McBroom goes boom in case for roster spot

March 18th, 2021

MESA, Ariz. -- took two big swings forward in his quest for a spot on the Royals’ Opening Day roster on Wednesday.

The first baseman launched a no-doubt two-run home run in the first inning of the Royals’ 10-5 loss to the A’s at Hohokam Stadium and followed up with a deep sacrifice fly to center field in the third inning. The home run cleared the stadium gates, landing in the parking lot beyond left field, and while McBroom hoped he wasn’t going to find a broken windshield bill in his locker after the game, how hard-hit the ball was and how far it went was an indication of how McBroom’s swing feels right now.

“It’s coming on in spurts for me right now, but I’m kind of starting to flatten and iron some things out as we go,” McBroom said. “My main goal right now is just keeping my swing short and compact and staying in the middle of the field because a lot of guys are throwing in the upper-90s, and you got to be able to get to it, especially at the top of the strike zone. You got to keep it short.”

McBroom, 28, is in the same situation as fellow first baseman Ryan O’Hearn is in this spring. The two were poised to battle for a starting spot coming into spring until the Royals signed Carlos Santana, so manager Mike Matheny’s message to McBroom and O’Hearn was to find the positives and enter Spring Training with an eye on earning a bench spot.

McBroom was used as a bat off the bench early in the '20 season and smashed three pinch-hit home runs in an 18-day span. He tailed off some at the end of the season as he got used to new roles and focused this offseason on getting his swing back to the compact way it felt when he was producing every time he was called upon.

“That’s been a constant throughout my whole career,” McBroom said. “Because sometimes you can get away from certain things because your focus is elsewhere, and then you got to go back to the fundamentals, and that really is bat to ball. Especially when guys are throwing all types of movements and velocities and doing all types of things on the mound, you got to just be bat to ball.”

McBroom is 8-for-27 this spring with two home runs, and his last two games have been indicative of his work to get back to that short swing he needs to have.

“He’s a dangerous hitter,” Matheny said. “And I just believe over the long haul of his career, he’s going to find something that really clicks for him. He’s going to be able to do some damage on a consistent basis. What we need him to do is take advantage of the opportunities we give him and take a big at-bat. And he showed both of those today.”

Royals begin Minor League mini camp
Before Minor League Spring Training begins in a few weeks, the organization was able to kick off a mini camp in Columbia, S.C., home of the Royals' Class A affiliate, on Wednesday.

The camp is an opportunity for players not invited to big league camp to begin to ramp up and work with the Royals’ player development staff before heading to Minor League Spring Training at the Royals’ complex in Arizona. Because these players did not play a season last year, it’s going to take longer to build up to be ready for this season, which is scheduled to begin in early May.

Regular season TV schedule announced
The Royals and Bally Sports, rebranding from Fox Sports Kansas City, announced a 161-game broadcast schedule for the '21 regular season on Wednesday. The only game that won’t air on Bally Sports Kansas City is the June 26 game against the Rangers, which will be televised on FS1.

Ryan Lefebvre, in his 23rd season, will call most of the regular season games for Bally Sports Kansas City, and Steve Physioc will provide the play-by-play on the remaining games. Rex Hudler will return for his 10th season as the analyst, and Royals Hall of Famer Jeff Montgomery will provide analysis throughout the season on “Royals Live” with host Joel Goldberg.

Worth noting
• Royals starter allowed six runs (four earned) in 3 1/3 innings on Wednesday. He wasn’t helped by a few defensive miscues, but said he felt off mechanically, leading to some hard-hit balls. But he got his pitch count up to the high 60s, which is part of what these Spring Training games are for.

“It was more of a grind, and it was like that in the bullpen,” Minor said. “Sometimes it changes during the game, you get out there and things can change, but talked to [pitching coach] Cal [Eldred] and I just said, ‘Hey man, we’re going to be grinding today. So just get our pitch count in there, our innings and move on.'”

• Left-hander Kris Bubic (Thursday vs. White Sox) and right-hander Brady Singer (Friday vs. Angels) are the upcoming starters for the Royals’ Cactus League games.