Originally posted on Fox Sports Kansas City  |  Last updated 7/8/12
Manager George Brett had a simple message for his U.S. Team prior to Sunday's All-Star Future's Game against the World Team at Kauffman Stadium: Embarrass the World Team. "I really did tell them that," Brett said. "I think that's the attitude you have to have going into every game. You want to embarrass the other team." Mission accomplished. The U.S. Team spotted the World team a 4-0 lead, surged ahead 6-4 through five innings, then settled the matter with a nine-run sixth inning en route to a 17-5 thrashing. The 22 total runs scored in the game set a Future's Game record. "A 17-5 win? Yeah, I'd say that was embarrassing," Brett said, smiling. "But as I said, that's the attitude you have to have. Go out there and bury the other team. Fortunately we were able to do that. "I told the guys, too, that the winning team would score more runs in one inning than the losing team would score all game. We did that. Our guys made me look good." Most of the sellout crowd of 40,095 fans, though, were only interested in Royals prospects Wil Myers, Jake Odorizzi and Jordano Ventura. None of the three disappointed. Myers had two sharp singles and drove in three runs, Ventura was overpowering in one inning of work as the World Team's starter, and Odorizzi gave up a home run but retired the other three hitters he faced as the U.S. Team's starter. All three received special ovations as their names were announced in front of the predominantly Royals-flavored crowd. "I was definitely nervous," said Odorizzi, who, like Myers, may get a promotion soon to the Royals' big-league club from Triple-A Omaha. "That's the biggest crowd I've ever pitched in front of. But it was pretty cool to hear the fans react the way they did." Odorizzi started the game off with a 75-mph curve, which floated in for a strike and startled World leadoff hitter Jean Segura. "That's something I planned for about three days, to start with a curve," Odorizzi said, grinning. Odorizzi got Segura on a routine fly. But the next hitter, Rangers prospect Jurickson Profar, a shortstop, smashed a fastball into the right-field corner that just carried the outfield fence for a home run. "When Jake let that pitch go, I thought I saw something funny," Brett said. "I asked him afterward and he said he actually slipped on the pitch." The radar gun still showed 95 mph on Odorizzi's slipped pitch. "(Profar) hit it really well," Odorizzi said. "No excuses." Interestingly, Profar is the player the Royals had targeted when they were trying to accommodate Zack Greinke in his trade request in 2010. The Rangers eventually backed out of the trade because they didn't want to part with Profar. The Royals eventually dealt Greinke to Milwaukee for Odorizzi, Jeremy Jeffress, Alcides Escobar and Lorenzo Cain. The Royals certainly have no complaints about getting Escobar as their shortstop instead Escobar is a rising star in the American League and justifiably could have been selected to Tuesday's All-Star Game. Odorizzi and Myers, meanwhile, likely will head back to Omaha, but not by choice. "Sure, we'd love to stay right here," Myers said. "Kauffman Stadium is a great place to hit and to play. And the fans were great. I look forward to eventually getting here." Odorizzi, who is 5-0 with a 2.83 ERA at Omaha, echoed those sentiments. "Sure, I look forward to playing in Kansas City in front of these people," he said. "They were great today. Hopefully it will happen soon. I do have some things to fine tune at Omaha so we'll see what happens." At least Odorizzi got a taste of pitching at Kauffman Stadium. "I think something like this helps," he said. "At least I can say I've pitched off the mound here, pitched in the bullpen, things like that. Mainly it was just great to pitch in front of that many people." While many savvy Royals fans are aware of prospects such as Myers and Odorizzi, they may not have heard much about Ventura, a 21-year-old from the Dominican Republic whom the Royals signed for 28,000 in 2009. But it's almost a lock that Royals fans will soon be hearing a lot about Ventura, who topped 100 mph numerous times during his one-inning stint. "I always pitch the hardest that first inning," Ventura said with the help of an interpreter. "That's an important inning." Ventura mowed down the U.S. Team in the first inning, getting three easy ground-outs, including one by Myers. "I threw him a curveball and then fastballs," Ventura said. "He's a good hitter." Ventura also flashed an 82-mph change-up. His curve registered around 87 mph. "Very impressive," Brett said. "He's got a live arm." Ventura is 3-5 with a 3.30 ERA at high-A Wilmington. While the ERA might not be impressive, he does have 98 strikeouts in 76 13 innings. The Royals have indicated he could be on the fast track for a promotion to Double-A Northwest Arkansas. "There are a lot of eyes on him," said J.J. Picollo, Royals assistant vice president of player development. "Very bright future." Perhaps the biggest concern about the 5-foot-11 Ventura has been his weight he is listed at just 140 pounds. But Ventura said he actually is closer to 170 pounds. "I think I can get to 180 or 190," he said. And actually, Ventura draws comparison to another slightly built Dominican named Pedro Martinez. "Oh, yes, he's my favorite pitch(er)," Ventura said. "He's No. 45. I'm No. 46. I don't wear (45) because I'm not there yet." But Ventura may not be long away from the Major Leagues if he continues to dazzle opponents with 100-mph heaters. "I thought all three of our prospects represented themselves really well here today," Brett said. "I was proud of all of them. It was a good day."
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