KC relievers should benefit from revamped rotation

PEORIA, Ariz. - Left-handed reliever Tim Collins continues to find the going rough since returning to the Royals from the World Baseball Classic.

Collins gave up two solo home runs, to Franklin Gutierrez and Michael Morse, in his one inning in Tuesday's 11-6 victory over the Mariners. In his previous outing, he gave up five runs in one inning. All of that has pushed his ERA up to an unsightly 14.14.

"He's having kind of a rough go right now, but we're at a point where some of these guys are having a little dead arm," manager Ned Yost said. "They just don't have that snap on their pitches. He's still a little inconsistent, but we don't have any concern over him. He has another two outings, and we're continuing to focus on little mechanical adjustments he needs to make to get the ball down. He'll be all right."

Two other left-handers, Francisley Bueno and Donnie Joseph, are still in competition for a bullpen job, but Yost indicated that Collins was not likely to be bumped out of a job.

Hayes bolsters backup catching chances

Ned Yost, Brett Hayes talk options for backup catcher

PEORIA, Ariz. -- The scrap over the Royals' backup catching job is likely to go down to the wire, and Brett Hayes certainly made it interesting Tuesday.

Hayes went 4-for-5 with a triple and two RBIs in an 11-6 win over the Mariners, boosting his average to .306 (11-for-36) with 10 RBIs. That compares favorably with the .313 (10-for-32) with six RBIs by rival George Kottaras.

"Four hits, he swung the bat well and handled the pitching staff real nicely," manager Ned Yost said.

Both catchers are out of options, which means the loser in the competition will be exposed to waivers and could wind up elsewhere.

Hayes, 29, was claimed off waivers from the Marlins, and his strength is regarded as defense. Kottaras, 29, was claimed off waivers from the Athletics, and his strength is seen as offense. But Yost says he has seen each catcher improve in his supposed weaker category.

While Jarrod Dyson will be the backup outfielder, Yost has not announced his two backup infielders, with Elliot Johnson, Miguel Tejada and Irving Falu still in camp.

Tejada played the entire game Tuesday and was 3-for-5 with two doubles and two RBIs. He is hitting .333 but has been limited to 13 games because of playing for the champion Dominican Republic in the World Baseball Classic.

Falu, playing for runner-up Puerto Rico, was gone for the same period. He is hitting .250, also in 13 games. Johnson has a .289 mark in 23 games.

"We're getting down to the end and we have to make some decisions, and they're going to be tough decisions," Yost said.

Hall begins Lifetime Achievement Award search

Roland Hemond accepts 2011 Lifetime Achievement Award

SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Nominations for the Buck O'Neil Lifetime Achievement Award are being accepted by the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum in Cooperstown, N.Y.

The award honors an individual whose efforts have "enhanced baseball's positive impact on society, broadened the game's appeal, and whose character, integrity and dignity are comparable to the qualities exhibited by O'Neil." The next award is eligible to be presented in 2014.

Established in 2007, the award is a tribute to O'Neil, who played and managed the Kansas City Monarchs in the Negro Leagues, was a longtime scout for the Royals and was renowned as one of baseball's greatest ambassadors. His statue greets visitors at the Hall of Fame entrance.

O'Neil won the first award in 2008, and longtime executive Roland Hemond won in 2011.

Nominations must be submitted in writing only by mail, detailing the candidate's qualifications, to National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum, 25 Main Street, Cooperstown, NY 13326.

Royals' season preview to air Wednesday

SURPRISE, Ariz. -- A 30-minute preview of the Royals' season will be carried by FOX Sports Kansas City at 7:30 p.m. CT on Wednesday, preceding a telecast of a game against the Cubs.

The show includes interviews with manager Ned Yost and left fielder Alex Gordon plus a segment with Royals Hall of Famers John Mayberry and Willie Wilson.

The preview will be repeated at 5:30 p.m. CT on Friday, at 4:30 p.m. CT on Sunday and at 2 p.m. CT on Monday, prior to the season-opener in Chicago.