Dismissing speculation that manager Trey Hillman is on the hot seat because of the last-place Royals’ poor start, general manager Dayton Moore told the Kansas City Star that Hill is "exactly what our organization needs at this point in time."
"Trey is a tremendous leader," Moore told the newspaper, "somebody who is very consistent with who he is day in and day out."
Moore admitted, however, that he is disappointed with the team’s poor play. Kansas City is 11-23 after losing 4-0 to Cleveland on Wednesday night. The Royals left 13 men on base in the game.
Kansas City is now 56 games below .500 since Hillman was hired after the 2007 season, replacing Buddy Bell, who resigned. Hillman managed five years in Japan, including the Hokkaido Nippon Ham Fighters to the 2006 title.
"We’ve got to play better," Moore told the Star. "It’s not a question of effort or passion from our coaching staff. It’s all there. But together, we’ve got to perform and win games."
Moore maintained that the Royals can get back into the division race, but also warned that personnel changes are likely if there’s no turnaround.
"I believe in our baseball team," he told the Star. "I believe in the talent that we have here."
Hillman acknowledged his vulnerability in speaking with reporters Wednesday.
"I know it’s the last year of my contract," Hillman said. "I’ve been driven my whole live to be as successful as I could be. I’m still driven the same way. At the end of the day, what Trey Hillman really wants is the Kansas City Royals to be a contending club and to be in position to win baseball games. That’s all I want."
The manager, like his GM, tried to sound hopeful about the rest of the season.
"I’m still 11 games under .500," Hillman said. "I still feel blessed to be here. We’re not where we want to be. We’ve got 120-something games left. Over the years where I’ve been and what I’ve done, I’ve learned the first month and half of a season does not a season make. We can still gain some ground. We’ve still got some time to do some things right."
Material from The Associated Press was used in this report.