Yuniesky Betancourt and the Royals, together again

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In a hilarious yet oddly predictable reunion the Royals have signed Yuniesky Betancourt to a one-year deal.

Betancourt was Kansas City’s starting shortstop for the second half of 2009 and all of 2010, but was traded to Milwaukee as part of the Zack Greinke blockbuster and had a terrible season for the Brewers.

Now he returns to Kansas City as a utility infielder who’ll be asked to push/motivate/make look good by comparison the young shortstop the Royals received as part of the Greinke swap, Alcides Escobar.

Betancourt is no longer much of a shortstop defensively and posted a laughably awful .271 on-base percentage in 152 games for the Brewers, but Escobar wasn’t any better at the plate in 2011 and as general manager Dayton Moore explained in announcing the signing: “He brings a right-handed bat with some power and is a guy we know fits in well in the clubhouse.”

Or something. I hope they’re happy together. Again.

Baseball to honor Stoneman Douglas High School as spring training games begin

New Era
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There were a few exhibitions against college teams yesterday but today the Grapefruit League and Cactus League schedules begin in earnest, with big league teams, more or less, facing big league team, more or less.

The baseball will look like baseball, but the teams will be wearing different caps today: black caps with the maroon “SD” of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, where 17 people were killed in a mass shooting on February 14.

All teams and umpire crews will wear the caps pre-game, and they have the option to wear the caps during the games. The only two teams not playing today — the Royals and Rangers — will wear them tomorrow.

After the games players will sign the caps and they will be auctioned off to raise money for the Broward Education Foundation, which benefits the official Stoneman Douglas Victims’ Fund.

Here’s today’s schedule: