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Ned Yost media session: July 13, 2014

Bruce Chen will get his first start since April 24 this afternoon in the final game of a four-game series, as the Royals look to snap a six-game home losing streak to Detroit. Manager Ned Yost said the club plans to ride Chen “as far as we can.”

“I hope he can get us through five, and I think he will,” said Yost. “He threw 88 pitches on [June] 28th, he got extended in his rehab, so Bruce can go 75-90 pitches today. We’ll just see where that takes us.”

With a victory today, Chen would tie former Yankees closer Mariano Rivera for the most wins (82) of any Panamanian pitcher in Major League history.

“He’s done a great job,” said Yost. “He’s always been a real steady contributor to our pitching staff.”

The Royals will have rookie Yordano Ventura on stand-by in the bullpen should Chen need some assistance. Yost said that Wade Davis, Greg Holland, Louis Coleman, and Francisley Bueno will also be available. Aaron Crow and Kelvin Herrera will be out of action today after pitching in last night’s game.

With an All-Star game start on the horizon, catcher Salvador Perez will also get the day off, replaced by Brett Hayes behind the plate.

“Salvy has played 27 games in the last 29 days,” said Yost. “It’s a huge game, but he’s getting worn down. And that’s my fault because I play him so much, but with the All-Star game coming up he’s not going to have much of a break and we’ve got to find some ways to take some of the load off of him.”

Perez will be joined on the pine by ailing outfielders Alex Gordon (wrist) and Lorenzo Cain (legs), but Yost says, in spite of a weakened lineup and the impending four-day respite, he does not expect the team to have a let-down this afternoon.

“It’s a huge game, I would hope not,” said Yost. “Because this was a big series for us and we’ve done nothing. We’re 0-3, and, really, we’ve had opportunities to be 2-1 in this series, but it hasn’t materialized.

By Kolby Paxton

Ned Yost media session: July 12, 2014

On an evening when the gates at Kauffman Stadium are loaded with 10,000 Salvador Perez bobbleheads, it’s even tougher than usual to ignore the All-Star catcher’s impact on the Royals organization, both present and future. Manager Ned Yost reiterated the importance of his backstop with regard to the ultimate success of the club earlier today.

“We built this team around Salvy and Hoz and Moose and Alex Gordon and Billy Butler,” said Yost. “He’s a big part of it. He’s a kid that has incredible talent both offensively and defensively and he’s one of the big keys to our team.”

According to Yost, Perez stood out to him from the very day he joined the Royals organization (Perez was in Class A at the time).

“The minute I saw him, I knew he was going to be a great player,” said Yost. “He had so many intangible skills. He was very smart, he had a great personality, he had great life, he had great energy. He’s extremely athletic for a big guy. The bottom half, defensively, in terms of throwing, works extremely well with the top half. He can block balls. He’s strong, and he can swing the bat. You look at him and you go through your career as a coach, and when you see a guy like Salvador, you realize it immediately.

“The only other guy I ever saw that I can compare him to was Javy Lopez in Atlanta. As soon as you saw Javy you though, man this guy is going to be a great player. He’s just special. They stick out.”

“Big Game” James Shields will take the mound for the Royals tonight, as the club looks to snap a five-game home losing streak to Detroit. In spite of the circumstances, Yost said the team will treat this game just as it treats every game.

“People want to put a lot more importance on a game like today, but we look at every game the same way,” said Yost. “Every game is important. Every game is big. It’s definitely a huge start. But last night was a huge game, the night before that was a huge game, tomorrow’s going to be a huge game. We don’t assign importance to any game. They’re all big, man. And if you don’t have that mindset, you’re in trouble.”

By Kolby Paxton

All-Stars honored with Majestic All-Star Game Send-off

Royals vs Detroit_9494Outfielder Alex Gordon, pitcher Greg Holland and catcher Salvador Perez were presented with their personalized Majestic All-Star jerseys prior to Friday’s game.  Todd Bradney, National Sales Manager for Majestic Athletics, was on hand to present the jerseys, along with Royals General Manager Dayton Moore and Manager Ned Yost.  The selections of Gordon, Holland and Perez mark the first time that the Royals have had as many as three All-Star representatives in consecutive years since 1987-88.

Ned Yost media session: July 11, 2014

After scuffling for the better part of June, Eric Hosmer has come alive of late, chasing a 17-for-89 (.191) start to last month with a torrid stretch of consistency that has seen the Royals’ slugger reach base in 14 of his last 15 games. Hosmer is hitting .339 (20-for-59) over the latter span, has homered in consecutive games, and is currently riding an 10-game hitting streak.

