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Checking in on AL Central new guys: Hill

MLB.com @FlannyMLB

KANSAS CITY -- New faces abound in the American League Central in 2018, some young and some old. And we're not talking about Frosty the Snowman, who has made an appearance in every AL Central park from Detroit to Kansas City here in April.

Let's go around the horn in the AL Central and check out the new guys.

KANSAS CITY -- New faces abound in the American League Central in 2018, some young and some old. And we're not talking about Frosty the Snowman, who has made an appearance in every AL Central park from Detroit to Kansas City here in April.

Let's go around the horn in the AL Central and check out the new guys.

Indians
Who's the new guy?
First baseman Yonder Alonso

Video: CLE@MIN: Alonso homers to right field, call confirmed

How's it going so far? Through 16 games, Alonso has a .196/.274/.375 slash line to go with three home runs and nine RBIs. Like most of the Indians' lineup, Alonso's slow start was impacted by an extremely cold stretch of games in Cleveland.

What's on deck? Alonso's .195 batting average on balls in play is the ninth-lowest mark in the AL. That, combined with other peripheral statistics, indicate a positive regression is coming.

Number to know: 8. Alonso is one of 16 players in MLB with at least eight barrels, per Statcast™..

Royals
Who's the new guy?
Rookie left-hander Tim Hill

Video: CWS@KC: Hill fans Sanchez to record first strikeout

How's it going so far? Incredibly well. Hill perhaps was a long shot to make the 25-man roster entering Spring Training, but his funky sidearm delivery caught the coaching staff's eyes immediately. Hill's fastball sits around 91-92 mph, and extensive work on his slider ("It's still improving," manager Ned Yost said.) this spring is paying off, as AL hitters are still somewhat baffled by his repertoire.

What's on deck? More high-leverage situations. As the rest of the Royals' bullpen wobbles, Hill and closer Kelvin Herrera have been Yost's most reliable go-to guys. Yost and his staff had been hoping to bring Hill along slowly, but now Kansas City may have no choice but to use Hill from the eighth inning on.

Number to know: 0. That's the number of hits Hill has given up in his first seven appearances.

Tigers
Who's the new guy?
Leonys Martin

Video: DET@CLE: Martin cranks solo HR over right-field wall

How's it going so far? Martin has filled the leadoff and center-field roles surprisingly well, covering more range in the gaps at Comerica Park than probably anybody since Austin Jackson's rookie year. Offensively, Martin scored nine runs in his first 14 games, including the go-ahead tally Tuesday after reaching base on a bunt single.

What's on deck? Martin is in line to get close to everyday playing time in center now that JaCoby Jones is getting the bulk of the starts in left. With Dixon Machado having cooled off from his start, Martin is safe in the leadoff spot for the near future.

Number to know 5. Those are the Outs Above Average Martin earned in about a half-season of playing time last year between the Mariners and Cubs. He's on track to top that in Detroit.

Twins
Who's the new guy?
Designated hitter/first baseman Logan Morrison

Video: MIN@PIT: Morrison scores Sano on an RBI double

How's it going so far? Morrison has struggled offensively so far since signing a one-year deal in Spring Training. He was brought in to be a power bat from the left side after a breakout year with the Rays last year, when he clubbed 38 home runs. Morrison has yet to break out of his slump this season, and he has produced only one extra-base hit (a double) in 44 at-bats this season.

What's on deck? The Twins believe Morrison will get it going offensively based on his track record, so he'll continue to be the everyday designated hitter and backup to Joe Mauer at first base. Morrison has also had to adjust to playing in cold weather early this season, so the hope is his bat will heat up with the weather.

Number to know: 3. The number of hits for Morrison in his first 12 games with Minnesota.

White Sox
Who's the new guy?
Right-hander Bruce Rondon

Video: DET@CWS: Rondon strikes out Cabrera swinging in 8th

How's it going so far? The hard-throwing right-hander came up from Triple-A Charlotte to replace an ineffective Juan Minaya in Chicago's bullpen and has been unhittable in a small sample size. Rondon's 100 mph velocity and a sharp slider to go with it gives the White Sox a potential closer, or at least another late-inning option.

What's on deck? Look for Rondon to continue getting late-inning, high-leverage opportunities, although the White Sox have Nate Jones and Joakim Soria in place in the closer's role. At 27, Rondon could be a newfound part of the rebuild, or he could end up being a great trade chip if he continues pitching well.

Number to know: 5. Rondon struck out the first five batters he faced this season, including his old friend and Detroit teammate Miguel Cabrera, who gave Rondon a knowing wink after a slider got him

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

Chicago White Sox, Minnesota Twins, Cleveland Indians, Detroit Tigers, Kansas City Royals, Yonder Alonso, Tim Hill, Leonys Martin, Logan Morrison, Bruce Rondon

Royals unable to keep pace with Jays' bats

MLB.com

TORONTO -- Wednesday's 15-5 loss to the Blue Jays was the eighth consecutive defeat for the Royals, who get a much-needed off-day Thursday before opening a four-game weekend series in Detroit with a doubleheader on Friday.

Starter Ian Kennedy was off to a hot start in 2018, but he had to battle through his five innings on 106 pitches Wednesday. Kennedy allowed six runs (four earned) on eight hits and three walks while striking out six.

View Full Game Coverage

TORONTO -- Wednesday's 15-5 loss to the Blue Jays was the eighth consecutive defeat for the Royals, who get a much-needed off-day Thursday before opening a four-game weekend series in Detroit with a doubleheader on Friday.

Starter Ian Kennedy was off to a hot start in 2018, but he had to battle through his five innings on 106 pitches Wednesday. Kennedy allowed six runs (four earned) on eight hits and three walks while striking out six.

