Notes: German to fill in at second base
Hudson finishes strong; Greinke roughed up, but throws well
SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Esteban German will be spending most of March playing second base instead of moving all over.German will likely be the Royals' starting second baseman for the April 2 opener with Mark Grudzielanek scheduled to have arthroscopic surgery on his left knee to repair a medial meniscus cartilage tear on Monday. The Royals are optimistic Grudzielanek will miss no more than two weeks of the regular season. In Grudzielanek's absence, German will likely start at second. German started 16 games at second base last season, his first with the Royals, and has played 50 games at second base in his career. He also started at first, third, left, center and DH for the Royals last season, hitting .326 in 106 games. "German is a logical choice," Royals general manager Dayton Moore said. "He has performed well in the past. He is very versatile. We're giving him a lot of opportunities to move all around the interior part of the diamond all spring. He'll certainly get a lot more repetition at second base now." Manager Buddy Bell said German would likely be playing mostly at second until Grudzielanek returns. "Obviously, with Grud not there, it affects us in a negative way, but it also affects us in a way where we were planning on putting Estey in all different positions," Bell said. "I think we are going to do it to a certain point, but we just can't do it as much as we were before." Moore said Andres Blanco could also play second. "The good thing is we have some very capable people to fill in and plug some holes and keep going," Moore said. "German and Blanco have performed well in those types of roles in the past." Veteran Alex Gonzalez or Blanco has a better chance at making the team as a reserve infielder because of the Grudzielanek injury. Hudson's beginning: Luke Hudson finished better than he started on Sunday in a 5-0 loss to the Rangers. He allowed one run on two hits in three innings, while striking out two.
Hudson walked Kenny Lofton to lead off the game, uncorked a wild pitch to advance him to second and gave up a single to Frank Catalanotto, but got out of the inning without a run. Michael Young hit a bouncer back to the mound and Hudson started a double play."There were a lot of bad pitches the first two innings," Hudson said. "I just had to battle my way out of a jam right out of the gates. The double play helped me out a lot. He hit it pretty firm. It worked out great. "The first two innings I really felt out of whack. I sped up my tempo a little bit in the third inning, and I felt like I was actually pitching instead of just hoping to throw strikes. The third inning was the best of all three." Hudson gave up a home run to Sammy Sosa to lead off the second. "It was a sinker, and I just left it up right in his wheelhouse," Hudson said. "It is a few miles per hour off my four seam [fastball]. I couldn't have placed it any better for him, and he hit it well. It was a terrible pitch." Dynamite debut: Zack Greinke allowed a two-run homer to Ian Kinsler and was charged with three runs on four hits in two innings. Moore liked what he saw, however. "I thought Zack threw some dynamite pitches," Moore said. Said Bell, "Zack was just wild in the middle of the plate. We know he can command the baseball, so that is the least of our concerns." No soft tossing: Octavio Dotel lit up the radar guns in his initial Royals outing. He allowed one hit and struck out one in working a scoreless seventh. "He doesn't have to throw the ball that hard this early," Bell said. "He can take his time. He was raring to go, anxious to get out there." Briefly: After hitting .343 with a .500 slugging percentage in their first three games, the Royals managed just three singles against five Rangers pitchers. ... Alex Gordon singled in the second for his first Spring Training hit after going 0-for-6 in his first two games. ... David DeJesus went 0-for-3 and is 0-for-9 in his first three games. ... Broadcaster Denny Matthews, who will be inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame in July, threw out the ceremonial first pitch. His catcher was Hall of Famer George Brett. Upcoming: After three straight games against the Rangers, the Royals will host the Padres on Monday at 2:05 p.m. CT. Jorge De La Rosa will start for the Royals, while Jake Peavy will start for the Padres. Brandon Duckworth, David Riske and Jimmy Gobble are also scheduled to pitch for the Royals.
Alan Eskew is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.