FOX 4 Sports shorts: Sweeney back with Royals; Jayhawks lead Big XII at halfway point

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. — With spring training inching closer, the Royals have brought back a familiar face. For the Kansas basketball team, they’re in familiar territory with half of the Big 12 Conference season remaining.

ROYALS HIRE MIKE SWEENEY

The Royals have hired Mike Sweeney to the front office staff. The former All-Star first baseman will carry the title of Special Assistant to Baseball Operations.

“We’re thrilled as an organization that Mike will be joining our baseball operations staff,” said Royals GM Dayton Moore. “He’s a tremendous leader and I’m confident that he will impact our players and staff in a positive way.”

Sweeney was a five-time All-Star for the Royals between 1995 and 2007. He was a .297 career hitter with 215 home runs and 909 RBIs. He holds the club-record for single season RBI with 144 in 2000.

“It’s a great honor to have played in the Kansas City organization for 20 years. To be welcomed back by the Glass family, Dayton Moore, Ned Yost and the entire staff is a dream come true for me,” said Sweeney.  “The only thing I was unable to accomplish during my playing days was to bring October baseball back to Kansas City. With this new position, my goal is to do as much as I can to help the Royals get back to being one of the prized organizations in baseball, as it was in the 1980’s.”

JAYHAWKS ARE HALFWAY THERE

No. 8 Kansas reached the halfway point of the Big 12 race in first-place at 8-1. The Jayhawks host West Virginia Saturday. The Mountaineers have won three in a row. Bill Self says he’s impressed with Bob Huggins’ crew.

“Well, they’re obviously playing well. I don’t know, what have they won, four of their last five or something like that? And they got some good wins. A couple of their losses, they could have easily beat Oklahoma State twice, had opportunities both games. You know, they’re probably as explosive as any guard pair with (Juwan) Staten and (Eron) Harris as anybody in our league, so they’re good.”

KU is on pace to win its 10th straight Big 12 regular season title. While the Jayhawks appear to be in good shape, Self says it will be more difficult to score in the second half of the conference season. He also admits he wouldn’t have predicted the league to have so much balance.

“A lot of times when you have everybody with losses in a league, it gives the appearance of mediocrity. When you look at the league race right now, we have one, Texas has two, and then everybody else has at least four; is that right? But it’s the same way it is in the Big 10. The Big 10 you look at Michigan, Michigan State, and I think I could be off one, but I think everybody else has four or whatever in that league, too.”

“The reason why leagues appear to be so good sometimes if you have three ranked in the top 10 or something like that is because the bottom half of the league isn’t able to beat the top half, and that’s certainly not the case this year. I think what’s perceived to be ‘not the top-five teams’ in our league can certainly beat the top-five teams in our league, and I think that’s what makes our league more difficult than most, if not all, because everybody is capable.”

“I still think it’s wide open. I don’t think it’s a two‑horse race at all. I think there’s still some teams with four losses that have a shot. We were in this position last year if I’m not mistaken, 7‑0, and ended up having to come from behind to get a piece of it. It’s still wide open.”

 

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