KRB reports from Hammons Field!
While the Royals were in the process of narrowly taking down the Cardinals at the new Busch Stadium, Kansas City's Double-A affiliate, Wichita, was busy doing the same to the Springfield Cardinals, squeaking out a 4-3 victory at Hammons Field in Springfield, Mo. It was a hard-fought contest, as the Wranglers had to overcome a 3-0 deficit to improve to 5-3 in the Texas League's second half.
However, the fun began long before any of the players took the field, as KRB and the rest of the strong contingent of Royals fans had the privilege of seeing Zack Greinke for the first time in a long while.
Greinke took the time to sign autographs for anyone who asked, and then, with the large plastic briefcase he carried with him, made his way up to the concourse level. Greinke wasn't extremely engaging by any stretch of the imagination (in fact, I can't say for certain that he said anything beyond "You're welcome"), but that he's comfortable mingling with fans is encouraging to say the least.
The most important thing for the 22-year-old is progress both on and off the field. Although the results aren't there -- his season ERA skyrocketed to 7.62 after allowing four earned runs in 4.1 innings against Midland on Wednesday -- Greinke comes closer and closer towards being mentally and physically ready for the Major Leagues with each start. He certainly won't be rushed to do so. The Royals plan to leave their former pitcher of the year in the minors for the foreseeable future, allowing him to develop and return at his own pace. Zack will likely make his next start on Monday evening, and I can't wait to see what he has in store.
The game began rather ominously for the Wranglers, as Springfield starter Stuart Pomeranz had everything working in his favor for the first few innings. Pomeranz retired the first eight Wichita hitters he faced and kept them off the board for five innings before hitting a snag in the sixth. Angel Sanchez led off the inning with an infield single and, after walking Mitch Maier and hitting Alex Gordon, Pomeranz served up a two-run double to Billy Butler, who hiked his average to .326.
Butler's still on fire
Considering that failed prospect Dee Brown served as Butler's protection in the lineup, I couldn't believe that the 20-year-old got so many pitches to hit. Winning games isn't of the utmost importance in the minors, but you'd think that Pomeranz still wouldn't want any part of the man who's the hottest bat on Frank White's lineup card. Bizarre.
Alex Gordon hit a couple of balls very hard in the game, one straight to third baseman Travis Hanson and the other to second baseman Kevin Estrada. Despite his 0-3 showing, Gordon's OPS remained a stellar .901.
Smash Gordon will give it another shot today
Well, that's all for now. Today is an exciting day (albeit a nervewracking one), as for the first time ever, KRB will have full press credentials to a ballgame. With any luck, I'll be able to flag down a Wrangler or two, and have interviews and/or exclusive game reports on the new-and-improved Royals Corner. Stay tuned!