View Full Game Coverage

Video: KC@TOR: Kennedy strikes out Granderson to start frame

"I was under 80 or 90 percent of my pitches tonight," Kennedy said. "Especially later in the game."

Mike Moustakas got the Royals on the board in the third with an opposite-field double that scored a pair. That extended Moustakas' hitting streak to 10 games, and he continues to be a bright spot in Kansas City' lineup. Over the past 10 games, Moustakas has gone 19-for-43 (.442) with four doubles, four home runs and 11 RBIs.

"He's swinging the bat really well," said manager Ned Yost, "really playing well. I think he's playing great defense, I think he's swinging the bat really well. He's just smoking the ball to all fields, down the third-base line, in the gaps."

Video: KC@TOR: Yost discusses Royals' early-season struggles

The Royals also allowed the Blue Jays to extend their lead in the later innings, something that has plagued their bullpen of late. After giving up a pair of hits on Tuesday, Kevin McCarthy allowed three runs in 1 2/3 innings after taking over for Kennedy.

Justin Grimm then allowed six runs on four hits, including a grand slam to Curtis Granderson. This was the fourth consecutive appearance in which Grimm has allowed multiple runs, and his ERA now sits at 18.90.

"We always like to try to get through the first month before we start making some changes," Yost said. "It definitely hasn't been very pretty."

MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Costly error: Paulo Orlando was charged with an error on Toronto's go-ahead run in the bottom of the fifth. Randal Grichuk connected on a hard liner to left that got Orlando twisted around as he moved back toward the wall, but the catchable ball bounced off his glove and allowed Yangervis Solarte to score from second base. It also kept the inning alive for Luke Maile, who singled home another unearned run.

Video: KC@TOR: Solarte scores on Orlando's fielding error

Whit and run: Whit Merrifield hit his first home run of the season in the fifth inning, which brought the Royals back to a tie at 4 at the time. Jon Jay singled to right field before Merrifield connected on the 399-foot blast that Statcast™ measured at 103.9 mph off the bat.

Video: KC@TOR: Merrifield rips two-run jack, Duffy calls it

"Whit's Whit," Yost said. "Whit's always going to give you a great at-bat."

SOUND SMART
Kansas City's eight-game losing streak is its longest since last April, when the Royals lost nine in a row. They've allowed at least four runs in each of the losses.

HE SAID IT
"Pretty discouraged. When you lose a doubleheader, lose the way we did against the Angels, it's kind of discouraging. We all feel that way. It's not the start we all want." -- Kennedy

Video: KC@TOR: Soler crushes his first homer of the season

UP NEXT
Kansas City will play its second doubleheader of the week on Friday in Detroit, beginning at 12:10 p.m. CT. With four postponements already this season, Yost says that his team is still looking for "traction." Jason Hammel (pitching first and facing Michael Fulmer) and Jakob Junis (facing Daniel Norris) will both look to continue their strong starts in 2018.

Keegan Matheson is a reporter for MLB.com.

Kansas City Royals, Ian Kennedy, Whit Merrifield, Mike Moustakas

Duffy calls Merrifield's home run perfectly

On the mound, Royals starter Danny Duffy doesn't give up a ton of home runs. Among pitchers who pitched at least 100 innings in 2017, Duffy gave up the eighth-fewest home runs per nine innings and had the lowest rate of home runs per fly balls.

In the dugout, however, Duffy appears to be a bit of an expert on home runs. During the fifth inning of Wednesday afternoon's game against the Blue Jays, Duffy went on the Facebook Watch broadcast for an interview. He ended up impressively calling Whit Merrifield's wall-scraping dinger. The moment the ball left the bat, Duffy declared "that ball's gone, boys." You can check out the call in the video above.

Vallot among top prospect performers

Brewers duo impresses on both sides of the ball
MLB.com @wboor

Here's MLB Pipeline's roundup of the top prospect performances in the Minor Leagues on Thursday.

The Brewers' top two prospects showed a bit of why they are so highly-touted on Thursday night.

Here's MLB Pipeline's roundup of the top prospect performances in the Minor Leagues on Thursday.

The Brewers' top two prospects showed a bit of why they are so highly-touted on Thursday night.

Milwaukee's No. 1 prospect Keston Hiura (No. 56 overall) hit his first homer of the season in a 2-for-5 showing with Class A Advanced Carolina while Corbin Burnes (Brewers' No. 2, No. 69 overall) spun a scoreless start and picked up the win for Triple-A Colorado Springs.

Hiura, who hit .371 in 42 games after he was picked in the first round a season ago, got off to a slow start this season, but he appears to be finding his rhythm. The 21-year-old has hits in four of his past five games, raising his average from .143 to .220 over that timeframe.

Hiura's first homer of 2018

Burnes was impressive from start to finish as he struck out the side in the first inning, setting the tone for things to come. The right-hander notched at least one strikeout in five of his first six innings, ultimately finishing with nine.

Burnes faced one batter in the seventh, got a flyout, then was lifted after yielding three hits over 6 1/3 innings.

Burnes rings up ninth strikeout

Other top prospect performances from Thursday's action:

• No. 3 overall prospect Vladimir Guerrero Jr. (Blue Jays' No. 1) is hitting .362/.411/.596 after going 2-for-4 with Double-A New Hampshire. Guerrero has hits in 10 of 12 games this season and has notched multiple hits in five of his past six games. While Guerrero was contributing on the offensive end, Jordan Romano (No. 27) kept Binghamton in check with seven innings of one-run ball.

