Tomorrow at 14.05 CST, the still-unbeaten-in-spring Kansas City Royals will take on the San Diegeo Padres in Peoria. Although it will be the fourth time the Royals have played as the visiting team, it is actually only their second trip away from Surprise Stadium.
The highlight for the Royals will be first spring appearance of James Shields. After all the furor over the winter of the blockbuster trade that brought him from the Tampa Bay Rays, this will be the first time he pitches for the Royals against another team. He will only go one inning by his own request.
Most of the Royals starters this spring have gone two innings in their first start (or at least been scheduled to), with the exception being the four innings worked by Luis Mendoza. But Shields has said that he would prefer easing into his routine a bit more gradually. Given the amount of time he has pitched, there is certainly no reason why he should not know what the best preparation is.
This leaves eight innings to fill, and at least some of them will go to Will Smith. After Bruce Chen and Luke Hochevar fired the opening volleys of their battle for the fifth spot yesterday. Smith will be looking to build on the two perfect innings he pitched in the spring opener, and send a timely reminder that it is not a two-horse race. The Royals are also planning to send Atahualpa Severino to the hill at some point.