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VonneMarie
03-22-2003, 01:24 PM
Pena wants set lineup in place for final week of spring games
By BOB DUTTON
The Kansas City Star

SURPRISE, Ariz. - After a spring of bouncing around the Royals' lineup, outfielder Michael Tucker is likely to find a permanent home as the club's leadoff hitter.

The official word probably won't come for a day or two, but manager Tony Pena increasingly talks like a man who has made up his mind on the club's few remaining roster decisions.

"If I say Michael Tucker is my leadoff guy," Pena said, "then from Sunday on, Michael Tucker will be the leadoff guy the rest of the way, no matter what."

Pena also:

Confirmed rookie Ken Harvey will be the regular designated hitter.

Indicated Carlos Febles will start at second base over Desi Relaford.

Suggested outfielder Dee Brown is a near-lock to make the squad.

Said he is now leaning toward a staff of 11 pitchers.

Pena wants a set lineup this season, and he wants to use that lineup during the final week of spring training. The only major complication is that outfielder Carlos Beltran remains sidelined by a strained right oblique muscle.

"When you set your lineup, you want to set it from one through five or one through six," Pena said. "Without Beltran, we can only set it one through five."

Those five are Tucker, third baseman Joe Randa, first baseman Mike Sweeney, left fielder Raul Ibanez and Harvey. Were Beltran healthy, he would bat third, with Sweeney, Ibanez and Harvey moving down one notch.

The bottom three will be catcher Brent Mayne, shortstop Angel Berroa and Febles.

The sixth spot? The best bet is Brown, who would play right, allowing Tucker to shift to Beltran's spot in center. Another option is to keep Tucker in right and use Rontrez Johnson in center.

Tucker emerged as the clear choice to handle leadoff duties when Relaford, the other leading leadoff candidate, failed to supplant Febles at second.

"If I'm leading off, I like to know that," said Tucker, who batted sixth in Friday's 7-0 victory over the Oakland A's.

"Just let me know the night before, because a lot of times when you go home, you're thinking about what you're going to be doing the next day. You think about (possible) situations and stuff."

Relaford started Friday at second base, but Pena signaled his intentions Thursday night by inserting Relaford as a defensive replacement at third base and later shifting him to shortstop.

"We know what Relaford can do offensively," Pena said. "He can hit. I don't want to forget about him because this is a guy who can bring a lot of things to the table.

"I don't want to think about Relaford only as a second baseman. Berroa is going to need off time. Randa is going to need off time. Relaford is going to be very busy. Definitely, he will get 300 at-bats."

Harvey is batting .319 this spring after clubbing a two-run homer in Friday's victory. His strong camp follows his record-setting .479 performance in the Arizona Fall League.

"Harvey is on the ballclub," Pena said. "And if we broke camp today, Dee Brown would be on the ballclub."

Brown is batting .391 this spring with five homers and 18 RBIs in 18 games. The Royals have no options remaining with Brown, which means he must be placed on waivers if he doesn't make the roster.

"The Dee Brown we're seeing now is the Dee Brown I used to know in the minors," Pena said. "That's the Dee Brown I've been waiting to see. He has his swing back."

Pena had previously indicated a preference for a 12-man staff. If he takes 11 instead, that means the Royals probably won't have a left-hander in their bullpen.

Because of his versatility, Mendy Lopez figures to be the biggest beneficiary if Pena keeps just 11 pitchers. Lopez can play every infield and outfield position and is even learning to catch.

With Lopez around, it's much easier to overlook Jarrod Patterson's defensive shortcomings and keep him on the roster as a backup DH or a left-handed bat off the bench.

The decisions aren't final. Pena still could opt for 12 pitchers. Also, if Beltran starts the season on the disabled list, the Royals would have three starting outfielders who bat left-handed. That could prompt them to keep Brandon Berger, a right-handed hitter, instead of Patterson.

"I'll have my ballclub by Monday," Pena predicted. "That will give us a week to have everyone get comfortable in their roles."

Ebolapox
03-22-2003, 01:31 PM
:huh:

what's up with beltran???

-EBOLA-...doesn't follow the royals as much as he should

VonneMarie
03-22-2003, 01:36 PM
Beltran doubtful for opener


Beltran
Out since March 10 with a strained muscle on his right side, Carlos Beltran probably will begin the season on the disabled list instead of in the outfield. "Beltran is not close," manager Tony Pena said march 20. "I don't think he'll be ready for opening day." General manager Allard Baird doesn't know when Beltran might play again. "With this type of injury, you don't want to rush it," said Baird. "We'll be very conservative on having him to come back." If Beltran starts the season on the disabled list, Michael Tucker probably would play center field.

That's all I could find on him.

Ebolapox
03-22-2003, 01:43 PM
Originally posted by Sky
Beltran doubtful for opener


Beltran
Out since March 10 with a strained muscle on his right side, Carlos Beltran probably will begin the season on the disabled list instead of in the outfield. "Beltran is not close," manager Tony Pena said march 20. "I don't think he'll be ready for opening day." General manager Allard Baird doesn't know when Beltran might play again. "With this type of injury, you don't want to rush it," said Baird. "We'll be very conservative on having him to come back." If Beltran starts the season on the disabled list, Michael Tucker probably would play center field.

That's all I could find on him.

thanks

too bad though :sulk:

-EBOLA-