“He’s on time,” said manager Ned Yost of the Hosmer’s improved performance of late. “Before he was late. He was late getting his foot down, he was late getting his hands in the launch position. When you’re late, you make up for it by starting early. When you start early, you’re actually swinging before you get a good look at the ball and it makes it look like your approach is off kilter.”

While the number of “moving parts” in Hosmer’s swing could compound the complications inherent with a timing issue at the plate, Yost said that’s just “who he is.”

“He has a lot of loft to his swing,” said Yost. “He has a lot of power to his swing. He’s a kid that can hit the ball, when he’s right, to all fields with power. That’s what makes him unique.”

The Royals put an end to outfielder Nori Aoki’s stay on the disabled list this afternoon, activating him and sending infielder Christian Colon back to Triple-A Omaha. Aoki will be in his customary lead-off spot this evening, playing right field. Yost said that the decision to bring Aoki back was made, in large part, as a result of Alex Gordon’s wrist injury.

“Nori’s been feeling good,” he said. “We were going to try to make it through the All-Star break with him and just get him some more at-bats, but with Gordy going down and only three outfielders, it kind of limits what you can do. It limits your depth out there. Raul [Ibanez] has been going every single day. So we decided to get Nori back up here.”

Ibanez will be out of the lineup tonight, as Jarrod Dyson – not Aoki – moves to left field, with Lorenzo Cain in centerfield.

“Dyson is more capable of being out there,” said Yost. “Dyson can play all three positions equally as well. Nori, the majority of the time, has played right field. So we’ll leave him where he’s comfortable and Dice is comfortable with moving anywhere on the field.”

Ibanez was charged with an error in left field last night that ultimately allowed Miguel Cabrera to score on the back end of a J.D. Martinez RBI single. Yost said that he does not perceive Ibanez as a defensive liability, however.

“On the road, Raul played great defense in the outfield. We’re in a little bit bigger park here than we were in Tampa or Minnesota or Cleveland, but he’s done a good job for us defensively.”

July 11 and why it could be “Bo Jackson Day”

JACKSON-BO_01

Today is July 11 and we look back at three events that took place on this date involving former Royal Bo Jackson:

July 11, 1987:  Bo announces his new “hobby”…which he compares to hunting or fishing.  His idea of a hobby?  Running back for the Los Angeles Raiders.  Yes, playing in the NFL is a “hobby” for the Royals outfielder.

July 11, 1989:  Bo plays in his first and what turns out to be his only MLB All-Star Game, hitting a leadoff homer as the A.L. wins 5-3.  Bo would add a single and a stolen base, becoming the first player to homer and steal a base in an All- Star Game.

July 11, 1990:  Bo makes an outstanding running catch, then literally runs up the outfield wall at Baltimore’s Memorial Stadium.  Here’s the video of that incredible play from MLB.com…we love the “Spiderman” reference !

A tremendous talent, Bo didn’t need luck, however, 7-11 was his day!  Be sure to pick up a copy of the latest Royals Baseball Insider magazine during the Tigers series as Royals Hall of Fame Director Curt Nelson looks back on Bo’s All-Star Game heroics on this 25th anniversary.

 

Ned Yost media session: July 10, 2014

Royals left-hander Jason Vargas underwent a successful appendectomy on Wednesday night and has since been placed on the 15-day disabled list. In his stead, Kansas City has opted for 28-year-old righty Louis Coleman, calling the reliever up from Triple-A Omaha on Thursday.

Art Stewart saw Louie throw his last four outings and said he’s back to where he was last year,” said manager Ned Yost. “I trust Art’s evaluations.”

Vargas is not the only Royal casualty of late. Nori Aoki continues to rehab on the disabled list, and he’s since been joined on the mend by All-Star left fielder Alex Gordon, who remains active but is not expected to play in the upcoming series vs. Detroit.

“It happens,” Yost said of the recent ailments affecting his squad. “Everybody goes through it. Everybody deals with it. You’ve just got to get through it. Certain guys who may get an opportunity to play a little more will step up and you get through it. It’s something that you deal with every year.”

First baseman Eric Hosmer went 14-for-35 (.400) with three doubles, a home run, and four RBI on the road trip, hitting safely in all nine games. Yost said the key to Hosmer’s improved performance has been a renewed sense of timing in the batter’s box.

