Kansas City Royals' Eric Hosmer motions to a teammate while doing a television interview during spring training baseball practice Monday, Feb. 23, 2015, in Surprise, Ariz. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)
Charlie Riedel
February 28, 2015

SURPRISE, Ariz. (AP) Eric Hosmer hit a basketball, football and volleyball for a PlayStation commercial at Surprise Stadium, the spring training home of the Kansas City Royals.

Hosmer said the basketball was the easiest to hit because ''it's so big.''

A baseball must have looked basketball-sized to Hosmer in the postseason last year.

Hosmer hit .351 and set a franchise record with 12 RBIs in 15 games during the playoffs and World Series. He had six multihit games in the postseason, three of them with three hits.

''A lot of guys didn't have numbers they wanted to in the regular season, but turned it up in the postseason,'' Hosmer said.

Hosmer was one of them. He hit .270 with nine home runs and 58 RBIs, all career lows. Not numbers Hosmer desired.

''Definitely not,'' Hosmer said.

Hosmer hit .321 with a .509 slugging percentage after July 1. But he missed 29 games with a broken right hand after being hit by a pitch from Jon Lester on July 20. He tried to play through it, but went on the disabled list Aug. 2.

The Royals' season ended with a 3-2 loss to the San Francisco Giants in Game 7 of the World Series.

''I know the taste it left in all our mouths,'' Hosmer said. ''I know it made the offseason feel like it was that much longer. The way it ended, it was tough. It was tough to look at all these guys after that loss because all these guys had invested so much. We all truly believed we were going to do it, so to come up short and the feeling we had, it didn't seem like it was time to be over.''

The Royals did end a 29-year playoff drought.

''It's a different feel'' in spring training this year, he said. ''We've always had the confidence in our abilities as our group, but doing what we did last year and knowing how far we got with pretty much the same group of guys coming back, it definitely gets you hungry and confident as a group.''

The 25-year-old Hosmer agreed to a $13.9 million, two-year contract on Feb. 18. His agent, Scott Boras, called him as he was packing to drive to the Phoenix airport to fly to Tampa for his arbitration hearing the next day.

''It went from get your suit ready to you don't have to go,'' said Hosmer, who has won two Gold Gloves. ''That's why we hire representation, so we don't have to sit in that room and hear how bad we are. I'm glad we've got it all taken care of, not only for this year, but next year. I don't have to worry about it and just focus on that main goal. And that's getting into October and doing what we did last year, plus one.''

Hosmer said the two-year offer came ''completely out of the blue.''

''I never even thought about two years,'' he said. ''That kind of popped out of nowhere. I thought it was a no-brainer to do that. Not only I get this year, but the next year, I'm very happy about that.''

After hitting 19 home runs as a rookie in 2012 and 17 in 2013, Hosmer's total sagged last season.

''Being a guy in the middle in the lineup, you've got to drive in runs,'' Hosmer said. ''It's not so much home runs, but RBIs.''

NOTES: The Royals will start rookie RHP Aaron Brooks, who went 12-3 with a 3.88 ERA last season with Triple-A Omaha, in the exhibition opener Wednesday against the Rangers. . The Royals have intrasquad games scheduled Sunday and Monday, but rain is in the forecast.

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