KANSAS CITY -- The better a team's season goes, the later its selection when the First-Year Player Draft comes along the following June.
"We're not picking as late as we want to be, that's for sure," Royals general manager Dayton Moore said. "But picking 17 is different than we've been in the past, so you just have to line them up because you have no idea who's going to get to you. There's always a surprise or two that happens in the Draft and a player falls that you weren't expecting."
The Draft begins its three-day run on Thursday night with the first two rounds. The Royals have picks 17, 28, 40 and 56.
"Historically, when you're picking as late as we are ... a lot of the quick-moving college players are often selected prior to those slots. That's why you line it up and just take the best available player," Moore said.
There is a large amount of reports and data to sift through with a limited amount of time between picks in the televised event.
"It doesn't go as fast as it once did in the Draft but it still moves pretty quick, and sometimes you get a lot of information that comes your way and you've got to make battlefield decisions, so you've got to go through as many hypotheticals as you can leading up to that," Moore said.
The Royals have had up to 35 personnel in the field scouting players this year.
"We'll get our share of quality players, that's for sure," Moore said.
Chen encouraged by three-inning rehab start
KANSAS CITY -- Royals left-hander Bruce Chen made his first rehab appearance with Double-A Northwest Arkansas and threw three innings in an 8-5 loss to Tulsa on Tuesday night.
"I felt really good. I hadn't pitched in six weeks and I threw 46 pitches, 35 for strikes," Chen said. "I was very happy not only that I threw my 46 pitches but was able to compete. I got guys on base, I was able to field a bunt, I was able to back up the bases, I was able to pitch out of some jams. Those are the things that you want to go smoothly."
Chen, in his three innings, gave up eight hits and two runs, both on home runs, with no walks and three strikeouts.
"I'm very grateful, very glad that I was able to pitch and not have any setbacks," he said.
While Chen does not expect to have surgery because of the bulging disk in his back, he did talk with outfielder Mitch Maier, who is rehabbing with the Naturals after having back surgery.
"I learned from him, I asked him a lot of questions," Chen said. "I'm grateful that I was able to pitch and don't have any symptoms where I have to be thinking about something like that."
Rodriguez throws perfect inning in MLB debut
KANSAS CITY -- It wasn't exactly an ideal spot for a young pitcher to make his Major League debut, but Royals right-hander Wilking Rodriguez came through it just fine.
He entered Tuesday night's game at St. Louis with the Cardinals ahead, 7-6, and worked a perfect seventh inning. He got three fly-ball outs, one on the infield and two in center field.
"I thought he threw the ball good," manager Ned Yost said. "He threw strikes, he wasn't intimidated. He came out and threw the ball good. Good sinking action on his fastball, threw a really good changeup that had a lot of drop to it."
Yost had to press Rodriguez, who had just been called up the day before, into action because he was running short of fresh arms in the bullpen. But he helped in what became an 8-7 victory.
Rodriguez, 24, grew up in the same area of Venezuela as catcher Salvador Perez and they played against each other.
"He was good, he had power even when he was young," Rodriguez said.
Despite GM's hopes, Brett fine not coaching
KANSAS CITY -- George Brett had a successful two-month run as the Royals' interim hitting coach last year, and general manager Dayton Moore had hoped the Hall of Famer might take on the task full time.
"Whether George wants to admit it or not, he was very impactful with these hitters," Moore said. "He likes to deflect a lot of the credit, but I really felt that once he got involved and we started winning, which I thought we would, that he loves baseball and is so passionate, I thought he'd want to do it. I really did."
But Brett bowed out in late July, turning the job over to Pedro Grifol. When the Royals were mulling Grifol's fate recently with the offense struggling, Moore admitted that the thought of getting Brett back in that role crossed his mind.
"I hinted one time up the box," Moore said. "I asked him what he was doing this summer. ... He knew what I was talking about -- he didn't say it, but he could tell."
Moore smiled and added: "He said he had a busy summer."
So what the Royals did was shake up the coaching staff, putting Dale Sveum in charge of the hitters. Sveum followed Grifol who followed Brett who followed Jack Maloof who followed Kevin Seitzer, all within the last two years.
"I'm not proud of the fact that we've had several changes with our hitting-coach position. That's on me, that's my responsibility," Moore said. "Ned [Yost] and I have to work together to make sure that we find the right voice and the right teacher to help our players make adjustments. Our players are talented enough and far enough along in their careers that they take ownership of their development as well. A coach can only meet you halfway. I've always said we'll meet 51 percent and pull you across the line, but you've got to meet us there and be willing to make adjustments."
Dick Kaegel is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.