Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Royals Being Patient With Young 1B Ryan Shealy

Expect the Royals to stick with Ryan Shealy at first base, even though newly promoted rookie Jeff Baker will be given a few turns at Shealy's position while Shealy is recovering from a hamstring injury.

Though Shealy has been a bust so far -- hitting a paltry .186 for the season -- he is in his prime at 28 and has proven to be major league ready with a .319, five-year minor league batting average with 103 homers.

The former 5th round pick hit .330 in 91 at-bats in his first call-up for Colorado two years ago, and hit .280 in 193 at-bats after being acquired by Kansas City last year, making an unforgettable impression on manager Buddy Bell and his coaching staff.

Baker, who hit .419 this spring and was hitting .337 at Omaha, will be used at first base, designated hitter and the outfield, hopefully punching up the team's sagging .242 batting average. But Shealy will return to first base by the middle of the month, as his slow start has been attributed to early season jitters, irregular weather and other anomalies that have impacted hitting throughout the league.