Spring training is up and running

The baseball bug has bitten.
Every baseball fan is full of renewed hope when spring training begins. This might be the year.
I count myself among the Kansas City Royals’ faithful. Up, down or right in the middle, the Royals are my baseball team.
I’m not a fanatic baseball follower. I enjoy listening and watching the professional game. I’m not the one you’d come for all the statistics. And as everyone knows, baseball counts everything and numbers are part of the game.
Me, I just take in the game as it is and go from there.
The Royals are in Surprise, Ariz., for spring training right now. Second-year manager Trey Hillman said he was optimistic going into the season.
Kansas City had off-season additions of Mike Jacobs, Coco Crisp and Willie Bloomquist to shore up the offense. Kansas City won 75 games last year and for the first time in five years did not finish in last place in the American League Central Division.
Crisp comes from Boston and is expected to give the Royals a dependable leadoff hitter. He has speed and is an outstanding center fielder.
Just Thursday, the Royals claimed infielder Tug Hulett off waivers from the Seattle Mariners. He will be thrown into the mix of finding a starting second baseman for the Royals. Mark Teahen, who is changing positions again, is also vying for the spot.
Back is the often-moody Jose Guillen in the outfield. Guillen led the team with 20 home runs and 97 RBIs last year. On the mound Kansas City has Gil Meche and Zack Greinke as their top starting pitchers, both right-handers. Luke Hochevar, Brian Bannister, Horacio Ramirez and Kyle Davis are working for a spot in the starting rotation.
The Royals return All-Star closer Joakim Soria in the bullpen. Jimmy Gobble is back as a left-hander out of the bullpen.
So hope springs eternal among the baseball fans.
Kansas City opens the 2009 regular season April 6 at Chicago against the White Sox. The Royals’ home opener is April 10 with the New York Yankees in town for the weekend.
Let’s go Royals.