News & Notes: Royals win, sign first pick, Blue Rocks lose

Not only did the KC Royals win their game on Wednesday night, but they also signed their first round draft pick from last week’s draft.

Ashe Russell (their top pick) was at Kauffman Stadium to not only sign his professional contract, but to meet the media, the players, and the fans. Russell seemed to really enjoy his time, posting photos of his time with the fans on Twitter.

Russell wore a Royal blue bow tie and signed for $2,190,200 (about $6,000 over slot). He will report to the spring training complex in Surprise and work out for 10-14 days and then head to rookie level Burlington, where he will throw 40-50 innings in his professional debut.

Russell and their other first round pick, Nolan Watson, only grew up a few miles apart in Indiana.


Now to the Royals game…

Manager Ned Yost tied Whitey Herzog for most wins in team history with 410.

The Royals also had their one millionth fan go through the turnstiles at Kauffman Stadium last night on home game number 31. It is the fastest they have gotten to that mark since 1986 and 1987.

Oh and spot starter Joe Blanton more than held his own against the Milwaukee Brewers. He held them to one run on five hits over five innings. He struck out four. Blanton allowed a double and an RBI triple in the 2nd inning, but that was it.

The Royals offense went to work in the bottom of the second with three runs on an Alex Rios sac fly and back-to-back RBI singles from Omar Infante and Alcides Escobar. They had four hits in the inning.

And the Royals never looked back.


Now to the minors…

Double-A NW Arkansas won on Wednesday night with the power of four home runs. However, they did not clinch the North Division of the Texas League because second place Arkansas was rained out and the Travelers have seven games left in five days, while the Naturals have just five games left.

So, the Naturals just need to win one more game.

High-A Wilmington did not clinch last night either, as they were shut out by visiting Salem in the series finale and home finale of the first half. It was their third shutout loss to the Red Sox in their last six games. The Blue Rocks are just 2-8 in their last ten games and now only lead Lynchburg by three games (the Hillcats own the tie-breaker).

The Blue Rocks finish up the first half in Frederick, as the Keys are four games back. However, Wilmington only needs one win in Frederick and a Hillcats loss to clinch the Northern Division of the Carolina League.

Blue Rocks pitcher Cody Reed on Opening Night 2015 (Jen Nevius).

Blue Rocks pitcher Cody Reed on Opening Night 2015 (Jen Nevius).

It was a rough start for Carolina League All-Star Cody Reed, who was whipped by Salem for the second straight time. He only lasted 4.2 innings and allowed four runs on nine hits. He allowed a two out, two-run home run to fellow CL All-Star Sam Travis to put the Red Sox on the board (it came on a 3-0 pitch). His ERA rose to 2.14 (now second in the league).

Manager Brian Buchanan held a closed door team meeting following the game and said afterward that Reed just hasn’t had his best stuff in his last two starts. “…been missing his locations and keeping pitches up and when you keep pitches up, then they are going to hit them.”

On the other side, Salem starter Aaron Wilkerson kept the Blue Rocks off the bases. Their first base runner came on a leadoff walk in the fifth (Cody Stubbs). They didn’t collect their first hit until Carlos Garcia singled with two outs in the sixth. They then had two base runners on base over the next three innings, but could not scratch a run across.

Robinson Yambati once again showed flashes of great stuff and wildness. He struck out three, but allowed a solo home run to right field. Yambati left with the bases loaded in the seventh (on three walks and two wild pitches).

On a positive note, struggling reliever Nick Green threw a scoreless ninth. “He can pitch like that if he can keep the ball down,” Buchanan said after the game.

About Jen Nevius

I first became a KC Royals fan way back in 1995 when I attended my first Wilmington Blue Rocks game. I fell in love with minor league baseball then and began following the Royals as former Blue Rocks clawed their way to the big leagues. 3+ years ago I started covering the Royals for Aerys Sports, but since the site has been shut down, I am going out on my own.
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