Retooled Royals set to spring into action
Pitchers and catchers report on Friday, work out Saturday
KANSAS CITY -- The Royals' equipment truck, free of the frozen zone, is being unloaded in Surprise, Ariz.
Some players, including third baseman Mark Teahen and pitcher Todd Wellemeyer, already are unlimbering in the southwest sun.
Dayton Moore leaves Kansas City this week to begin his first Spring Training camp as general manager of the Royals.
Manager Buddy Bell, sidetracked by throat surgery at the end of last season, is returning full of vim, vigor and (he hopes) victories.
Yes, everything is falling into place for the Royals' 39th Spring Training and their fifth in Surprise.
"I'm always excited about Spring Training," Moore said. "I'm looking forward to it."
And he should, because Moore, after taking over early last June, has revamped the pitching staff and tweaked the lineup and staffed the front office with many new folks.
The pitchers and catchers will report on Friday and work out as a group for the first time on Saturday. The position players are to report on Wednesday, Feb. 21, with the first full-squad workout the following day.
Several position players, including team captain Mike Sweeney, have been invited in early because of injuries. Of the starting lineup, Sweeney missed time with back problems, Teahen had shoulder surgery, and Reggie Sanders and Ryan Shealy had knee surgery.
Although Shealy's surgery wasn't widely known, Moore said the first baseman had some cleanup work done on a knee after the season.
"It was a very minor deal," Moore said.
Sweeney, who planned to report early, knows only too well the importance of having players healthy to move up in the standings.
The Royals have 59 players scheduled to be in their Major League camp.
Their first Cactus League game is set for 1:05 p.m. MT on Thursday, March 1, against the Angels in Tempe, Ariz. The first game in Surprise is at 1:05 p.m. MT on Friday, March 2, against the Texas Rangers, who share the complex with the Royals.
Dick Kaegel is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.