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Notes: Possible 1B platoon; Rosenthal dealing

@FlannyMLB
March 6, 2020

SURPRISE, Ariz. -- It’s becoming increasingly likely that the Royals will open the 2020 season with somewhat of a soft platoon at first base involving starter Ryan O'Hearn and backup Ryan McBroom Manager Mike Matheny and the coaching staff have been impressed with both O’Hearn and McBroom offensively this spring.

SURPRISE, Ariz. -- It’s becoming increasingly likely that the Royals will open the 2020 season with somewhat of a soft platoon at first base involving starter Ryan O'Hearn and backup Ryan McBroom

Manager Mike Matheny and the coaching staff have been impressed with both O’Hearn and McBroom offensively this spring.

“I’m not ruling that (soft platoon) out at all,” Matheny said. “I’ve explained it, certainly to O’Hearn, to ‘be prepared all the time, and that we’re not afraid having you face a lefty. But understand that if we can create a way to set you up better, we’re open to whatever we have to do.’”

McBroom has wowed his teammates with a lot of hard contact this spring that has produced three doubles, two home runs and a .320 average. McBroom had two more hits Friday in a split-squad 4-4 tie with the Angels in Tempe.

O’Hearn is hitting .308 with two doubles and two home runs. He went 1-for-3 in the Royals’ 4-3 split-squad win over the Angels over in Surprise.

“The way McBroom is swinging it, those are some great at-bats,” Matheny said. “That’s the guy I’ve seen in the past.

“So, I think (a soft platoon) could be good for both of them. I’ve said this before, it comes down to keeping all 26 men sharp, so how do you do that?”

“This is what I expected last year from McBroom. He has really worked on putting good at-bats together. But I thought last year, as he made that adjustment to cut down on swings and misses, he maybe let some opportunities pass to really drive the ball. I think this year he’s going out there with some bad intentions and making the ball pay.”

Another scoreless inning
Right-hander Trevor Rosenthal a non-roster invitee now seemingly a lock to make the roster, threw another scoreless inning. He did give up a leadoff double, just the second hit he has allowed in four outings.

“Just a fastball up,” Rosenthal said. “I was just trying to get ahead in the count and he got it to the gap. I still felt good to get out of that inning without the run scoring.”

Holland scuffles a bit
Right-hander Greg Holland, another non-roster invitee close to securing a roster spot, gave up two runs, including a home run on a 0-2 pitch.

“Just a slider that I hung,” Holland said. “I was trying to go down and in and I guess it probably was middle-middle. But I felt good out there. I thought I threw a lot of quality pitches. Even my pitches out of the zone were competitive pitches. I’m not spraying the ball around, so I’m pretty happy with that.”

Rough start for Lynch
Left-hander Daniel Lynch, the Royals’ No. 3 prospect per MLB Pipeline, started against the Angels, but struggled. He walked two, hit a batter, and gave up a broken-bat RBI single before leaving after two-thirds of an inning.

“I think I was a little amped up for the first guy (a walk),” Lynch said. “I thought I made some good pitches to the second guy but he just kept fouling the ball off. I felt I wasn’t sharp, but I thought I battled.”

Up next
Left-hander Danny Duffy will make his second start of the spring as the Royals take on the Reds at 2:10 p.m. CT on Saturday at Surprise Stadium. Duffy started on Sunday against Oakland and threw two scoreless innings, allowing three hits and striking out three. Fans can listen live via Gameday Audio.

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