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Adventures in infielding (Sanchez vs. Leake)

March 13, 2012: Surprise, AZ - Supposedly, the town of Surprise was named by its founder. She said if it ever became anything, she'd be very surprised.

It's now the fastest-growing area in Phoenix, and the spring training home of the Rangers and Royals. I found it a very nice place to take in a game. Perhaps it's different for Rangers games, but for Royals games, they are very welcoming. There's free parking. I don't think I've been to a spring training game with free parking before. The seats on the first base side - the visitors side for Royals games - are in the shade even for day games. It's not crowded, and the staff is very nice and accommodating. Food and drink is pretty pricey, though.

Todd Frazier is apparently a good friend of Royals first baseman Eric Hosmer. They seemed really happy to see each other.

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Jay Bruce seemed to be trying to give Paul Janish some hitting advice.

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Lined up for the national anthem: Chris Heisey, Jay Bruce, Paul Janish, Donald Lutz.

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Mike Leake had a rough day at the office.

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The Royals' gigantic catcher, Salvador Perez, caught the first inning.

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(That's 6' tall Chris Valaika at bat.)

However, Perez left the game without even getting an at-bat. I figured he must be injured. Sure enough, he tweeted that he hurt himself warming up the starting pitcher. He's being sent back to KC for an MRI.

The Reds catcher, Devin Mesoraco, didn't have a great day, either.

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He went 0 for 2, and got an error when an easy popup bounced out of his glove.

Drew Stubbs got on in the first inning via a walk. A pickoff attempt went into right field (Billy Butler got a missed catch error, and deserved it.)

Stubbs easily got to third on the error, and I think he could have scored, too. But he got a stop sign, and unlike BP, he obeyed it.

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Valaika got Stubbs in via a sac fly.

Jay Bruce hit a home run.

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Leake started out with a lead, but he was unable to hold it, giving up runs to the likes of Jeff Failcoeur Francoeur and Yuni Betancourt.

Betancourt singles:

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The Reds got a couple back in the third.

Chris Valaika singles:

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Bruce got another hit, a RBI single.

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Todd Frazier hit a RBI single, but I was unable to photograph it since someone who went to get ice cream decided to stand right in front of me to watch the action. So here's a pic of Frazier in the on deck circle:

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Valaika scored on Frazier's single. Berry sent Bruce, too.

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He didn't make it.

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Out at home. (I think Berry got in his way.)

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Leake got into trouble in bottom of the third. Some fans were demanding that Dusty pull him. I don't think they understand what spring training is for.

Lorenzo Cain sent a screamer pastadiving Janish. He just got a glove on it, but didn't even slow it down.

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Cody Clark hit one past Frazier. He didn't hit it all that hard, but for some reason Frazier didn't get it. Janish was caught flat-footed. He clearly expected Frazier to get it, and by the time he got there, it was too late. He didn't even bother with a throw.

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No error, but it wasn't much of a hit.

No harm, no foul, though; Alcides Escobar grounded into a DP to end the inning.

Nick Christiani pitched the 4th.

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I'm hoping for the best for him, since I met his cousin at SWB Yankees game, but he didn't look quite ready for prime time.

Sam LeCure pitched the next three innings.

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Escobar hit grounder that LeCure just got a glove on. Janish stopped it...

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But fumbled the transfer and didn't make a throw.

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No error on the play, but fans were divided on whether it was possible to make that out. Would have been close.


Janish must have had several pounds of infield dirt in his pants, the way he was diving for sharply hit grounders.

He gets to one hit by Frazier's pal Hosmer:

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But the throw pulls Soto off the bag. It's a force out, not a DP.

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Both teams pulled their starters after five innings. Jeremy Jeffress pitched a couple of innings. He has triple digit heat, and the kids could not catch up to it.

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(Jeffress' claim to fame is at least two positive tests for marijuana. Reportedly, one more positive test gets him banned from baseball for life. FTH? How is Josh Hamilton still in baseball?)

Juan Francisco took over at third.

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Hmmm. He does look kinda pudgy.

Henry Rodriguez pinch-hit in the 8th.

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He has a very upright stance. Kinda reminds me of Craig Wilson.

Didi Gregorius took over at SS, and took over diving for screaming grounders.

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Chris Getz was credited with a single.

A wild pitch by LeCure lets Clint Robinson take 2B.

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Robinson takes out Didi...

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But he's the one who seemed the worse for wear.

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He stayed in the game, though.

Didi made a really nice play in the 8th. Hosmer hit a grounder up the middle. Didi showed nice range getting to it.

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He tosses it to Wilson Valdez.

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Who throws it to Lutz. In time! DP turned.

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Tommy Hottovy closed it out for the Royals.

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Didi singled.

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But no one else did anything against the sidewinder.

Final score: Royals 7, Reds 5.

After the game, Dusty seemed really chummy with Doug Henry, one of the Royals' minor league coaches. I'd guess he played for Dusty back in the day.

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