kids in the clubhouse.

Mondesi's five-hit performance came against Mariners prospects, but Naususel Cabrera, the pitching coach for Seattle's Class A team in Pulaski, is not worried about the results in extended spring camp. He's looking for progress.

"These young men have so much to learn," Cabrera said. "They are going to have to adjust to the talent of the competition and that starts here. These guys are raw but very talented. It's up to us to bring all the talent out of them."

Cabrera has been impressed with hard-throwing right-handed pitchers Richard Vargas, who pitched at Pulaski, and Fray Martinez, who played in Class A Clinton last season, in the last few weeks. The pair is working on the command of their breaking pitches but has wowed Cabrera with 98-mph fastballs.

Charles Kaalekahi, who pitched in the Arizona League last year along with Pulaski pitchers Jeremy Dobbs, Dylan Unsworth and Seon Gi Kim have also had strong camps. Kim played at three levels last year.

"They are working on command and mechanics and that's where we come it," Cabrera said.