David DeJesus was out of right field on Thursday night at Tampa Bay but he stayed at the top of batting order. He was the designated hitter as Jose Guillen played right for a change. This was just the second time that DeJesus had been the Royals’ DH; the first time came on July 23, 2008, against Detroit at Kauffman Stadium. On that occasion, he was 2-for-4 with a double. This time he was 1-for-3 with a walk.
Aaron Crow got his first pro victory, pitching eight innings on Thursday night as Double-A Northwest Arkansas knocked off Springfield, a Cardinals’ farm club, 9-2. The ex-Mizzou star gave up two runs on six hits and a walk in eight innings. He struck six and threw just 79 pitches – 55 for strikes. Crow was the Royals’ top draft pick last year and their fifth-round choice, Louis Coleman from LSU, pitched a perfect ninth to finish up. Ernesto Mejia belted two home runs for the Naturals. . . . First baseman Kila Ka’aihue hit his sixth homer, doubled and knocked in four runs as Triple-A Omaha beat Iowa, 11-7, in a game stopped by rain after 5½ innings. . . . Royals catcher Jason Kendall appeared in his 1,929th game behind the dish on Friday night at Tampa Bay. He’s in sixth place all-time for games caught; next in his path, ex-Royals manager Tony Pena with 1,950.
Left-hander John Parrish hopes he’ll be out for only the minimum 15 days on the disabled list with his rotator cuff problem. He was one of the Royals’ most dependable relievers early this season so manager Trey Hillman hopes that’s the case.
“I’m thankful that it’s only inflammation and we are sure that it’s only inflammation so that’s a big plus,” Hillman said. “Because whether you think you’ve overused a guy or not overused a guy, you still feel responsible and it costs him opportunities to go out there and do what he needs to do.”
News item: Luke Hughes, an Australian, is the first Twins player to whack a home run in his first at-bat since 1984. Question: Who was the last previous guy to do it? Answer: Andre David, former Royals hitting coach who is now the hitting coach for their Surprise Rookie team. David also hit his at Detroit – in old Tiger Stadium, of course – and it was the only homer in Andre’s two-year Major League career. . . . Outfielder Buck Coats is leading the Omaha Royals with a .314 average. . . . Derrick Robinson, with a stolen base on Wednesday night, made it steals in six straight games for Double-A Northwest Arkansas. He had 10 bags in that span and was leading the Texas League with 15. The center fielder also had a .329 average. . . . First baseman Eric Hosmer’s streak of reaching base for Single-A Wilmington was snapped at 19 games. But his sac fly drove in the only run of a 2-1 loss at Salem. . . . Single-A Burlington catcher Wil Myers has hit .314 (11-for-35) with three homers and 10 RBIs in his last nine games after starting the season 8-for-43, .186.
Jason Kendall matched Jim Sundberg for number of games caught, 1,927, in Wednesday’s game against the Mariners. That’s sixth on the all-time list. Kendall has sat out just one game this season. What’s the secret to his iron-man approach?
“Right after we signed him, we actually asked him that question and it’s a very simple answer, he said it’s a mindset,” Royals manager Trey Hillman said. “Obviously there’s a lot of physical that goes with that but he expects to play every day.”
The physical maintenance comes with experience. “We’re seeing him throw a lot better now than he did in Spring Training. That’s a process with him. He does a real good job of listening to his body,” Hillman said. Kendall is the only catcher in the Majors to make at least 130 starts in each of the last eight seasons. This should make it nine.
“Just to be brutally honest, if our record was 12-8 instead of 8-12, it’d be easy to give him a day off,” Hillman said.
Second baseman Chris Getz came out of his first rehab game with Triple-A Omaha in good shape. He played nine innings of a 10-inning, 3-2 loss to Albuquerque and had two hits. . . . Left-hander Edgar Osuna finally gave up a couple runs, both on solo homers, but pitched Double-A Northwest Arkansas to a 6-2 win at Springfield. His ERA is 0.78 through 23 innings. Reliever Blaine Hardy worked three hitless innings for the save and has yet to allow a run in 15 innings. . . . First baseman Eric Hosmer doubled and walked in Single-A Wilmington’s 15-5 loss at Salem and has reached base in all of the Blue Rocks’ 19 games. . . . Catcher Wil Myers hit his second three-run homer in two days as Single-A Burlington beat Beloit, 13-3. . . . JoAnne Fluke of Ottawa, Kan., who provides the art of dance to individuals with physical disabilities, was in the Buck O’Neil Legacy Seat on Wednesday.
Manager Trey Hillman likes stability in his lineup so he trotted out a familiar one for Saturday night’s game against the Twins:
David DeJesus, rf
Scott Podsednik, lf
Billy Butler, 1b\
Jose Guillen, dh
Alberto Callaspo, 2b
Rick Ankiel, cf
Jason Kendall, c
Alex Gordon, 3b
Yuni Betancourt, ss
Luke Hochevar was the pitcher. Although a light rain was falling, the Royals were hoping for the 6:10 p.m. CT start or close to it so the prospects were looking good for Zack Greinke Bobblehead Night.
— Dick Kaegel
Third baseman Alex Gordon is back.
The Royals announced early Saturday morning that Gordon is re-joining the club, coming off the disabled list while second baseman Chris Getz goes on it.
Getz went on the 15-day disabled list, retroactive to Thursday, with a strained right oblique. This was a sharp turnaround from manager Trey Hillman’s hope expressed on Friday night that Getz would be back in a day or two.
Getz was scratched from the Royals’ lineup just prior to the Royals’ 10-3 loss to the Twins on Friday night. He was batting just .209 in the Royals’ first nine games.
Gordon suffered a broken right thumb while sliding headfirst into second base on March 6 against the Texas Rangers at Surprise, Ariz. He spent seven games in injury rehabilitation with Single-A Wilmington, then was dispatched to Triple-A Omaha just on Thursday.
He joined the Omaha club at Albuquerque, played one game, and was flying to Minneapolis, scheduled to arrive at Target Field around game time (12:10 p.m. CT).
The Spring Training injury was a big setback for Gordon, who had struggled last season. He underwent major hip surgery in April and had some difficultly when he returned. But in training camp, he appeared to be in excellent shape when the injury occurred.
Gordon was Omaha’s designated hitter in Friday night’s 8-1 win at Albuquerque and went 3-for-4 with a home run. For Wilmington, he batted .235 (4-for-17) with three doubles.
There are some big Zack Greinke doin’s set for next Friday night at Kauffman Stadium. It’ll center around him accepting his American League Cy Young Award from the Baseball Writers’ Association of America.
He’s gotten it before – at the writers’ New York dinner last winter – but this time he gets it in front of the hometown folks before a game against the Red Sox.
It’ll all start at 7 p.m. CT on Friday, April 9, so get there early. The Royals’ other Cy Young winners, Bret Saberhagen and David Cone, will participate. So will George Brett, Dennis Leonard and Paul Splittorff.
The Zackster also will get his Players Choice Award as 2009’s best AL pitcher. He’s already designated the cash prize that comes with it from the Players’ Association to the Boys and Girls Club of KC.
And for the fans there’s a “Cy Young Celebration” tee-shirt featuring Greinke, Saberhagen and Cone. The shirts will go to the first 35,000 fans so that should take care of just about everybody. (The joint seats just under 38,000.)
— Dick Kaegel