• No. 23 overall prospect Austin Hays (Orioles' No. 1) was responsible for half of Double-A Bowie's offense in a 6-1 win over Richmond. Hays finished just 1-for-4, but he drove in three runs via a sacrifice fly in the first and a two-run homer in the ninth. Cedric Mullins (Orioles' No. 7) collected a season-high three hits, going 3-for-5, and Keegan Akin (Orioles' No. 9) picked up his first win of the year as he struck out seven over six innings of one-run ball.

Hays goes the other way

• No. 38 overall prospect Jack Flaherty (Cardinals' No. 2) spun the first complete game of his career (seven innings) and moved to 3-0 as he led Triple-A Memphis to a win over Omaha in Game 1 of a doubleheader. The 22-year-old right hander gave up two runs (one earned) on two hits and struck out six while throwing 67 of his 95 pitches for strikes.

Flaherty finishes complete game

• No. 97 overall prospect Austin Riley (Braves' No. 8) is swinging a scorching-hot bat for Double-A Mississippi. The 21-year-old, who went 3-for-3, is hitting .408 after his fourth straight multi-hit effort. Over those four games, Riley is 10-for-15 with six extra-base hits and five RBIs.

• No. 99 overall prospect Blake Rutherford (White Sox No. 7) continued his hot start and extended his hitting streak to six games, going 4-for-5 with Class A Advanced Winston-Salem. Rutherford, who is batting .404 through 11 games, also set a career high with four RBIs. Micker Adolfo (No. 10) also contributed to the win, hitting his third homer of the year.

Rutherford's two-run single

Athletics No. 8 prospect Sean Murphy pushed his average to .409 with his fourth consecutive multi-hit performance for Double-A Midland. Murphy, who hit just .209 in 53 games with Midland last season, went 4-for-5 and is off to a particularly fast start at the plate. The 23-year-old has hits in nine of the 11 games he's played in and has also racked up nine RBIs.

Murphy knocks out four hits

• Braves No. 10 prospect Joey Wentz was once again dominant for Class A Advanced Florida. Wentz retired the first five batters he faced on his way toward hurling five scoreless innings. The 20-year-old hasn't given up a run in either of his past two starts (10 innings) and has allowed just one run all season. Wentz struck out six, including the final two batters he faced, and has now fanned 15 in 14 innings.

Cubs No. 3 prospect Oscar De La Cruz bounced back from a couple rough starts to spin a gem for Double-A Tennessee. The right-hander gave up 11 earned runs over six innings in his first two starts, but he showed no signs of struggle against Montgomery. De La Cruz dominated through six scoreless frames, surrendering just one hit and striking out six.

De La Cruz fans six

• Pirates prospects Calvin Mitchell (No. 16) and Travis MacGregor (No. 25) led Class A West Virginia to a 3-0 win over Asheville. Mitchell, who finished 2-for-4, provided all the offense with a three-run homer in the third while MacGregor did his part by pitching six scoreless innings. MacGregor, who struck out six and yielded three hits, has given up just one earned run over three starts this season.

Red Sox No. 11 prospect Josh Ockimey picked the perfect time -- waiting until the bases were loaded -- to hit his first homer of the season. The 22-year-old went 3-for-4 for Double-A Portland and put the game out of reach with a grand slam in the seventh.

Royals No. 25 prospect Chase Vallot snapped an 0-for-17 skid with a first-inning grand slam for Class A Advanced Wilmington. Vallot picked up a fifth RBI via a bases-loaded walk in the fourth, but is still having a tough time at the plate as he finished 1-for-5.

Angels No. 29 prospect Joe Gatto gave up five runs in three innings in his last start with Class A Advanced Inland Empire, but he bounced back in a big way against Lancaster. The 22-year-old right-hander fired 53 of his 79 pitches for strikes as he struck out nine and yielded three hits over six scoreless frames. Gatto struck out the side in the first and notched at least one strikeout in five of his six innings.

William Boor is a reporter for MLB Pipeline. Follow him on Twitter at @wboor.

Royals squander Duffy's fine start in nightcap

Lefty logs 8 K's, but bullpen labors late in walk-off loss to Jays
Special to MLB.com

TORONTO -- It was deja vu for the Royals as an excellent start from Danny Duffy went for naught in a 5-4 walk-off loss to the Blue Jays in the nightcap of a doubleheader on Tuesday night at Rogers Centre.

The Blue Jays couldn't solve Duffy, who allowed just two hits while striking out eight over six innings after Kansas City's 11-3 loss in the opener. But the bullpen labored late in Game 2 as Brian Flynn loaded the bases in the 10th inning before giving up Luke Maile's walk-off single to right field.

View Full Game Coverage

TORONTO -- It was deja vu for the Royals as an excellent start from Danny Duffy went for naught in a 5-4 walk-off loss to the Blue Jays in the nightcap of a doubleheader on Tuesday night at Rogers Centre.

The Blue Jays couldn't solve Duffy, who allowed just two hits while striking out eight over six innings after Kansas City's 11-3 loss in the opener. But the bullpen labored late in Game 2 as Brian Flynn loaded the bases in the 10th inning before giving up Luke Maile's walk-off single to right field.

View Full Game Coverage

Video: KC@TOR: Maile rips a game-winning single to right

"Phenomenal," manager Ned Yost said of Duffy's outing. "His arm strength is getting better each time he goes out and he's really polishing his command."

Duffy's fastball velocity was also encouraging. The left-hander averaged 91.6 mph on his four-seam fastball through his first three starts this season, which was lower than any season average in his career. Duffy corrected that against the Blue Jays, as he averaged 93.1 mph and maxed out at 95.5 mph.

Video: KC@TOR: Yost on extra-inning loss to Blue Jays

"I felt like I was behind the ball," Duffy said. "I felt like everything was working. That mound was phenomenal. I don't know what it is about this mound and [the Rays'] mound, but I really enjoy pitching off these mountains."

