Royals exercise 2011 option on DeJesus

The Royals announced on Saturday they are picking up the $6-million option on outfielder David DeJesus’ contract for next season.

Only the timing was a surprise. The Royals had until Oct. 15 to exercise the club option.

The option was an addition to a five-year, $13.8-million deal that DeJesus signed with the Royals that ran from 2006 through this season. He earned $4.6 million this year.

DeJesus, 30, was lost for the season on July 22 when he jammed his glove hand into the center field wall trying for a catch at Yankee Stadium. He underwent surgery four days later.

In 91 games this season, DeJesus hit .318 with five homers and 37 RBIs. He was the Royals’ leadoff batter for most of his eight years with the club but he batted third most often this season.
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Although he played center field most of his career, he moved to left field in 2009 and to right field this year.

–Dick Kaegel

Royals trade versatile Bloomquist to Reds

The Royals scratched Willie Bloomquist from their lineup just before Monday afternoon’s game against Oakland. With good reason.

Bloomquist had just been traded to the Cincinnati Reds for a player to be named or cash considerations.

Bloomquist had been slated to play left field and bat second for the Royals. Instead, just a half hour before the game, he was in manager Ned Yost’s office being told of the trade.

A versatile player, Bloomquist was in his second season with the Royals and was batting .265 in 72 games with 10 doubles, a triple, three homers and 17 RBIs. He also stole eight bases in 13 tries.

Bloomquist got off to a slow start this season but, in 34 games since June 27, he was batting .311 (33-for-106). He had a nine-game hitting streak snapped on Sunday when he grounded out as a pinch-hitter. He also was hitting .355 (27-for-76) with runners on base as opposed to just .191 (18-for-94) with the bases empty.

This season Bloomquist played all three outfield positions as well as second base and third. In the past, he’s also played first base and shortstop.

Because of his ability to play virtually any position and run well, Bloomquist has been considered a natural for a National League team because of the more frequent lineup changes, use of pinch-hitters and double switches.

Now he gets his chance with the NL’s Central Division leaders after playing only in the American League with Seattle and the Royals. However, because the deal came after Aug. 31, he will not be eligible for postseason play with the Reds even if a player is injured. To replace a disabled player in the postseason, a player must have in that organization prior to Aug. 31.

At 32 and in his ninth Major League season, Bloomquist was a positive influence among the younger players on the team. Last season, after signing as a free agent with the Royals, he also batted .265 in 125 games, stole 25 bases and set career highs in virtually every category. He played every position except pitcher and catcher.

–Dick Kaegel

Kendall to have shoulder surgery, out for season

Royals catcher Jason Kendall will undergo right shoulder surgery on Friday and is out for the season, manager Ned Yost announced on Wednesday.

“He had an MRI on his shoulder on Monday and it showed extensive tearing in his rotator cuff,” Yost said. “It will be somewhere between eight to 10 months before he’s back.”

Although Yost said he hoped to have Kendall back “by the spring,” even just eight months would carry through the first month of the 2011 season in April. Kendall will be in the second year of his Royals contract.

Yost said Kendall was injured in mid-July sliding into a base against Oakland.

The catching for the last 30 games will be handled by backup Brayan Pena and Lucas May, just called up from Triple-A Omaha.

Kendall, who’d been an iron man behind the plate for most of this season, played in 118 games and batted .256.

–Dick Kaegel

Guillen dealt to Giants for player to be named

Jose Guillen is headed for his 10th Major League club, the San Francisco Giants.

The Royals traded Guillen and cash to the National League West contenders for a player to be named on Friday morning. Guillen had been designated for assignment by the Royals on August 5.

Guillen, 34, was leading the Royals with 16 home runs and 62 RBIs with a .255 average when he was dropped after three days of a West Coast trip. The move was made after the Royals could not reach a deal for the outfielder and designated hitter prior to the non-waiver deadline on July 31.

The cash sent to the Giants will help pay for the remainder of Guillen’s $12 million salary due him this season. He’s in the last year of a three-year, $36-million contract.

