01/19/13 9:00 PM ET
New-look rotation is a hit at Royals FanFest
By Dick Kaegel / MLB.com
Hosmer goes back to the basics
KANSAS CITY -- Call it "kid stuff."Royals first baseman Eric Hosmer fought the good fight as he battled through what seemed to be a season-long slump last year. But with a game every day, he couldn't devote enough concentration time on fixing things. That changed this winter when he had time to work with his older brother, Mike. "He's been watching my swing ever since I was a little kid," Hosmer said. "I told him, 'If you don't see anything that you didn't see when I was a little kid, let me know.' We basically worked the whole offseason and we feel like we're in a good spot now. I finally got to sit back, slow everything down, work on stuff, watch a lot of video and just kind of get back to the old swing." Before the season was over, Hosmer was dropped into the eighth spot in the lineup. "I didn't like it at all, to be really honest with you," Hosmer said, laughing. "It's obviously not where I wanted to be." Manager Ned Yost has always projected Hosmer as a No. 3-type hitter. "I really want to get back in that position, I'm fortunate enough to still have the chance to get back there in Spring Training," Hosmer said.
Butler honored by KC BBWAA
KANSAS CITY -- The annual Kansas City Baseball Writers' Awards were presented on the FanFest stage. Billy Butler was the top player, closer Greg Holland the top pitcher and shortstop Alcides Escobar won a special achievement award.Hall of Famer George Brett, offering commentary along with manager Ned Yost and general manager Dayton Moore, had this to say about Escobar: "Last year it didn't surprise me with anything he did with the glove. I just started calling him the human highlight reel; every series he'd make some play that appeared on SportsCenter. What he did offensively surprised me a little bit, but what I now see is last year is no fluke. He is going to hit. But what I'm most impressed with is the passion that he plays with." Yost called Escobar's ebullient attitude a big plus. "This is one of the few people that wake up every single day in a great mood," Yost said. "He's one of the happiest guys that we've got on this team, and his attitude and the way he goes about his business is infectious. When he comes in, he brightens up the room every day."
Chen waiting for OK to play for China in Classic
KANSAS CITY -- Royals left-hander Bruce Chen says he's still awaiting an official OK to play for China in the upcoming World Baseball Classic. He's submitted all sorts of documents tracing his Chinese ancestry. Born in Panama, his native country was eliminated in qualifying so he wants to play for his grandparents' homeland. If he does, he'll be the first Major Leaguer to play for China in the Classic.His invitation came in a roundabout way, from veteran Minor League infielder Ray Chang, who was born in Kansas City but played for China in the 2009 Classic. "He was actually the one who contacted me through [Aaron] Crow because they work out at the same place," Chen said. "He said, 'We wanted to know if you were interested.'" Chen agreed and wound up on China's provisional roster earlier this week.
Dick Kaegel is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.