Justin Grimm, who came on in the seventh with the Royals holding a 3-0 lead, walked all three batters he faced while throwing just five strikes on 17 pitches. Brad Keller, who allowed all three inherited runners to score, gave up the lead with a go-ahead RBI single by Steve Pearce.

"Grimm just could not find his slot today," Yost said, "[He] just couldn't do it. Then you get bases loaded, you bring in Keller, who's got really good stuff, but it just kind of snowballs on you."

Video: KC@TOR: Herrera K's Smoak to send it to extras

Kelvin Herrera was a bright spot for the Royals in the late innings and gave them a chance in extras. With runners on the corners and one out in the ninth, Herrera struck out pinch-hitter Curtis Granderson and Justin Smoak to escape the jam and force a 10th inning.

The Royals gave Duffy an early 1-0 lead after Lucas Duda was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded. Blue Jays starter Joe Biagini retired the next three batters, however, to escape the inning without further damage.

Video: KC@TOR: Almonte belts a solo homer to center

Abraham Almonte hit his first home run of the season for the Royals in the sixth inning off Biagini.

MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Esky magic: After the Blue Jays' rally in the seventh, Royals shortstop Alcides Escobar tied the game at 4 with a towering shot to right field in the eighth inning off reliever Ryan Tepera. It was Escobar's first home run of the season and left his bat with a launch angle of 35 degrees, according to Statcast™.

Video: KC@TOR: Escobar belts a game-tying homer to left

Moose stays loose: Royals third baseman Mike Moustakas, who homered in Game 1 and added three hits in the nightcap, extended his hitting streak to nine games on Tuesday and has gone 18-for-34 (.529) with four home runs and nine RBIs in that span. This comes on the heels of a relatively slow start as he hit just .174 with no home runs over his first six games.

Video: KC@TOR: Moustakas lifts an RBI double to left-center

YOU GOTTA SEE THIS
Royals right fielder Whit Merrifield robbed Yangervis Solarte of extra bases in the 10th inning with a nice running catch. Merrifield got a great jump on the deep fly ball and made a leaping grab near the wall.

Video: KC@TOR: Merrifield ranges back, leaps for the out

HE SAID IT
"Nine times out of 10, Grimm's going to get that done. That's one thing I hate hearing, is 'sorry' after a reliever has a tough go. Don't apologize. These guys are nasty. They're here for a reason, and they're going to get the job done more times than not. There's no discouraged dudes in here." -- Duffy, on the bullpen

UP NEXT
Right-hander Ian Kennedy starts the series finale at 3:07 p.m. CT on Wednesday at Rogers Centre, while the Blue Jays will counter with J.A. Happ in a game that will be broadcast exclusively on Facebook. Kennedy has been one of the hottest pitchers in baseball this season with a 1.00 ERA over his first three starts.

Keegan Matheson is a contributor to MLB.com based in Toronto.

Kansas City Royals, Danny Duffy, Alcides Escobar, Brian Flynn, Justin Grimm, Kelvin Herrera, Brad Keller, Mike Moustakas

Guthrie ready to make broadcasting debut

Former Royals pitcher excited for opportunity in KC-TOR game
MLB.com @FlannyMLB

When asked what his broadcasting style might be as he prepared to make his debut in Wednesday's Facebook-exclusive Royals-Blue Jays game, former Kansas City right-hander Jeremy Guthrie paused briefly.

"I don't know. Anyone got any tips?" Guthrie deadpanned.

When asked what his broadcasting style might be as he prepared to make his debut in Wednesday's Facebook-exclusive Royals-Blue Jays game, former Kansas City right-hander Jeremy Guthrie paused briefly.

"I don't know. Anyone got any tips?" Guthrie deadpanned.

Chances are, Guthrie will be just fine as he works in the booth for the 3:07 p.m. CT game in Toronto. Guthrie will be working with MLB Network play-by-play announcer Scott Braun and former Expo Cliff Floyd. Alexa Datt will serve as the in-game reporter.

Those who have known Guthrie over the years have felt he might have a second career in the booth. He has an insightful knowledge of the game and easily finds the levity in situations.

"It's certainly something I have interest in," Guthrie said. "MLB reached out to me to do this, and I was pretty excited. Nervous, but excited."

Guthrie and Royals vice president of communications Mike Swanson had several chats about Guthrie pursuing a career in broadcasting.

"I [thought] he could have the skill set for it," Swanson said. "Jeremy played the game a long time, which gives him the on-field knowledge, and the Jeremy Guthrie I know analyzes every situation, which could play well on the air for him. … I think [Wednesday] will give him a great opportunity to get a feel for the timing in the booth."

Guthrie said he has a great deal of respect for those in the broadcasting profession, and he listed Vin Scully, Keith Jackson, Al Michaels and Marv Levy as some of the broadcasters he has admired.

Any nerves Guthrie might have on Wednesday could be alleviated by his familiarity with Kansas City's organization.

Guthrie, who retired last season, came to the Royals in 2012 and was an instant hit, going 5-3 with a 3.16 ERA in 14 second-half starts. He started Game 7 of the 2014 World Series against the Giants, and he won a World Series championship ring in '15.

Of course, the Royals have experienced quite a roster turnover since Guthrie last played for them, but he remains in touch with Alex Gordon and Salvador Perez (presently on the disabled list), and can still count Alcides Escobar, Kelvin Herrera, Mike Moustakas, Danny Duffy, Drew Butera and Paulo Orlando as former teammates.

"Also, the game is in Toronto -- a great city and a place I had some success [2.62 career ERA] at," Guthrie said. "This could set up pretty well."

Wednesday's game will be the third Facebook game shown, part of a 25-game deal announced last month by Major League Baseball.

