No Vacancy In Kane County

Lopez bides his time in extended spring training





KANSAS CITY—Jack Lopez is not the starting shortstop for low Class A Kane County nor for the University of Miami.

Instead, Lopez is in Surprise, Ariz., in extended spring training as part of the talented group of high school players the Royals selected in the 2011 draft.

Lopez lasted until the 16th round in last year's draft because of signability questions. He had a baseball scholarship to Miami but came to terms with the Royals at the signing deadline for a $750,000 bonus, the same amount catcher Cameron Gallagher received in the second round.

Lopez, whom the Royals brought to Kansas City for a workout before the draft, hit .462 with 10 home runs, 34 RBIs and 40 runs his senior season for Deltona (Fla.) High, which lost to Tampa's Alonso High in the 6-A state championship game. He describes his offense as "a line-drive hitter with some power."

While waiting on whether he would be a Royal or Hurricane, Lopez was the starting shortstop last summer for the La Ley Legends in Florida, which went 51-5 and advanced to the Connie Mack World Series in Farmington, N.M.

After playing in instructional league last fall, where he roomed with first-round pick Bubba Starling, Lopez is back in Arizona as Orlando Calixte returned to Kane County as the shortstop.

Calixte, a 20-year-old Dominican whom the Royals signed for $1 million in 2010, hit .208/.256/.263 with nine extra-base hits in 81 games as a teenager last year. He was hitting .236/.306/.409 this year with three home runs and 13 RBIs in 110 at-bats.

"It's wait your turn," farm director Scott Sharp said. "We've got Calixte going back to Kane County. I told these guys in extended, 'You've got a better chance of hitting the lottery than being the shortstop up at Kane County' ."

ROYALTIES

• The Royals released righthander Eric Cantrell, a 2010 seventh-round pick out of George Washington, after he posted a 10.54 ERA and allowed 10 hits, including two home runs, in 4 relief appearances with Kane County.

• Lefthander John Lamb, who threw just 35 innings last season for Double-A Northwest Arkansas before needing Tommy John surgery, began throwing off the mound in Surprise, Ariz.