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It’s been quite the offseason for former North Hardin standout Nathan Adcock and it only keeps getting better.
Adcock was taken by the Kansas City Royals in the Rule 5 draft in December from Pittsburgh, which meant Adcock would have a chance to compete for a spot on Kansas City’s opening day roster or the Royals would have to possibly send him back to the Pirates.
Adcock isn’t going back to the Pittsburgh organization, but he is heading to Kansas City, which opens the season Thursday against the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. General manager Dayton Moore confirmed Monday to the Kansas City Star that Adcock has won a job in the Royals’ bullpen. Adcock was told Sunday of the decision.
“It was real exciting,” said John Adcock, Nathan’s father. “I got the phone call on Sunday and I thought this is the call. It was pretty emotional. He told me, ‘Dad I made the team.’ It’s such a wonderful thing because he’s worked so hard for it.”
The Royals have been impressed with Adcock’s progress this spring. Although Adcock has been a starter his entire career, Moore didn’t rule out the possibility of him returning to that role later.
“We feel like he is ready" to make the jump from Class A,” Moore told the Kansas City newspaper. “He’s pitched very well, and he’s a Rule 5 pitcher who we like. He’s very poised. He makes the ball move naturally, and that’s a great predictor of future success.
“He’ll get an opportunity,” Moore added. “Maybe he’s a starter in the future. We’ll see. He’s going to have to earn his opportunity to stay in the major leagues.”
It’s been a whirlwind week for the Adcock family. Adcock’s older brother, Ace, earned his first varsity coaching victory at North Hardin last Tuesday.
John Adcock was on the bench for that win and he along with his wife, Jackie, and several other family and friends will be in Kansas City on Thursday.
“It’s really hard to put into words,” John said, choking back tears. “I told Jackie the other day what a wonderful week we were having. It was so special to share that with Ace and now this news. It’s just been a great week. I can’t begin to put it into words.”
News of Adcock’s promotion to Kansas City spread quickly. Former Meade County standout B.J. Rosenberg, a right-hander, is at Philadelphia’s spring training in Clearwater, Fla., and he was aware of Adcock.
“How about a story?” said Rosenberg, who played with Ace on a travel team. “That’s an unbelievable story and I’m so happy for him. It’s really cool and a great opportunity. I know he’ll do a great job.”
Adcock joins closer Joakim Soria, setup man Robinson Tejeda and long reliever Sean O’Sullivan in what is expected to be an eight-man bullpen. The Royals returned another Rule 5 pitcher, Robert Fish, to the Arkansas Travelers, an affiliate of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim.
Adcock, 23, has pitched 13 innings during spring training, giving up 13 hits and five runs – all earned. He has struck out four and walked four. Adcock has made eight appearances, including two starts.
The Vine Grove native opened the spring with six scoreless appearances before allowing five runs in four innings over his last two outings.
Rule 5 provisions require a player to remain all season in the majors or be offered back to his former club for a $25,000 reacquisition fee.
Meanwhile, Rosenberg said he’ll probably begin the season in Double-A, where he was last season after quickly moving up through the organization. But a lat strain landed Rosenberg on the disabled list twice.
“Obviously, it was very frustrating,” Rosenberg said. “But I worked really hard in the offseason and I’m in the best shape of my life. My arm’s bouncing back a lot better. I’m ready to go.”
Rosenberg worked two innings Sunday against the Braves, his first appearance with the big league club this spring. He tossed two shutout innings, allowing only a hit in relief of Cy Young winner Roy Halladay.
“It was pretty cool,” Rosenberg said. “I came into the game in the sixth inning and the first four guys I face are (Dan) Uggla, (Jason) Heyward, (Eric) Hinske and Alex Gonzalez. There were definitely some nerves there. But I just threw a lot of strikes and got some ground balls, so it worked out good.”
Chuck Jones can be reached at (270) 505-1759 or email@example.com.