SURPRISE, Ariz. -- For the time being, neither Ryan O'Hearn nor Ryan McBroom will let himself get wrapped up in the numbers game of figuring out how many players at various positions can make the Kansas City Royals roster.
They know the drill. They know they'd both like to end spring training as the club's starting first baseman. They're determined, however, not to let that distract them from what they each need to do or get in the way of their friendship.
"I love Broomie," O'Hearn said. "Broomie and I have become close. We hang out and do our workouts together every day. We're in the same groups. We take ground balls together. I hang out with him outside of the field. He's one of my good friends. That's just what it is.
"As far as rosters go, I don't make the decisions on who makes the team, who doesn't, who plays, who doesn't. But I'm guessing that I can see a scenario where we're both on the team. My point is it's out of my hands. All I've got to do is show up and do what I do, play hard everyday, work hard every day, be a good teammate and a good friend."
O'Hearn is no stranger to this dynamic. He competed at various levels for playing time with former Royals first base prospect Frank Schwindel, who is in camp with the Detroit Tigers.
This spring, O'Hearn's primary focus won't be on what anybody else does. His attention will remain on doing what he must to turn around a dreadful 2019 season and produce the way he has in the Royals' farm system.
A 6-foot-3, 200-pound left-handed hitting former eighth-round draft pick out of Sam Houston State, O'Hearn struggled through last season with a final slash line of .195/.281/.369 in 105 major-league games. He was sent to Triple-A in June.
He had one of the most productive starts of any Royals player the previous year. He'd hit more home runs (12) and extra-base hits (24) than any Royal through 44 career games, while his 30 RBIs in that span ranked third in franchise history.
Last season, he started off in a rut and never completely found his way out of it. He consistently made hard contact, but fell victim to shifted defensive alignments. Worse, he let his early failures at the plate weigh on him mentally.
He thought he may have been turning a corner as the season ended.