He’ll now settle into an outfield picture that includes Pat Burrell, Aubrey Huff, Travis Ishikawa and Andres Torres.

The right-handed-hitting Guillen is a career .270 hitter with a .762 OPS and 211 home runs in 14 seasons in the big leagues. He spent 84 games as a designated hitter this season while also making 21 starts in right field.

— Dick Kaegel

Jose Guillen’s time with Royals ends; he’s DFA’d

The Royals cut ties with Jose Guillen on Thursday, with the veteran outfielder designated for assignment.

Guillen, who leads the Royals with the 16 home runs and 62 RBIs, did not figure in the club’s future plans. He was in the last year of a three-year, $36-million contract.

The move clears the way for Kila Ka’aihue, a top power prospect, to get more playing time. Ka’aihue is expected to share first base and designated hitter with Billy Butler.

To fill Guillen’s spot on the 25-man roster, the Royals called up pitcher Philip Humber from Triple-A Omaha. A starter, he was 5-6 with a 4.47 ERA in 21 games.

Guillen leaves the Royals in the wake of a terrible slump. He was just 1-for-28 in his last seven games, going hitless in 21 at-bats since collecting his 300th career double.

–Dick Kaegel

Ka’aihue, Holland had a big July before promotions

First baseman Kila Ka’aihue and right-hander Greg Holland apparently earned their promotions to Kansas City. They were named the Player and Pitcher of the Month, respectively, for July with Triple-A Omaha.

Ka’aihue hit .343 with 10 home runs and 28 RBIs in July and was promoted as the month ended. Holland had a 0.59 ERA in 15 1/3 innings with 28 strikeouts before being called up last Thursday.

The other top players and pitchers for the other farm clubs: Northwest Arkansas (AA) – Second baseman Johnny Giavotella and left-hander Chris Dwyer; Wilmington (A) – Outfielder Nick Francis and left-hander John Lamb; Burlington, Iowa (A) – Outfielder Carlo Testa and right-hander Tyler Sample; Idaho Falls (Rookie) – First baseman Murray Watts and right-hander Greg Billo; Burlington, N.C. (Rookie) – Third baseman Ryan Stovall and right-hander Leonel Santiago; Surprise (Rookie) – Shortstop Michael Antonio and left-hander Rudy Brown; Dominican – Outfielder Jorge Bonifacio and right-hander Jose Brazoban.

Left-hander Edgar Osuna had a rough initiation into Triple-A, giving up four homers among nine hits and eight runs in 4 1/3 innings of a 12-6 loss at Memphis. . . . Eric Hosmer hit his seventh homer in 18 games since joining Double-A Northwest Arkansas. That matches the total he had in 87 games with Single-A Wilmington.

–Dick Kaegel

Royals give Ned Yost 2-year extension as manager

The Royals extended the contract of manager Ned Yost for two years on Saturday.

Yost took over the Royals from Trey Hillman, who was dismissed, on May 14. Since then the club has posted a 31-37 mark.

The 55-year-old Yost managed the Milwaukee Brewers  from 2003 until late in the 2008 season, compiling a 457-502 record. He was hired by the Royals last winter as a special advisor of baseball operations.

The announcement came just after the Royals made a deal at the trade deadline, sending outfielder Rick Ankiel and reliever Kyle Farnsworth and cash to the Braves for three players.

–Dick Kaegel

Ankiel, Farnsworth dealt to Braves for 3 players

The Royals beat the trade deadline by minutes on Saturday, dealing center fielder Rick Ankiel and relief pitcher Kyle Farnsworth and cash to the Atlanta Braves in exchange for three players.

The Royals received outfielder Gregor Blanco and right-handed pitcher Jesse Chavez, who will report to the Royals immediately, and left-handed pitcher Tim Collins, who’ll join Triple-A Omaha.

Blanco, 26, a left-handed batter, was hitting .310 (18-for-58) in 36 games for the Braves. He also batted .286 for Triple-A Gwinnett in 44 games.

Chavez, 24, was 3-2 with a 5.89 ERA in 28 relief appearances for the Braves. In three seasons for Atlanta, he was 4-7 in 116 games.

