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Archive for Friday, March 9, 2007

Newbies spark Royals

March 9, 2007

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— Alex Gordon and Billy Butler looked like the players the Kansas City Royals hoped they would be - even if only one of them will be on the opening-day roster.

Gordon, the Texas League player of the year last season, tripled, doubled and drove in four runs in an 11-3 victory over the Seattle Mariners on Thursday.

Butler, who won the Texas League batting title last season with a .331 average, hit a three-run homer in the seventh and is hitting .667 in seven games. The Royals have the 20-year-old Butler slated to open the season with Triple-A Omaha.

"People in Kansas City are going to love these guys," Royals manager Buddy Bell said. "I'm excited for the fans because as time goes on, it is really going to be a neat place to go see a game and watch these guys play."

Despite his hot start at the plate, Bell said Butler won't be able to hit himself onto the opening day roster. He's going to Omaha to work on his defense.

"Even if I told him he wasn't going to make the club, he probably wouldn't believe it," Bell said. "I think he really believes he is a big League player. He may be. There are other things about his game that have to get better."

Gordon, however, is likely to be the Royals' starting third baseman. But while Butler has been pounding the ball, Gordon had struggled at the plate before Thursday.

"It was just one game, but it feels good to finally get some hits and help the team out," Gordon said. "I finally feel comfortable at the plate, which I really haven't felt all spring training long. I think it's starting to come around a little bit."

Angel Berroa and Jason Larue also homered for the Royals.

Mariners left-hander Jarrod Washburn worked three shutout innings, giving up one single and striking out four.

"It's like wins and losses in spring training," Washburn said. "It doesn't mean anything. I think it's good we're getting our work in. Obviously, some things are working for us. But it is spring training. The games don't mean a thing right now."

Still, the starters' spring stinginess encouraged Washburn.

"I think we have the capability of having a really solid rotation, guys who go out there with a chance to win every single night," he said. "That's our goal."

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