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Moose focused on looking ahead, not back

Royals veteran happy to be 'home' after enduring chilly free-agent market
MLB.com @FlannyMLB

SURPRISE, Ariz. -- When the offseason began, no one believed third baseman Mike Moustakas would wind up back with the Royals on a one-year deal worth $6.5 million.

Moustakas had just come off a season in which he set a Royals franchise record with 38 home runs. A multi-year megadeal seemed well within reach.

SURPRISE, Ariz. -- When the offseason began, no one believed third baseman Mike Moustakas would wind up back with the Royals on a one-year deal worth $6.5 million.

Moustakas had just come off a season in which he set a Royals franchise record with 38 home runs. A multi-year megadeal seemed well within reach.

But the ice-cold free-agent market never produced such an offer.

Moustakas, though, isn't looking back. And he isn't wallowing in self-pity regarding the deal that never came to fruition.

:: Spring Training coverage presented by Camping World ::

"People keep asking me about that," Moustakas said. "That's all done. The offseason is over and now I can go out and play baseball. It's all in the past.

"I'm here to play baseball. Obviously, things didn't work out the way people thought it would, but that happens. It's over. For me, I get to come home and be around guys I know, people I know, trainers I know. It's a fortunate spot."

And the first thing the Royals' coaching staff noticed when Moustakas arrived is that he hasn't missed a beat. Manager Ned Yost has raved repeatedly about Moustakas' offense and defense.

Video: KC@CLE: Moustakas crushes a solo homer to cut deficit

"He's in great shape and he has picked up right where he left off last season," Yost said. "His timing is there. It's all there."

Moustakas, 29, looks noticeably thinner than he was at the end of last season. He credits an offseason devoted to eating healthier and doing plenty of cardiovascular exercises. He is a year and a half removed from surgery for a torn ACL in his right knee.

"The knee feels 100 percent," Moustakas said. "I was able to do a lot more running this offseason because of that."

Moustakas also is finally recovered from a nasty bruise he endured on his right hip after being nailed by a 98-mph fastball from Detroit's Bruce Rondon in August.

"I didn't think it would ever heal," Moustakas said. "It didn't start feeling better until the last week of the season."

Video: KC@DET: Moustakas is hit by a pitch, benches clear

A healthy Moustakas has enjoyed a solid spring, even with his late start (he signed on March 8). He entered Saturday hitting .381 before smacking his fourth homer of the spring in the first inning of the Royals' penultimate Cactus League game vs. the split-squad D-backs.

"I think I have my timing down because I took a lot of BP in the offseason," Moustakas said. "I focused on getting in shape. It all feels good right now. And that's the main thing about camp -- just get out of here healthy."

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

Kansas City Royals, Mike Moustakas