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

Kansas City Royals

Moose, Duda homers aren't enough vs. Jays

Special to MLB.com

TORONTO -- The Royals grabbed an early lead with back-to-back home runs, but starter Eric Skoglund and the bullpen couldn't hold it, as they dropped an 11-3 decision to the Blue Jays on Tuesday in the opener of a doubleheader at Rogers Centre.

Mike Moustakas was the first to go deep in the third inning and Lucas Duda followed suit with a rocket to right field just five pitches later. That was the fourth home run of the season for Moustakas and the third for Duda.

View Full Game Coverage

TORONTO -- The Royals grabbed an early lead with back-to-back home runs, but starter Eric Skoglund and the bullpen couldn't hold it, as they dropped an 11-3 decision to the Blue Jays on Tuesday in the opener of a doubleheader at Rogers Centre.

Mike Moustakas was the first to go deep in the third inning and Lucas Duda followed suit with a rocket to right field just five pitches later. That was the fourth home run of the season for Moustakas and the third for Duda.

View Full Game Coverage

"Both of those guys have the ability any time they step in that box to put the ball out of the ballpark, too," manager Ned Yost said. "They both had a good day offensively."

Skoglund had settled into a groove in those early innings before the Blue Jays got to him for three runs in the fifth to regain the lead. The big left-hander was lifted after five innings and 77 pitches.

Skoglund allowed five earned runs on eight hits with one walk and six strikeouts. The one early blow that he allowed was a two-run home run to Yangervis Solarte in the first, which traveled a projected 416 feet, according to Statcast™.

"They had good approaches that second half," Skoglund said. "That last inning, they just took it where it was pitched and executed on what they had to do."

Blaine Boyer took over in the sixth inning and quickly allowed the Blue Jays to tack on some insurance runs. After Kevin Pillar reached on an error and Aledmys Diaz singled, Randal Grichuk launched a three-run home run to left field to extend Toronto's lead to 8-3.

"He's struggling," Yost said. "It's mostly location. He gets ahead, then the pitch that they hit for the three-run homer wasn't a horrible pitch, it just had too much plate."

Boyer then loaded the bases before being pulled for Burch Smith. He allowed six runs in total, but only two of those were earned.

MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
The Royals had an opportunity to open up a lead early in the game with the bases loaded and none out, but they only managed to push one run across. Duda, Jorge Soler and Cheslor Cuthbert all singled to open the second inning, but Paulo Orlando grounded into a double play that snuffed out the momentum, despite Duda scoring on the play. Blue Jays starter Jaime Garcia then got Cam Gallagher to ground out to end the inning.

Video: KC@TOR: Duda comes home on a double play

SOUND SMART
Duda's home run in the third inning left his bat at 114.1 mph, according to Statcast™, which matched his hardest-hit home run since Statcast™ was introduced in 2015. Later in the game, Grichuk's home run left his bat at the same speed (114.1 mph) and was his and the Blue Jays' hardest-hit home run, topping a 113.5-mph homer hit by Josh Donaldson on Sept. 17, 2017.

HE SAID IT
"The only stuff I have for this kind of weather is camouflage." -- Yost, on the troubles of travelling to Toronto, where freezing rain continues to delay the arrival of spring weather

MITEL REPLAY OF THE DAY
For a moment, it looked like Gallagher would be the latest to be featured on a defensive highlight reel for Kevin Pillar. Gallagher drove a ball deep to right-center in the fifth inning that Pillar initially caught on the run and then bobbled. It appeared that he secured the ball and Gallagher was called out, but after a review, the umpires determined the ball had hit the wall and Gallagher was awarded a double.

Video: KC@TOR: Gallagher doubles after call overturned

UP NEXT
Left-hander Danny Duffy starts the nightcap of the doubleheader. After allowing three home runs in a difficult season debut, Duffy looked better in his next two starts -- giving up just one earned run over 5 1/3 innings his last time out against the Mariners.

Keegan Matheson is a contributor to MLB.com based in Toronto.

Kansas City Royals, Lucas Duda, Mike Moustakas

Royals add righty Barlow as their 26th man

Yost: Postponements taking toll on pitching staff
Special to MLB.com

TORONTO -- The Royals added right-hander Scott Barlow to their roster for the second game of their doubleheader in Toronto on Tuesday.

In two starts with Triple-A Omaha this season, Barlow has allowed just one earned run on eight hits with 12 strikeouts over 10 innings. In 2017, Barlow posted a 3.29 ERA over 26 starts split between Double-A Tulsa and Triple-A Oklahoma City in the Dodgers' organization.

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TORONTO -- The Royals added right-hander Scott Barlow to their roster for the second game of their doubleheader in Toronto on Tuesday.

In two starts with Triple-A Omaha this season, Barlow has allowed just one earned run on eight hits with 12 strikeouts over 10 innings. In 2017, Barlow posted a 3.29 ERA over 26 starts split between Double-A Tulsa and Triple-A Oklahoma City in the Dodgers' organization.

View Full Game Coverage

The Royals and Blue Jays had their series opener postponed on Monday after falling ice from the CN Tower in downtown Toronto punctured the roof of Rogers Centre. It was the first postponement at Rogers Centre since April 12, 2001, which was also against Kansas City.

Royals looking for traction

Having four postponements by mid-April has been hard on the Royals, and the impact will continue to be felt over the coming weeks.

"That's just the tip of the iceberg," manager Ned Yost said prior to Game 1 on Tuesday. "The challenge comes four days from now, when you've got a starter that's got to come back early."

Eric Skoglund and Danny Duffy started Tuesday's doubleheader, and one of the two will need to come back on short rest on Saturday in Detroit. Yost will make that decision based primarily on their Tuesday workload.

