SURPRISE, Ariz. -- There's something about the Cactus League that simply agrees with Adalberto Mondesi.Royals fans will remember vividly how Mondesi, a switch-hitter, tore up the Cactus League last year, hitting .333 and stunning most observers by grabbing a spot on the Opening Day roster.Well, it's early, but here we
SURPRISE, Ariz. -- There's something about the Cactus League that simply agrees with Adalberto Mondesi.
Royals fans will remember vividly how Mondesi, a switch-hitter, tore up the Cactus League last year, hitting .333 and stunning most observers by grabbing a spot on the Opening Day roster.
Well, it's early, but here we go again.
Mondesi, seemingly a long shot to again make the Opening Day roster, is off to a fast start this spring. He is already 3-for-4 with a home run through two games. On Sunday, hitting left-handed, Mondesi smoked two line drives to left for hits.
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"And one was on a breaking ball," manager Ned Yost noted. "Impressive."
Mondesi, 22, has no explanation regarding his love affair with the Cactus League.
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"I think I just get here ready," Mondesi said. "And I think I just need to keep my routine the same going into the season and everything will be fine."
And that is the big question, not only for Royals fans but also for the coaching staff and the front office. Everyone has seen this before from Mondesi.
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But still etched in memory is Mondesi being overmatched at the big league level last April. He was hitting .103 when he finally was sent back to Triple-A in late April.
Mondesi excelled at Triple-A Omaha, hitting .305 with 13 home runs and 21 stolen bases. But in his mind, those numbers were as empty as his Spring Training numbers.
Mondesi wants to prove he's a big league player now.
The fist step was changing his hitting approach. Mondesi spent his offseason in the Dominican Republic revamping his hitting mechanics. He opened his stance from both sides. And he worked on waiting for the right pitch, rather than hacking at everything that looked right.
"Yes, I did a lot of hitting work," he said. "Every day. I changed everything. It feels good."
Mondesi reports he can see the ball better with his open stance, and combined with a more selective approach, he feels he can more easily make the transition to the big leagues again.
"And I stay shorter to the ball," he said. "It gets more comfortable every day."
The Royals maintain that Mondesi still has a shot to make the Opening Day roster, even though they re-signed shortstop Alcides Escobar to a one-year deal. Yost has indicated Mondesi could play second base, which would move Whit Merrifield to more of a super utility role.
"I'm trying to get ready to play in the big leagues," Mondesi said. "It's all about the big leagues."
Jeffrey Flanagan has covered the Royals since 1991, and for MLB.com since 2015. Follow him on Twitter @FlannyMLB.