Royals impressd by newly acquired May
Catcher managed by third-base coach Rodriguez in '09
KANSAS CITY -- Newly acquired catcher Lucas May isn't a stranger to one person in the Royals' clubhouse.
Royals third base coach Eddie Rodriguez managed May to the championship game in the 2009 IBAF Baseball World Cup, where May hit .355 with three home runs and eight RBIs for Team USA.
May, along with right-handed pitcher Elisaul Pimental, was acquired from the Los Angeles Dodgers for outfielder Scott Podsednik on Wednesday night.
What Rodriguez most remembers about the 25-year-old catcher was his energy on the field and the way he hated to lose.
"He has a tremendous passion for the game," Rodriguez said. "He's just what we would call a 'gamer' that really wants to win and has an appetite for winning. He displayed that by how he played the game every day."
May was selected by the Dodgers in the eighth round of the 2003 First-Year Player Draft as a shortstop, but switched to catcher in 2007. He spent the beginning of the 2010 season in Double-A Chattanooga before being promoted to Albuquerque after seven games. He was also an All-Star in 2007, '08 and '09 -- for Class A Inland once and Chattanooga twice.
Pimentel was signed to the Dodgers as a non-drafted free agent out of Palmar Arriba High School (Dominican Republic) in June of 2008. This season in Class A Great Lakes, he was 9-3 with a 3.49 ERA through 16 starts (17 appearances). Pimentel had 97 strikeouts in 90 1/3 innings with only 35 walks. He was also the pitcher of the week for the first week of June 2010.
May was hitting .296 (77-for-26) with 13 doubles, three triples, 11 home runs, 45 RBIs and 47 runs scored in 73 games for Triple-A Albuquerque.
Rodriguez remembers the bat May brought to Team USA's lineup.
"He came up with some big hits for us," Rodriguez said. "I remember him hitting a home run against Cuba that put us on the board."
But even behind the plate, May shined. Rodriguez said one of May's biggest strengths was his ability to make a pitcher feel comfortable even if it's their first time working together.
"He worked with pitchers well," Rodriguez said. "We had a group of guys that really didn't know each other. I mean, maybe some of them had run across each other at the Minor League level and played against each other, but he really did an outstanding job working with the pitchers."
As Rodriguez spoke of the Royals' new catching prospect, excitement grew in his voice.
"It's a premium position and it's not every day that you come across a young player with the skills that he possesses and the things that he brings to the table on a given day," Rodriguez said. "I think it was a good acquisition and I'm looking forward to seeing him at some point. ... I liked him a lot. I really did."
Samuel Zuba is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.