“[The] timing in his swing is better,” said Yost. “He’s seeing the ball better. He’s getting himself in a better position to hit. He’s getting his foot down and his hands are in a good striking position, which allows you to see the ball better. When your timing is off, you rush your swing. So, when your timing is off, you’re late. To compensate for it, you’ve got to get early. When you get early, all of a sudden you’re not seeing the ball as well. Then you’re swinging at pitches outside of the strike zone. When your timing is set, now all of a sudden you see the ball better, you read the ball better, you have better swings because you have a better eye.”

All-Star starter Salvador Perez punctuated the Royals’ road trip emphatically with a three-run shot in the ninth inning that lifted Kansas City past Tampa Bay 5-4 on Wednesday. Yost said on Thursday, however, that the emotional victory would not carry over beyond the start of tonight’s game.

“It carries over until Smyly throws his first pitch,” said Yost. “What something like that does, last night, is make your flight home real enjoyable. But when you wake up today, you’re facing another very tough Major League club. They don’t care that Salvy hit a home run last night. You’ve got to come out and play every day with the same attitude, the same intensity, the same focus.”

Yost welcomes another shot at the division-leading Tigers to close out the first half of the season, if only because each series versus Detroit gives the club another opportunity to close the gap.

“It’s good to play them anytime, especially when you’re chasing them and you’re trying to pick up ground,” said Yost. “Last time we played them, we were really hot and we were swinging the bats well. We’ve kind of cooled off a little bit here lately. But we’re still finding ways, like last night, to win baseball games. The key is the offense. When we hit, we win.”

By Kolby Paxton

 

Royals All-Stars meet with the KC media

All Star Presser 2The Royals will be represented at the All-Star Game in Minneapolis next week by the same three players as last year in New York: Greg Holland, Alex Gordon and Salvador Perez. The trio took part in a press conference earlier today with local media. Unfortunately due to a wrist injury left fielder Alex Gordon will miss the mid-summer classic at Target Field, though he will still travel to Minnesota to take part in the festivities and be with his teammates.

It will be hard for anything to top last year’s game for Perez, who caught Mariano Rivera’s final All-Star inning in the eighth, a moment Salvy described as something he will never forget. Holland on the other hand took a totally different story back from Citi Field. When the call from the American League dugout came that the Royals closer should begin to warm up, all Greg could think about was not blowing the lead for Rivera’s moment. As he approached the gate to the field those thoughts continued and as he emerged through the open gate, Holland gazed upon an open field. Not a single one of his A.L. teammates took the diamond for the bottom of the seventh inning. His first thought was that he accidentally trotted out for the National League but it wasn’t until he arrived at the mound did he realize that he was staring Marc Anthony, a famous recording artist, in the face as Anthony was set to sing God Bless America. Holland made a cool move towards his team’s dugout until the signing began, leaving Greg on the warning track in front of the dugout. Holly was sure he’d catch some flak from other players for the incident but he never has.

All Star Presser 3The three Royals echoed each other in saying it is rewarding to be recognized back-to-back seasons for the work they do to stay fresh and focused throughout the season. Holland and Gordon specifically indicated the other’s rigorous routine day in and day out and that it’s nice to see that work consistently pay off in the form of back-to-back All-Star selections.

By Nate Rowan

Homestand Highlights: July 10 – 13

The Royals return home on Thursday, July 10 for a four-game series against the Detroit Tigers.  Throughout the brief homestand that leads up to the All-Star Break, the Royals will host great events including the first ever Legends Night (July 11), Viva Los Royals (July 12) and KidsFest (July 13).  In addition, fans can also get great giveaways including an All-Star Summer Guide (July 10) and the second bobblehead of the player series (July 12).  Please see below for more information.

Thursday, July 10 – Detroit Tigers vs. Royals, 7:10 p.m.
GordonationShirt2014_004b•    GordoNation – Fans can enjoy being a part of GordoNation, a special seating section in left field that will be reserved for die-hard Alex Gordon fans on Thursday home games throughout the season.  The first 100 GordoNation fans will also receive an Alex Gordon big head.  Tickets cost $35 and come with a gold GordoNation t-shirt.  For details, visit http://www.royals.com/gordonation.
•    MLB All-Star Summer Guides Giveaway – The first 10,000 fans will receive an MLB All-Star Summer Guide.
•    All You Can Eat Seats – Fans can purchase All You Can Eat Seats located in the Loge Level (Sec. 318 – 325), which include unlimited ballpark fare.  All the hot dogs, nachos, peanuts, pretzels and Pepsi products you can handle for $40 per seat!  Individual and group discount tickets are available.  For details, visit http://www.royals.com/allyoucaneat.

