How Hunter Renfroe fared in his first game with the Kansas City Royals

Hunter Renfroe made his long-awaited Kansas City Royals debut on Friday.

Renfroe, who signed a two-year deal in free agency, was eager to take his first swings against the Oakland Athletics at Surprise Stadium in Surprise, Arizona. However, he understood that a bit of patience was needed.

“Coming to a new team, I hadn’t seen a pitch literally this whole spring hardly,” Renfroe said. “So to go out there and walk the first at-bat, that was great. So, (I was) seeing the ball well. Kind of long pitches in the second (at-bat). The third at-bat, I got a little too big and tried to hit it a little hard, but it was good.”

Renfroe had three plate appearances against the A’s. He worked a full count before drawing a walk against A’s starter Alex Wood. Later, Renfroe flew out twice to the left-field warning track to conclude his afternoon.

The Royals signed Renfroe to add more power to their lineup. Renfroe, 32, has six seasons with at least 20 or more home runs. He hit .233 with 31 doubles, 20 home runs and 60 RBIs in 140 games with the Los Angeles Angels and Cincinnati Reds last season.

Renfroe is expected to start in right field this season. On Friday, Renfroe operated as the Royals’ designated hitter. KC opted to ease him back into the lineup after he dealt with back tightness earlier this spring.

“It was like a little spasm or something probably from dehydration a little bit from out here in this dry weather,” Renfroe said. “But nothing too serious, just a little maintenance issues. I’m trying to stay hydrated. Doing better now and feel great.”

Renfroe said he is likely to play the outfield on Sunday. He is also set to be on a normal spring training schedule as he prepares for the 2024 season.

Royals manager Matt Quatraro looks forward to Renfroe’s progress after a solid debut.

“It was good at-bats,” Quatraro said. “A walk and two well hit balls to left. I thought it couldn’t be much better for him.”

This offseason, Renfroe worked to add more strength. He focused on his lower half to generate more power through his swing. He noted that one of his goals is to be in good enough shape to play 162 games this season.

“I felt my lower half was a little bit weak at the end of the year,” Renfroe said. “... I felt like that could’ve been stronger. So, (I) really tried to work on my lower half as that’s where your strength comes in the first place.”

The Royals defeated the A’s 5-4 in Friday’s game.

Royals stars Bobby Witt Jr. and Salvador Perez both hit home runs in the game. Perez drilled a two-run homer over the center-field wall in the first inning. Witt followed with a solo blast in the third inning.

“It was awesome seeing Salvy hit it, then just being able to get things going for me,” Witt said. “Trying to see the ball and slowly get better and better each and every day.”

Royals starter Cole Ragans also pitched three scoreless innings in his second spring start. He allowed one hit, one walk and struck out three batters. He threw 27 of his 40 pitches for strikes.

“Overall, I felt good,” Ragans said. “Felt like the mechanics got a little away from me for a minute there in the second, but I made the adjustment pretty quick and got back to it.”

The Royals face the Cleveland Guardians on Saturday afternoon at Goodyear Ballpark in Goodyear, Arizona. First pitch is set for 2:05 p.m., Central Time.