KC Royals: Yordano Ventura Needs To Grow Up

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Apr 12, 2015; Anaheim, CA, USA; Kansas City Royals catcher Salvador Perez (13) separates starting pitcher Yordano Ventura (30) and Los Angeles Angels center fielder Mike Trout (27) as they exchange words after Trout scored a run in the sixth inning at Angel Stadium of Anaheim. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

As ESPN.com’s Kristina Karhl suggested, Yordano Ventura is putting a target on his back. After three bench-clearing incidents against the Angels, A’s, and now the White Sox involving Ventura, he’s developing a reputation around the league.

ESPN.com’s David Shoenfield put it succinctly in a tweet:

Opponents will now try to bait Ventura, hoping he will blow up and remove himself, or some of this teammates, from the game. These kind of tactics will continue until Yordano Ventura learns to calm himself down when provoked.

Ventura himself is aware of the problem, telling Christina Karhl in reference to his growing reputation:

"“Yeah, I’ve thought about that, and some of my actions are certainly putting me in a less-than-favorable light, as well as the team,” Ventura said. “That’s important to me, and I need to work on it and be better.”"

Yordano Ventura needs to learn to say “scoreboard” or “standings” in response to players trying to get his goat rather than blowing up. Until he can keep taunts from taking away his focus, Ventura will fall short of his ace potential.

Manager Ned Yost needs to tell Ventura that he needs to avoid such confrontations for the next few months. If retaliation is necessary in a bean ball war, one of the relief staff can take care of the chore. Not Ventura.

That’s not to say that Ventura’s emotion is a bad thing. He cares. He just needs to channel that edge into sharpening his mental clarity and energy on the mound rather than getting sucked into brawls.

The KC Royals, and Yordano Ventura, need someone to take up the mantle of departed team leader James Shields in the clubhouse. Until then, you can expect ugly incidents to continue to dog the Kansas City Royals.

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