This comes after Kansas City's pitchers were pushed back due to postponements, which Yost wants to avoid. Skoglund, for example, last pitched on April 10, but Yost doesn't view the added rest as an advantage.

"It doesn't help, because it keeps them less sharp," Yost said. "If you're less sharp, it means that you're probably going to go less innings in the game, which puts a heavier workload on your bullpen."

Kansas City has another twin bill on April 28 against the White Sox at home.

Keegan Matheson is a contributor to MLB.com based in Toronto.

Kansas City Royals

Falling ice postpones opener against Jays

Due to storm, traditional doubleheader to start Tuesday at 2:07 p.m. CT
Special to MLB.com

TORONTO -- The Royals can't seem to escape the bad weather -- even in a dome.

Monday's series opener against the Blue Jays was postponed due to damage caused by falling ice and snow to the roof at Rogers Centre. The game will be made up as part of a traditional doubleheader on Tuesday beginning at 2:07 p.m. CT.

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TORONTO -- The Royals can't seem to escape the bad weather -- even in a dome.

Monday's series opener against the Blue Jays was postponed due to damage caused by falling ice and snow to the roof at Rogers Centre. The game will be made up as part of a traditional doubleheader on Tuesday beginning at 2:07 p.m. CT.

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After a weekend of freezing rain in Toronto, the area around the CN Tower and Rogers Centre was closed off for part of Monday. One piece of falling ice punctured a noticeable hole in the dome over right field, and Rogers Centre staff placed multiple tarps across the turf.

Crews worked through the afternoon to repair the roof from both inside and outside, but the Blue Jays made the official decision just after 4:30 p.m. CT.

"I was in Milwaukee for six years and it was fantastic, because you just knew [at Miller Park] you were going to take batting practice," Royals manager Ned Yost said. "You knew you were going to play. That's why we look forward to coming here, because we knew we were going to get three games under our belt."

The Royals' 3-10 start has been made more frustrating by four postponements, including their Sunday series finale in Anaheim before traveling to Toronto.

"It's been tough for us," Yost said. "We can't get any traction anywhere. It's hard for us to get anything going."

Keegan Matheson is a contributor to MLB.com based in Toronto.

Kansas City Royals

Royals safe in Toronto after scary bus ride

Falling ice smashes windshield, injures driver en route from airport
Special to MLB.com

TORONTO -- Another day, another postponement for the Royals, who had their series opener against the Blue Jays on Monday pushed back to Tuesday as part of a traditional doubleheader to start at 2:07 p.m. CT.

The Royals are relieved the bad weather, which caused ice and snow damage to the roof at Rogers Centre, didn't lead to something much more serious after their arrival on Sunday night. One of the club's two buses was struck with a large piece of ice en route from Toronto's Pearson Airport just after 10 p.m. CT. The ice smashed through the front of the bus and injured the driver, who sustained cuts to his face.

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TORONTO -- Another day, another postponement for the Royals, who had their series opener against the Blue Jays on Monday pushed back to Tuesday as part of a traditional doubleheader to start at 2:07 p.m. CT.

The Royals are relieved the bad weather, which caused ice and snow damage to the roof at Rogers Centre, didn't lead to something much more serious after their arrival on Sunday night. One of the club's two buses was struck with a large piece of ice en route from Toronto's Pearson Airport just after 10 p.m. CT. The ice smashed through the front of the bus and injured the driver, who sustained cuts to his face.

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"It shattered the window. The bus driver was full of glass," manager Ned Yost said. "They got pulled over, but it was pretty scary there for a little while for the guys on the bus."

Royals reliever Blaine Boyer was seated near the front of the bus and saw the chunk of flying ice, which he estimated as being at least half the size of Yost's desk in the clubhouse at Kauffman Stadium.

Boyer jumped up to grab the wheel and assist the driver, who was initially in shock. The driver quickly worked to slow the bus and pull off the road. Boyer called the driver, Fred, a "stud" for his reaction to the incident and for keeping the Royals safe.

"We're lucky we've even got a team," Yost said when asked about Monday's weather. He was on the front bus when the back bus was struck by the ice approximately 10 minutes from the airport.

Along with Boyer, catcher Drew Butera was near the front of the bus and helped to calm the driver. Yost said on Monday that he did not believe the driver was hospitalized.

After an earlier delay on Sunday flying out of Kansas City, the Royals did not reach their hotel until nearly midnight CT.

Salvy continuing rehab
All-Star catcher Salvador Perez started as the designated hitter in his second rehab game on Monday with Double-A Northwest Arkansas. He went 1-for-2 with a single and a walk, and he was hit by a pitch.

"He had a really good day yesterday, he hit a homer," Yost said. "He had four at-bats today with no issue."

Perez has been on the disabled list with a Grade 2 MCL tear in his left knee, but he began his rehab assignment on Sunday. In his place, Butera has been the Royals' primary catcher.

The plan is to have Perez play five to seven innings on Tuesday behind the plate, but there is no timetable for his return to the Royals.

Keegan Matheson is a contributor to MLB.com based in Toronto.

Kansas City Royals, Blaine Boyer, Salvador Perez

Royals, Angels reflect on Jackie's iconic impact

Frigid weather keeps KC from hosting game on Robinson Day
MLB.com @FlannyMLB

KANSAS CITY -- Jackie Robinson Day is always a day for managers, coaches and players to reflect on his incredible contribution to baseball as they all pull on their No. 42 jerseys to honor him.

And Royals manager Ned Yost believes baseball should possibly honor him more than once a season.

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KANSAS CITY -- Jackie Robinson Day is always a day for managers, coaches and players to reflect on his incredible contribution to baseball as they all pull on their No. 42 jerseys to honor him.

