Donald has mixed feelings about replay rules
Infielder was involved in infamous blown call in 2010
SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Jason Donald, an infielder in camp with the Royals, was involved in one of the most controversial calls in recent baseball history. Yet, if the 2014 version of instant replay had been in effect in 2010, it would have been settled immediately and the subsequent uproar avoided.
In short, the Tigers' Armando Galarraga would have had a perfect game on June 2, 2010, because the replay would have shown that Donald, running to first base for the Indians, was out and the game was over.
"There wouldn't have been a second thought about it. They just would've reviewed it and it would have been done," Donald said.
As it was, first-base umpire Jim Joyce called Donald safe as pitcher Galarraga, covering first base, took a toss from first baseman Miguel Cabrera. Joyce blew the call.
"Oh, yeah. I knew the whole time I was out," Donald said.
The perfect game was lost -- Galarraga retired the next batter for a one-hit, 3-0 victory -- and the next day Joyce apologized to Galarraga, who accepted gracefully.
"I felt sorry for (Joyce) too, the way it turned out. But he handled it good, the best way you possibly could," Donald said.
Even so, the fallout reverberated for weeks.
"There wouldn't have been a story," Donald said. "It would've been more boring."
In the long run, that play undoubtedly was a factor in Major League Baseball's expansion of its replay program, which figures to make for more correct decisions but also eliminate many of the animated manager-umpire confrontations.
"That's one thing about baseball, there's that human error. There's that element," Donald said. "It's just always been part of the game. It's kind of weird when you start to change it."
Indeed, some of the color might fade away.
"You're not going to have a manager in the middle of the season coming completely unglued because he's frustrated and tired," Donald said.
Speaking of historical controversial calls that could have been changed with instant replay, there was a certain "safe" call in the 1985 World Series that Kansas City and St. Louis fans are still debating. Hmmm, now what was that umpire's name ... ?
Rain wreaks havoc with warmups, floods bullpens
SURPRISE, Ariz. -- The Royals had to do some improvising because of the rain but manager Ned Yost was very happy that they got in seven complete innings before their 7-3 win over the Padres was called off Saturday.
Pregame rain caused both bullpens to flood. The Royals played gracious hosts and had the grounds crew clear the visiting bullpen first, allowing Padres starter Ian Kennedy to warm up, but the plate was still under water in the Royals' 'pen.
"(Jason) Vargas had to come up in the batting cages to warm up, he couldn't even warm up in the 'pen, there was that much water," Yost said.
When Vargas was ready, he and catcher Salvador Perez had to walk down to the field through the Surprise Stadium stands. No autographs, please. Vargas then pitched two scoreless innings in his Kansas City debut. The teams got in another five-plus innings before a new deluge hit.
"I was happy with it," Yost said. "The way it looked at the beginning we were going to have to do simulated games in the cage. We kept looking at the radar and hoped for a break and got it. I really wanted to those guys out on the field today. ... To back up pitching this early is not a good thing, and doing sim games in the cage is not a good thing."
After the first out of the eighth inning, the umpires waved the teams off the field and, just eight minutes later, sent everybody home. But by then reserve players were in the game and most of the pitchers had gotten in their work.
"So we dodged it. The grounds crew did a great job," Yost said.
Vargas, Perez get acquainted in two-inning outing
SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Jason Vargas pronounced himself happy with his first start as a Royals pitcher Saturday. He shut out the Padres on one hit in his two innings and threw 13 of his 19 pitches for strikes.
"I was able to throw fastballs for strikes and the offspeed stuff for strikes, so to say that it was good, yeah," Vargas said.
After he finished his outing, he went to the bullpen and threw about 15 more pitches for a total of 34 or so.
Catcher Salvador Perez played the first two innings only to get acquainted with Vargas under game conditions. Having a different catcher was nothing new for Vargas, and he conceded it takes a few games to get accustomed to a new guy.
"I've had different ones for the last four or five years, so it probably takes four or five times throwing to them," Vargas said. "Salvy's a different type of catcher. It seems like he really understands the game and is able to adjust and just kind of see what you're good at doing, and understand that. It's pretty impressive. It's the reason he's an All-Star and one of the best in the game."
Manager Ned Yost liked what he saw in his offense.
"I think everybody in the starting lineup had a hit except for Sal, and he only got one at-bat, and [Jarrod] Dyson, and he had two huge walks which is exactly what we want to see out of him."
And Yost liked a big defensive play that helped out pitcher Brad Penny.
"We turned a real nice double play to get Penny out of the fourth inning. I thought that was a great play -- Hoz to Colon back to Penny," he said.
First baseman Eric Hosmer snatched Rene Rivera's grounder, fired to shortstop Christian Colon for the force at second base and Colon relayed to Penny covering first.
Opening Day tickets sell out in 30 minutes
SURPRISE, Ariz. -- The available Opening Day tickets sold out about a half-hour after the Royals' single-game tickets went on sale Saturday.
Sales began at 10 a.m. CT at Kauffman Stadium, online, by phone and at other ticket outlets.
Some tickets for the home opener on April 4 against the White Sox were held back for those who buy season-ticket packages between now and the start of the season.
After Opening Day, the most popular games for ticket-buyers were on successive days -- June 5 against the Cardinals, and June 6 and June 7 against the Yankees.
Royals vice president Toby Cook said actual numbers are not released, but that the club experienced its best first day of sales, by revenue, since 2011.
Yost being cautious with Infante's sore shoulder
SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Royals second baseman Omar Infante was not scheduled to play for the second straight day Saturday and it turns out his throwing shoulder is giving him trouble.
"His shoulder is a little stiff. If it was the season, absolutely he'd be playing but with the rain and the weather the way it is, let the trainers get it all the way out of there," manager Ned Yost said.
Infante, who played four innings and went 0-for-2 in the Cactus League opener Thursday, also was not on the travel roster for Sunday's game against the Cubs at Mesa.
So it'll be a while before the Royals' new double-play combination gets together for the first time in a game. Shortstop Alcides Escobar hasn't played yet in a Cactus League game because he's in Miami for the birth of his son.
Yost downplayed the Infante ailment.
"If it was the regular season he'd be playing but it's one of those Spring Training things that you don't want to push," Yost said.
Johnny Giavotella started at second base against the Padres.
Relief pitcher Louis Coleman, who has a jammed middle finger on his pitching hand, threw a side session Friday with no problems. However, he's been scratched for his scheduled first outing Monday against the White Sox.
Duffy, Giavotella and Peguero finalize contracts
SURPRISE, Ariz. -- All 40 players on the Royals' Major League roster are now under contract after three signings were announced Saturday.
Terms were reached with pitcher Danny Duffy, $526,000; infielder Johnny Giavotella, $508,575, and outfielder Carlos Peguero, $504,250. The Major League minimum is $500,000.
Duffy is among several pitchers bidding for the fifth rotation spot. Giavotella and Peguero are longshot candidates for backup roles.
Dick Kaegel is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.