There are new faces in Kansas City this season, from manager Billy Gardner to acquisitions Danny Tartabull and Juan Beniquez. But they aren't as important as the new looks on the old faces. The Royals are hungry. "We all think we're better than what we did last year," reliever Dan Quisenberry says. "I didn't bring anything silver, gold or copper home." Quiz lost his job as closer last May, but Gardner promises to give him the ball this season.
George Brett and cleanup hitter Frank White should benefit significantly from the acquisition of the righthanded Tartabull. The Royals were 18-29 against lefthanders in '86, which is why K.C. traded two minor leaguers to Baltimore for Beniquez, who will share righthanded DH duty with player-coach Hal McRae. Interestingly enough, both Beniquez and McRae have sons in the Royal organization.
Speaking of the organization, how about that rookie outfielder who proved last September that he was ready for the majors? Nope, not Bo Jackson, but Kevin Seitzer, who hit .323 in 96 at bats and will get a full opportunity in left.
As for the potentially traumatic change from Dick Howser to Gardner, Quisenberry says, "We haven't skipped a beat." In many ways, Howser and Gardner seem cut from the same cloth; both are low-key, average-sized former infielders. "Last year was the first time I was home during the summer in 42 years," Gardner says. "When spring comes, you want to be out there." In Kansas City, that's what they say about the autumn.
Has a higher career batting average on grass fields (.302) than on carpets (.293).
Only active players with career .300 BAs and .500 SAs: Brett, Guerrero, Rice and Mattingly.
Royals had a record of 19-2 in games in which he homered.
Has driven in 25 of 214 runners from first base (an abnormally high 11.7%).
Last extra-base hit off a lefthander: Sept. 27, 1981, a homer against Bob Ojeda.
Hit six ninth-inning homers last season, tying for major league lead.
Would move into third place on alltimc games-caught list with 65th appearance.
Royals allowed 4.13 runs per nine innings with Salazar, 4.37 with Buddy Biancalana.
Yearly batting averages by righlhanded batters: .248, .219, .218.
Averaged 6.69 innings per start, highest on Royals staff.
Highest ratio of strikeouts to walks vs. lefties (4.22) for second consecutive season.
Poorest run support (2.93 runs per start) in majors last season.
Opponents' annual averages with runners in scoring position: .295, .220, .191.
Dating back to July 1982, has walked five of the last 467 leadoff hitters he has faced.