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Pitchers, catchers finish first official practice

SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Now it's official. Royals Spring Training is underway. The pitchers and catchers went through their first scheduled practice on Saturday in 73-degree sunshine at their complex. And, even though most of them had been working out here for several days previously, they seemed especially eager.

"Always this time of year, players are anxious to get going," manager Ned Yost said.

"It's funny how Spring Training goes in stages. You get real anxious to get started, and then after three or four days, you get real anxious for the whole team to get here. Then when the whole team gets here, you get real anxious to start games. And then after a week or 10 days, you get real anxious to start the season. So you get a couple of little plateaus of anxiousness, if you will, but the first day went great."

The 31 pitchers were divided into two groups, throwing and non-throwing.

"[The throwers] did long toss and they threw 'pens and they ran through a pickoff station and a fielding station. The non-throwers went up to the top [of the complex] and did a four-field rotation of more extensive PFPs [pitchers' fielding practice]," Yost said. "Now tomorrow we'll switch those two groups."

The catchers did their part, handling the pitchers in the bullpen sessions.

"Everybody is excited and happy and can't wait for the season to get started," catcher Salvador Perez said.

Like others in camp, however, he doesn't want to look too far ahead when assessing the Royals' postseason chances, preferring to concentrate on the training at hand.

"Are we going to go to the playoffs? We don't know. There's a long way to go," Perez said. "We have to go day to day -- today and tomorrow and that's it. Then we'll see what happens."

Most of the infielders and outfielders who've been working out unofficially this week took Saturday off. Their reporting date is Wednesday, with the first full-squad workout on Thursday.

Dick Kaegel is a reporter for
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