And Royals manager Ned Yost believes baseball should possibly honor him more than once a season.

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"What he did is hard to comprehend," Yost said on Sunday before the Angels-Royals series finale was postponed due to severe cold. "Nowadays, we play this game in a different era. Players today have a bit of an idea because it's a special day, but they have no idea what he went through. What he did was groundbreaking. What he did, in my opinion, is one of the most courageous things in sports.

"To be able to honor him once a year on Jackie Robinson Day, I think, we should probably do it more than once [a year]."

Players, too, feel honored to put on the No. 42 jersey.

"Of course it is," Royals left-hander Danny Duffy said. "He's obviously a very important figure in baseball and, on a broader scale, in world history, especially American history. He was a pioneer. A lot has changed since then, and there's a long way to go still. But his family should be very proud of him. I certainly am."

Angels closer Keynan Middleton is in the Major Leagues for the first time on Jackie Robinson Day.

"It's pretty special," Middleton said. "It's actually one of the things I looked forward to during the season, one of my milestones during the year. Wearing that jersey is important to me because without him, I wouldn't have the opportunity I have right now. It's all for respect that I enjoy Jackie Robinson Day."

Sunday's game will be made up at Kauffman Stadium on June 25, a mutual off-day for both teams.

As has been tradition each April 15 since 2009, Major League Baseball celebrates Jackie Robinson Day with all players and on-field personnel wearing Jackie's iconic number. For 2018, there is additional on-field uniform elements, including a commemorative patch on all team caps and jersey sleeves, socks emblazoned with '42,' and a new lightweight hooded fleece for batting practice and dugout wear, also featuring the '42' logo. MLB will donate all proceeds from the sale of such items to the Jackie Robinson Foundation, which is a public, nonprofit organization that perpetuates Robinson's legacy by giving a four-year scholarship in his name and providing leadership development for minority college students as well as through building the Jackie Robinson Museum.

The museum will commemorate the life of Jackie Robinson as an athlete, activist and icon, illuminating his long-lasting impact across society through state-of-the-art exhibits, precious artifacts, film and other media. The National Jackie Robinson Museum Legacy Campaign has raised more than $25 million, and the museum is set to open in 2019.

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

Los Angeles Angels, Kansas City Royals

Lee slugs way to Pipeline Team of the Week

MLB.com @JimCallisMLB

MLB Pipeline's Prospect Team of the Week honors the best performances in the Minors from the past week. Any player currently on an organization Top 30 Prospects list is eligible.

After homering five times in six games to earn recognition on MLB Pipeline's final Prospect Team of the Week in 2017, Tyler O'Neill has picked up right where he left off. The Cardinals outfielder bashed two homers in the second game of this season and has four in 10 contests, claiming a spot on our inaugural PTOW of 2018.

MLB Pipeline's Prospect Team of the Week honors the best performances in the Minors from the past week. Any player currently on an organization Top 30 Prospects list is eligible.

After homering five times in six games to earn recognition on MLB Pipeline's final Prospect Team of the Week in 2017, Tyler O'Neill has picked up right where he left off. The Cardinals outfielder bashed two homers in the second game of this season and has four in 10 contests, claiming a spot on our inaugural PTOW of 2018.

Each week, we'll pick an all-star team of prospect performers. For this edition, we included the first 11 days of the Minor League season, which began April 5.

A year ago, Rockies shortstop Brendan Rodgers led all players with four PTOW honors in 21 weeks, helping Colorado top all organizations with 13 total mentions. Cubs catcher Victor Caratini, Phillies second baseman Scott Kingery, Royals first baseman Ryan O'Hearn and Astros outfielder Kyle Tucker each made the PTOW three times. The Astros, Braves, Padres and White Sox had 12 nominees, while the Cardinals and Nationals tied for last with three each.

Here's the complete PTOW squad for games from April 5-15:

C: Connor Wong, Rancho Cucamonga Quakes (Class A Advanced)
(Dodgers' No. 15 prospect)
.361/.439/.889, 9 G ,13 R, 13 H, 4 2B, 5 HR, 11 RBI, 4 BB, 17 K, 2 SB, 1 CS

It took Wong just nine games to match his home run total from 2017, his pro debut. He homered in each of his first two games and twice on Sunday, when he showed off his athleticism and versatility by playing second base. Wong is tied with Colton Welker (see below) for the Minor League lead in runs, and he sits atop the California League in homers, extra-base hits (nine), totals bases (32), slugging percentage and RBIs.

1B: Josh Naylor, San Antonio Missions (Double-A)
(Padres' No. 16 prospect)
.472/.545/1.000, 10 G, 10 R, 17 H, 1 2B, 6 HR, 14 RBI, 7 BB, 5 K, 1 SB, 1 CS

Naylor's massive power potential led the Marlins to draft him 12th overall in 2015, but it didn't translate into huge production during his first three pro seasons as he homered just 23 times in 261 games. That may be starting to change, as Naylor (sent to the Padres in a 2016 trade for Andrew Cashner) already has two multihomer games to his credit, paces the Minors in homers and total bases (36) and is tied for the lead in hits.

Watch: Naylor's sixth homer

2B: Nick Solak, Montgomery Biscuits (Double-A)
(Rays' No. 12 prospect)
.429/.538/.607, 9 G, 5 R, 12 H, 3 2B, 1 3B, 0 HR, 5 RBI, 9 BB, 6 K, 3 SB, 2 CS

Sent from the Yankees to the Rays in the three-team Brandon Drury trade in February, Solak has made a nifty first impression with his new organization. He placed no worse than third in his league in hitting and on-base percentage in each of his first two seasons, and he has reached base in all nine of his games in 2018. He's hit safely in eight of them. A potential leadoff man, Solak is tied for the Southern League lead with nine walks and is tied for sixth with three steals.

