SURPRISE, Ariz. — Now entering his eighth season of professional baseball, former Kansas CIty Royals first-round pick Bubba Starling is making his strongest push yet toward making the major-league roster.
"I think it's coming down to being relaxed and comfortable." Starling said. " (Also) how early I can see the ball and be on time, that's pretty much what I'm working on and keeping it simple."
Keeping it simple has always been easier said than done for Starling, a Gardner Edgerton High School graduate and former three-sport star with the Trailblazers, during his time in the Royals' organization. But being completely healthy has made a big difference this spring.
"I put my work in obviously every offseason," he said. "I try to get my body in shape and my hitting. I've had some results, but I've got to continue it and keep working on the field and in the cage and keep getting better."
Starling has sparkled this spring, batting .583 with two home runs and five RBIs and seven runs scored in 12 Cactus League games through Sunday, after several disappointing and injury-marred campaigns.
"It was tough," Starling said. "I had a rough couple of years with injuries and whatever I could do to help the team out I knew I wanted to come back. They've treated me well here, so I signed back with them and here I am now. I'm excited, and here I am looking forward to staying on the field keep getting my work in the weight room, the training room and staying healthy."
Starling hopes sheddingto shed the injury-prone label and is eyeing an Opening Day roster spot.
"It's been so rough the last couple of years being hurt and having that tag on you, that he can never be on the field because he's hurt," said Starling, who signed with Nebraska for football before signing with the Royals instead. "I feel like I'm the complete opposite person now. I'm healthy, and I'm ready to go."