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.
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.
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.
Affable Billy Butler was testing his skills as an interviewer in the Royals’ camp on Monday, hoping to take over the “Mark Teahen Show” which had been shown on the Kauffman Stadium video board and on the Royals Insider TV show.
With cameraman Stephen Spiegel trailing him, Butler accosted teammate David DeJesus who was just finishing up an interview with several reporters. Butler jumped in with a burning question: “What’s your favorite color?” DeJesus was quick with his answer: “Royal blue.”
Butler merrily asked questions of other players and this reporter who just as merrily gave him a “no comment.”
The Teahen production was a whimsical, mostly nonsensical series of give-and-take with teammates. But now that he’s gone to the White Sox, the job of host was open.
Or was it? With the Royals Insider TV show canceled this year, Butler may be auditioning for a gig that no longer exists. That would be too bad. Billy seemed to be having a ball.
Catcher Jason Kendall joining the Royals after his father, Fred, had been a coach in KC prompted the topic of other father-son combinations with the club. There were three combos as players: Hal and Brian McRae, John and Dusty Wathan and Floyd and Brian Bannister. There was the manager-player combo of Tony Pena and Tony Pena Jr. and, of course, Hal McRae and John Wathan also were Royals managers. Royals staffers Colby Curry and Curt Nelson dug into the matter. Nelson, director of the Royals Hall of Fame, noted there were other Royals players who had big-league fathers including Bob Boone (Ray), Chris Haney (Larry), Kurt Stillwell (Ron), Mel Stottlemyre Jr. (Mel) and Danny Tartabull (Jose) although the dads didn’t play with the Royals. The only brother combination to play for the Royals apparently was George and Ken Brett. . . . Umpires supervisor Steve Palmero dropped by the Royals’ camp to meet with manager Trey Hillman, coaches and staff about proposed rules changes and interpretations. As usual, Palmero is interested in ways to speed up the game, one of his pet projects. . . . Former Royals infielder Tony Graffanino visited ex-teammates in the clubhouse. He’s retired now after 13 Major League seasons with seven teams, bowing out last year in a brief stint with Cleveland.
Seems like Dayton Moore was quite serious when he vowed to upgrade the Royals’ defense. Now he’s got three center fielders – Scott Podsednik, Rick Ankiel and David DeJesus – roaming his 2010 outfield. That’s left, center and right, respectively.
And he’s pretty clear that Chris Getz, considered a better glove than Alberto Callaspo, will fill second base. And Jason Kendall supposedly is an improvement over the catching combo of Miguel Olivo and John Buck.
All this leaves Jose Guillen as the DH and Alberto Callaspo in limbo. Guillen will probably grumble because he views himself as a good outfielder and a complete player but, with his bad wheels barking, he didn’t move around all that well last year. Callaspo has to be disappointed because he had a breakout year with a .300 average and a bunch of extra-base hits and now there’s no place to play – not second, not even DH.
That should make for an interesting shakeout during Spring Training.
Ankiel looks forward to being in the middle of that outfield.
“All three of us could play center. I think we’re going to do well,” he said. “Certainly when you look around the league you can compare us with any other team.”
Ankiel indicated Monday that the virtual guarantee that he’d play center field swung his free-agent decision toward the Royals.
“I like center, I think you get a good view of the game, I think it keeps you into the game a little bit more, obviously you can get better jumps being right behind the pitcher,” Ankiel said. “I’ve played all three. They all have their different aspects, different angles but I like center better.”
Moore is happy with his new outfield acquisitions.
“You look at the free-agent pool that existed for the 2010 season and Rick Ankiel and Scott Podsednik are two of the better athletes in that group, period, and that’s not debatable,” he said.
The Royals’ legwork during the Winter Meetings paid off on Friday when they signed free-agent catcher Jason Kendall to a two-year contract.
Kendall, 35, is expected to take over as the Royals’ primary catcher following the departure of Miguel Olivo into the free-agent pool.
A 14-year Major Leaguer, the right-handed batter has a career average of .290 in 1,967 games. He’s not a power hitter – 75 homers – but has an on-base percentage of .369. Earlier in his career, he often batted in the leadoff spot, unusual for a catcher, and has 177 stolen bases.
The Royals went into the meetings at Indianapolis last Monday checking the market for a catcher, a center fielder, a left-handed starter and bullpen help but the signing of Kendall is the first tangible result.
They also were linked to catchers Ivan Rodriguez, who signed a two-year deal with the Washington Nationals, along with Jose Molina and Rod Barajas.