Rick Ankiel might get back into center field when the Royals open a three-game series at Chicago on Monday night. He hasn’t been in the starting lineup for eight straight games because of what’s termed a mild right quad strain.
It’s the first quad problem that Ankiel has had as a pro and manager Trey Hillman didn’t want to risk further injury on the artificial turf of Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg. But if it’s suitably warm in Chicago, he might turn Ankiel loose on the natural grass of U.S. Cellular Field.
Hillman used Alex Gordon at first base for the last three innings of Saturday night’s game and says he might see more duty there as needed. For the time being, Gordon is sitting the bench as Alberto Callaspo takes over third base now that Chris Getz is back at second base. . . . Blake Wood seems to be getting on track as Triple-A Omaha’s closer. He picked up back-to-back saves against Iowa to reach five for the season. Kila Ka’aihue hit his seventh homer in a 2-1 win over Iowa. . . . Right-hander Tim Melville, a fourth-round draft pick in 2008, was banged for nine runs in four innings as Single-A Wilmington lost to Winston-Salem, 10-5. Melville is 1-3 with an 11.88 ERA. . . . There were 20 walks, including 13 by Single-A Burlington pitchers, in the Bees’ 9-6 win over Quad Cities. Right-hander Tyler Sample, KC’s third-round draft pick in 2008, got his first win despite issuing six walks in five innings. He gave up just two runs.