Royals News: Starling Cited, Knapp Hired

Royals first-round pick Bubba Starling, who received an organization-record $7.5 million signing bonus in August, was cited for underage drinking in Arizona during an alcohol inspection after the Arizona State-Southern California football game on Sept. 24 in Tempe, Ariz.

Starling, 19, was the fifth player selected in the June draft out of Gardner-Edgerton High School, a Kansas City suburb. Starling is in the Phoenix area for the Royals instructional league. Two other unidentified Royals prospects were also cited for underage drinking after the game, but none tested over the legal limit.

"The players involved, which included Bubba Starling, put themselves in jeopardy by having a drink and not being of legal age," Royals general manager Dayton Moore said. "It was not a good decision on their part. We're disappointed in their actions and we'll deal with it internally."

Two other Royals minor league players—all five are in the instructional league at Surprise, Ariz.— were also in the vehicle, which was stopped at a DUI checkpoint. The driver registered a zero reading on the breathalyzer test, while the other was over the 21-age limit for drinking alcohol.

Starling was also an all-state basketball player and football quarterback. He had a football scholarship from Nebraska and worked out in Lincoln, Neb., during the summer before coming to terms with the Royals. Starling, a righthanded hitting outfielder, hit .481 with nine home runs his senior season.

The Royals also hired Rick Knapp to be their minor league pitching coordinator Wednesday, replacing Mark Davis.

Knapp was fired July 3 as the Tigers' major league pitching coach. He joined the Tigers staff in 2009, replacing Chuck Hernandez. Knapp was a 1983 41st-round pick out of Virginia Tech and pitched five years in the Rangers farm system. He was the Twins' minor league pitching coordinator from 1997-2008.

Davis, who pitched for the Royals from 1990-92 and won the 1989 National League Cy Young Award with San Diego, will remain with the organization as a pitching coach. He served as the pitching coaching for the Rookie-level Arizona League Royals from 2006-2010. This was his first year as the minor league pitching coordinator.