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Hard hits from Soler music to Royals' ears

Offseason addition had been off to a slow start at the plate this spring
March 15, 2017

SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Not that anyone on the Royals' coaching staff was panicking, but manager Ned Yost and his coaches certainly were at least slightly relieved when they saw outfielder Jorge Soler barrel two balls at the plate on Tuesday.Soler, acquired in the offseason from the Cubs for closer Wade

SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Not that anyone on the Royals' coaching staff was panicking, but manager Ned Yost and his coaches certainly were at least slightly relieved when they saw outfielder Jorge Soler barrel two balls at the plate on Tuesday.
Soler, acquired in the offseason from the Cubs for closer Wade Davis, had been 3-for-31 before Tuesday -- and those three hits were all bloopers.
But on Tuesday against the Angels, Soler ripped his first extra-base hit of the spring -- a double to the wall in center. Later he ripped a single to left.
"That was probably the best I've felt in the box since the beginning of Spring Training," Soler said Wednesday morning through interpreter Christian Colon.
Yost said he believes Soler's early struggles simply were a matter of timing.
"The more at-bats you get," Yost said, "the more you work it out. I've seen guys have really bad Spring Trainings and then come the regular season, they're fine."
Soler disregarded any notion that the trade put pressure on him to produce right away this spring for his new team.
"I'm just being more aggressive," Soler said. "That's part of my game. I was being too passive early on. Timing is it, too. But be more aggressive."
The second part of Soler's development is defensively. He has been working every day with outfielders coach Rusty Kuntz for over a month on his jump and his routes to the ball.
"We've had a lot of conversations," Soler said. "I feel very comfortable out there. Rusty is doing a great job with me. Just going to continue to listen."
Yost has moved Soler between right field and left field all spring, just to see where he might position best.
"I feel comfortable, very comfortable in right field," Soler said. "In left field, I'm still working on some things. But I'll play wherever they want me, too."

Jeffrey Flanagan has covered the Royals since 1991, and for MLB.com since 2015. Follow him on Twitter @FlannyMLB.