3B: Colton Welker, Lancaster JetHawks (Class A Advanced)
(Rockies' No. 4 prospect)
.455/.578/.848, 10 G, 13 R, 15 H, 4 2B, 3 HR, 10 RBI, 11 BB, 7 K

The Hangar in Lancaster may be the most hitter-friendly ballpark in the Minors, and Welker took advantage of seven home games to open the season by batting .522/.600/.870 prior to going 3-for-10 with a homer in three road contests. Welker is now a career .348/.401/.519 in two-plus years as a pro and could boost those numbers if he spends the bulk of 2018 in the California League. He leads the league in batting average, on-base percentage, OPS (1.426) and is tied for first in runs scored.

Video: Top Prospects: Colton Welker, 3B, Rockies

SS: Joe Dunand, Jupiter Hammerheads (Class A Advanced)
(Marlins' No. 18 prospect)
.372/.429/.628, 10 G, 12 R, 16 H, 3 2B, 1 3B, 2 HR, 13 RBI, 5 BB, 7 K

Reminiscent of his uncle, Alex Rodriguez, Dunand is a shortstop packed with plenty of raw power. He finished his 2017 pro debut with a three-game cameo with Class A Advanced Jupiter, and has thrived there at the start of this season. He paces the Florida State League in total bases (27) and hits while being tied for first in runs. It's a small 18-game sample size, but Dunand now has a .371/.446/.643 slash line as a pro.

OF: Khalil Lee, Wilmington Blue Rocks (Class A Advanced)
(Royals' No. 1 prospect)
.387/.513/.742, 9 G, 6 R, 12 H, 3 2B, 1 3B, 2 HR, 6 RBI, 8 BB, 13 K, 3 SB

Though some clubs liked him as a left-handed pitcher with a low-90s fastball and an intriguing slider, the Royals made Lee a full-time outfielder after drafting him in the third round in 2016. He since has blossomed into their top prospect and has done nothing to diminish that status with a hot start that has him atop the Carolina League leaderboards in on-base percentage, slugging percentage and OPS (1.255).

Video: Top Prospects: Khalil Lee, OF, Royals

OF: Tyler O'Neill, Memphis Redbirds (Triple-A)
(Cardinals' No. 4 prospect/MLB No. 94)
.410/.405/.821, 10 G, 10 R, 16 H, 2 2B, 1 3B, 4 HR, 14 RBI, 1 BB, 10 K

The son of a former Canadian national bodybuilding champion, O'Neill looks the part and is known best for his pop. He started slowly with just five homers in the first two months of 2017, then reclaimed his power stroke with 26 long balls in the final three months (including 12 in 37 Triple-A games after the Mariners traded him to the Cardinals for Marco Gonzales). Since going 0-for-5 in his '18 season opener, O'Neill went deep four times in the next three games and has hit safely in nine straight.

Watch: O'Neill crushes two-run homer

OF: Juan Soto, Hagerstown Suns (low Class A)
(Nationals' No. 2 prospect/MLB No. 29)
.361/.489/.861, 10 G, 7 R, 13 H, 2 2B, 2 3B, 4 HR, 19 RBI, 10 BB, 7 K, 2 SB

The highest-ranked prospect on this week's PTOW, Soto had his 2017 full-season debut marred by right ankle, right hamate and hamstring injuries, but batted .360/.427/.523 in the 23 games he managed to play in the South Atlantic League. Soto has done even more damage in the SAL this year, with games of four and six RBIs that have him atop the Minors with 19 overall. He is tied for the league lead in homers and paces the SAL in extra-base hits (eight), total bases (31), slugging percentage and OPS (1.350).

Watch: Soto doubles in two more RBIs

LHP: Zac Lowther, Delmarva Shorebirds (low Class A)
(Orioles' No. 17 prospect)
1-0, 0.00 ERA, 1 GS, 6 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 13 K, 0.17 WHIP

Though his fastball usually resides in the upper 80s, Lowther was a strikeout machine in college at Xavier. The southpaw's heater plays well above its velocity thanks to the deception and extension in his delivery, not to mention the running life it creates and his ability to command the pitch. After whiffing 75 batters in 54 1/3 innings in his 2017 pro debut, he fanned 13 and allowed just one baserunner (a walk) over six innings in his first outing this year.

Watch: Lowther punches out 13 in six

RHP: Shane Bieber, Akron RubberDucks (Double-A)
(Indians' No. 8 prospect)
1-0, 0.00 ERA, 2 GS, 13 IP, 6 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 17 K, 0.46 WHIP

Bieber led the Minors with a miniscule walk rate of 0.5 per nine innings in his 2017 full-season debut, notching as many wins as he gave up free passes (10) in 28 starts. He's back at it again, with one victory and no walks in his first two starts in '18. Bieber has yet to give up a run in 13 innings either, lowering his career ERA in pro ball to 2.40.

Watch: Bieber's eighth strikeout

RP: Lou Trivino, Nashville Sounds (Triple-A)
(Athletics' No. 27 prospect)
0.00 ERA, 3 G, 1 SV, 4 1/3 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 8 K, 0.00 WHIP

The lowest-ranked prospect on this PTOW, Trivino has advanced steadily to Triple-A since the A's made him an 11th-round choice out of Slippery Rock (Pa.) in 2013. Left unprotected in last year's Rule 5 Draft, he went unpicked despite his mid-90s fastball and solid cutter, and he has responded by retiring all 13 hitters he has faced so far, eight via strikeout.

Jim Callis is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow @jimcallisMLB on Twitter. Listen to him on the weekly Pipeline Podcast.

Royals, Junis' scoreless streak fall in snow