This article contains a lot to consider for Royals fans. Chiefly, I suppose, I'm led to wonder how this new fellow, Jason Smith, will fit in the KC infield and in the lineup. Though he has chiefly been used as a middle infielder, I'm sure he'll be used at first, with both Ryan Shealy and Mike Sweeney on the DL forever and Ross Gload coming off a nasty quadriceps tear.
Fernando Cortez will apparently be coming back to Omaha (the article didn't specify, but I assume they wouldn't have any reason to send him any lower than AAA). He got off to a pretty decent start with KC, but was scarcely used after that.
This is what excites me the most though. Luke Hochevar has been promoted to Omaha after posting a 3-6 record and a 4.69 ERA with Wichita. Hochevar has been followed by a lot of hype since he was selected 1st in the 2006 draft. I was pretty skeptical of his selection, but I'm excited to finally see him in action. How lucky for the home crowd -- he'll pitch on Sunday in the final game of the upcoming homestand against the Iowa Cubs.
I'm nervous and anxious about how the 2nd half will treat Kansas City. People seem to be optimistic about how things will go from this point forward, provided the starting pitchers show more consistency. I'm a little less confident, but don't tell any of the players I said that. The team has suffered a number of injuries, and I'm just praying people can stay at least marginally healthy for the remainder of the season. Then again, I was skeptical about the reserve players having to do all the work at the end of last season in the absence of the regulars, and look what happened. I do think the team will do better than they did in, say, April, and I do think certain key players (Emil Brown, Mark Teahen) will heat up at the plate.
Billy Butler has an interesting opportunity to show what he can do now that Sweeney will be out for so long. Nobody in the front office necessarily wants a 21-year-old as their everyday DH, but if Butler can make it work now is the time to do so.
Also, God bless Dick Kaegel for this bold 2nd-half prediction:
Not only will the Royals escape another 100-loss season, they'll make their way out of the cellar and finish ahead of the White Sox.I can so get behind that.
Lastly, what the heck? A Royals hammer?!? I'm simultaneously disgusted and intrigued.