Beaty's scorching-hot bat may earn him a roster spot

March 13th, 2023

SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Whether these games count or not, is simply on fire.

The first-year Royal, who signed a Minor League deal in January, belted two home runs -- and nearly a third before it hooked foul -- and added a single as Kansas City kept its spring surge going with a 7-6 win over the Guardians at Surprise Stadium on Sunday.

Add that to Beaty's output from Saturday (two doubles and three RBIs against Milwaukee) and the fifth-year pro continues to be a tough out. He entered spring as an underdog for a big league roster spot, but his display of slugging may change that.

“He’s squared the ball up from Day 1 in Spring Training. He’s come in here and swung the bat really well, and his versatility is a big plus,” Royals manager Matt Quatraro said of Beaty, who played first base Saturday and left field Sunday. “He’s primarily a first baseman, but we’re going to see where he feels comfortable in other positions.”

In the first inning on Sunday, the left-handed-hitting Beaty drilled a solo shot way up the lawn in right field. Two innings later, he hit a ball right on the screws for a base hit to right field after barely missing a home run by a few feet on the previous pitch. He then turned on a 1-0 pitch for his second homer of the spring -- and of the day -- in the fifth.

Kansas City designated hitter , the former Guardian, mashed his second homer of the spring in the bottom of the sixth. -- who replaced Beaty after the fifth -- belted a full-count offering in the seventh for his second homer of the spring.

Kansas City's offense continues to blaze its way around Arizona. The Royals lead the Majors in team wins (14), team batting average (.328), hits, runs (129) and RBIs (123).

Pitching-wise, furthered his bid to crack a starting rotation that has Zack Greinke, Jordan Lyles and Brady Singer locked into the top three spots. Lynch threw a spring-high 52 pitches, and he allowed one run on four hits and two walks in a three-inning outing that left him “frustrated.”

“I felt like I was behind everybody. I don’t like the walks. I just didn’t think my stuff was that great,” said the lefty, who opened the game with a seven-pitch walk to Cleveland leadoff man Myles Straw. “I think that I would have turned it around if I had a couple more innings, like in the [regular] season.”

The Royals figure to see some bullpen roles sorted out this week, with an onslaught of innings coming up.

After a day off on Monday, Kansas City will play nine games -- three full-squad contests and six split-squad outings -- over a six-day stretch. Seven relievers pitched Sunday, including righty , who saw his first spring action after experiencing lower body soreness after throwing a bullpen session near the end of February.

Clarke’s game plan was simple.

“Just land everything in the strike zone. See what’s working,” said Clarke, who should take the mound again on Wednesday and Saturday.

Clarke, Amir Garrett, Dylan Coleman, Josh Taylor, Jose Cuas, Caden Monke and Ryan Weiss each pitched Sunday. They combined to allow five runs on eight hits over six innings.

Coleman, a righty, has added a cutter to his arsenal this offseason.

“I’m trying to bridge that gap between the fastball and the slider,” he said Sunday. “I’m starting to get the shape I want on it and the [velocity] I want on it, and I feel like I’ve got good command of it, so it’s kind of right there where I want it.”

Quatraro says that bullpen evaluations continue.

“We don’t plan their outings by who’s competing. We just have to cover the innings every day,” he said. “I really couldn’t say that one person stands out more than any other. They’ve all done really well.”