Collins, 20, had a 1-0 record and a 2.29 ERA for two Double-A clubs, New Hampshire in the Toronto organization and Mississippi in the Atlanta organization.

Ankiel had just returned to the Royals after a lengthy rehab assignment because of a quad injury with Omaha. Since his return, he was hitting .367 (11-for-30) with a home run and six RBIs in eight games.

Farnsworth was having one of his best seasons with a 3-0 record and 2.42 ERA in 37 relief outings.

–Dick Kaegel

Podsednik traded to Dodgers for two Minor Leaguers

The Kansas City Royals traded left fielder Scott Podsednik to the Los Angeles Dodgers on Wednesday night in exchange for two Minor League players.

The Royals received catcher Lucas May and right-handed pitcher Elisaul Pimentel. May was assigned to Triple-A Omaha and Pimentel to Single-A Burlington.

Podsednik, hitting .310 in his first season for the Royals, had just extended his career-high hitting streak to 15 games in the Royals’ 6-4 loss to the Minnesota Twins on Wednesday afternoon.

May, 25, was hitting .296 with 11 home runs and 45 RBIs in 73 games for Triple-A Albuquerque. In eight Minor League seasons, the right-handed hitter has career average of .260 with 87 homers.

He played for Royals coach Eddie Rodriguez last fall as Team USA won the 2009 IBAF World Cup.

Pimentel, 22, was 9-3 with a 3.49 ERA in 17 games, including 16 starts, for Great Lakes in the Single-A Midwest League. He had 97 strikeouts in 90 1/3 innings.

Podsednik was signed by the Royals last winter as a free agent.

–Dick Kaegel

 

Meche headed for surgery, out for the season

Royals pitcher Gil Meche likely will undergo surgery on his right shoulder and miss the rest of the season, manager Ned Yost said on Tuesday.

The exact nature and date of the surgery were not known.

Meche threw for Triple-A Omaha in an injury rehabilitation appearance on Monday and gave up seven runs in four innings.

“It didn’t go real well. He’s still experiencing some pain in his shoulder and so our next move is that he’ll probably go and have some surgery on it to figure out exactly what’s wrong and repair it,” Yost said.

“That’s probably going to be the next step. We’re still evaluating but it looks like that’s probably what we’re going to have to do.”

Meche has been on the disabled list with what was originally listed as right shoulder bursitis since last pitching for the Royals on May 25.

“When he gets in and is evaluating fully by the doctor, I imagine it’ll be some type of cleanup in there with the scope,” Yost said. “He still has irritation and it’s not getting better so we’re looking at probably scoping it and getting it cleaned up and having him ready for next year.”

Meche came out of a Cactus League game in Arizona on March 22 after three innings with shoulder tightness. He worked his way back and his first start of the season was delayed until April 9.

This would be the second straight year that Meche’s season has ended early. In 2009, back problems kept him from starting after Aug. 29. An iron man in his first two seasons with the Royals, he was limited to 23 starts and had a 6-10 record and 5.09 ERA.

“He’s a little down right now,” Yost said. “He worked really hard to do everything he could do to get back without having this happen but common sense says you can fight this and fight it and fight it but you get to the point where you have surgery later and that jeopardizes what we need him for next year. So go ahead and get it done as soon as we can and hopefully have him ready to go next year.”

Meche made just nine starts this season and was 0-4 with a 6.66 ERA.

“He came and pitched effectively at times during the season. This is almost kind of like a last resort thing. We exhausted every other option that we could do so that we wouldn’t have to come to this. But this is what it’s come to and we have to move forward with it,” Yost said.

“It’s always a blow when you lose a guy that has the capability to win games like Gil does but you fix it and you move on.”

Meche next season will be in the last year of his original free agent five-year, $55-million contract with the Royals.

On the upside, disabled starter Luke Hochevar (right elbow sprain) had a good throwing session on Monday. He’s been out since June 12 and, at the moment, there’s no target date for him to return to throwing off the mound.

“But it’ll be very soon,” Yost said.

–Dick Kaegel