Notes: Fireballers bond; Junis, Woods updates

March 4th, 2020

SURPRISE, Ariz. -- You might think a competition is brewing between Royals flame-throwing relievers and about who can throw the hardest.

Both pitchers dialed it up at 101 mph during the Royals’ 6-4 victory over the D-backs at Surprise Stadium on Tuesday night.

Rosenthal struck out three in one scoreless inning. Staumont struck out two in one scoreless inning.

But the relationship between Rosenthal, a seven-year veteran who was once perhaps the best closer in baseball with the Cardinals, and Staumont, who has just 16 big league games under his belt, is evolving into a mentor-pupil one.

“That guy is a wealth of knowledge,” Staumont said. “You can’t have a guy who has done what he has done for as long as he has done it and not learn something. He is extremely open and likeable. To have him here and be able to bounce ideas off him is incredible.

“I throw hard but he throws hard. It’s nice to talk to someone who is not busting your chops about it. You can ask him a pointed question about something you may or may not be able to do, and he can help.”

Rosenthal, 29, acknowledges he and Staumont, 26, have similar attributes and concerns -- they possess power arms often searching for command. Both have found their command this spring, especially Rosenthal, who has walked none through three scoreless outings. Staumont has walked two through four scoreless innings while striking out seven.

“He’s a surprisingly quiet but approachable dude,” Staumont said of Rosenthal. “You can carry on a conversation with him for days. I don’t feel pressure that I have to word things in a certain way. He’s a very quiet leader.”

Staumont said he isn’t trying to win any macho velo contests.

“He was up there [in velo] way younger than I ever was,” Staumont said. “To have him in the same locker room is pretty interesting.”

Game delayed by one hour

Tuesday night’s game was delayed an hour as Surprise police resolved a security issue just outside the stadium.

According to a Surprise city official, a routine check of a dealership display vehicle in front of the stadium set off the "explosive detected" alarm, causing the delay. A Surprise explosive ordnance dispersal team later determined there was no threat.

Right-hander Kyle Zimmer, who started for the Royals and threw a scoreless first inning, said he was headed for the field when vice president of broadcasting/communications Mike Swanson flagged him.

“Swannie said I couldn’t go on the field for 30 minutes,” Zimmer said. “And then he said it would be another 30 minutes before we start. So I just got comfortable on the couch.”

Junis improving

Right-hander , projected to be the No. 3 starter, was scratched on Sunday from Tuesday night’s start because of some lower back inflammation.

Junis said he felt the inflammation a couple of days before his last start Thursday, and then felt more discomfort the morning after the start.

“I’ve had this before and I’m not too worried,” Junis said. “It feels better every day.”

Junis went on the injured list in 2018 with the same ailment.

“We’re just being precautionary,” manager Mike Matheny said. “He might start throwing in a day or two. [The athletic trainers] seem to be pretty pleased with how much he has improved so far.

“We don’t want him to lose any traction because he is throwing the ball so well.”

Woods still on hold

Right-hander , a Rule 5 Draft pick, is still dealing with a sprained left ankle that he injured Saturday in Peoria while covering first base.

Matheny said Woods might be out for a while.

“He can’t even do some of the normal baseball stuff,” Matheny said. “This is something that hasn’t passed. Still has swelling, lack of range of movement. They don’t know when he’ll be symptom-free that he can return to activities.

“It just has to take its course.”

Up next

Left-hander Mike Montgomery will make his second spring start as the Royals travel to Peoria to take on the Padres at 1:10 p.m. CT on Wednesday. Montgomery, projected to be the No. 4 starter, threw a scoreless inning in his first outing on Friday. Left-handers Kris Bubic, Tim Hill, Gabe Speier, Randy Rosario and Richard Lovelady and right-handers Scott Barlow and Jesse Hahn are also slated to pitch.