Friday, July 11 – Detroit Tigers vs. Royals, 7:10 p.m.
•    Legends Night – The Royals are excited to host the first ever Legends Night, courtesy of Royals Authentics.  Two-time Cy Young Award winner Bret Saberhagen will be by the Royals Authentics store meeting fans and signing autographs from 5:30-6:30 p.m.  For more information, visit http://www.royals.com/legendsnight.
•    Scratch-Off Ticket – In conjunction with Legends Night, the first 10,000 fans will get a scratch-off ticket with a chance to win great prizes including Saberhagen autographed items and Royals Authentics store discounts!
•    First Responders Night – The Royals and GovX are proud to salute members of the military and first responders.  During select games throughout the season, members will be honored during a pregame presentation.  In addition, specially-priced tickets will also be available throughout the season.  For more information, visit http://www.GovX.com/Royals.
•    Buck Night – Hot dogs, small Pepsi products and peanuts are just $1 each all night long.  http://www.royals.com/fanvalue.
•    Summer Fireworks – Fans will enjoy a spectacular fireworks show, presented by Hy-Vee and Pepsi, after the game.

Perez bobblehead_July 12Saturday, July 12 – Detroit Tigers vs. Royals, 6:10 p.m.
•    Viva Los Royals – Join the Royals for the annual Viva Los Royals celebration.  The pregame party begins at 4:30 p.m. in the Outfield Experience.  Fans can enjoy live music from Willy Vela y sus Aguilillos on the Outfield Experience Stage.  Also, fans can participate in the annual Salsa Showdown featuring local restaurants including Palominos, El Camino Real, Cocina Mexicana and La Flor de Chiapas for their chance to take home the prize of best salsa.
•    Salvador Perez Bobblehead Night – The first 10,000 fans will receive a bobblehead of Royals catcher Salvador Perez, courtesy of Hy-Vee and Farmland.
•    610 Saturday – The Royals have teamed up with Entercom and 610 Sports Radio for special pregame festivities outside Rivals Sports Bar that include 610 Sports Radio personalities, special guests, food and drink specials and much more.  Fans can enjoy the 610 Saturday Appetizer Special – Southwest Firecracker Egg Rolls for just $6.10 – in Rivals Sports Bar from the time the gates open until the first pitch.  Listen to 610 Sports Radio and receive a coupon code to purchase a ticket for only $6.10 in the Hy-Vee Infield. http://www.royals.com/610saturday.

Kids Coloring Book_July 13Sunday, July 13 – Detroit Tigers vs. Royals, 1:10 p.m.
•    KidsFest presented by Subway – Before the game, kids and fans young at heart can enjoy lots of entertainment and activities in the Outfield Experience including a concert by School of Rock, an autograph session with Sluggerrr, face painters, balloon artist, stilt walker, poster station and plenty more!  Gates open at 11:30 a.m.  For more information, visit http://www.royals.com/kidsfest.
•    Kids Coloring Book – In conjunction with KidsFest, the first 5,000 kids will get a Sluggerrr coloring book, courtesy of the Kansas City Zoo.
•    Family FunDay Sunday – Each Sunday home game features pregame interactive kids entertainment by School of Rock, plus face painters, caricature or balloon artists in the Outfield Experience.  New this season, fans also have the opportunity to get pregame autographs with select players each Sunday.  All-Day Play Passes for unlimited activities in the Outfield Experience are available for just $10.  In addition, the Royals are offering a Family FunDay Sunday 4-Pack that includes four Hy-Vee Infield tickets, $10 in loaded value per ticket to use for concessions and merchandise and four All-Day Play Passes – over $150 in value – for just $80!  http://www.royals.com/sunday.
•    Sunday Fun Run – All fans 14 and under can run the bases after the game (conditions permitting).

Fans may purchase tickets online at royals.com, by calling 1-800-6ROYALS, at area Hy-Vee stores or at the Kauffman Stadium Box Office.

Royals sign left-handed pitcher Joe Saunders to minor league deal

The Kansas City Royals announced today that they have signed veteran left-handed pitcher Joe Saunders to a minor league contract.  He opened the year with the Texas Rangers, but was released on July 4.  He will be assigned to Triple-A Omaha.

Saunders, 33, made eight starts for the Rangers this season, going 0-5 with a 6.13 ERA in 39.2 innings.  He also made four starts combined between Round Rock (AAA) and Frisco (AA), posting a 3.80 ERA with 14 strikeouts in 21.1 innings.  An All-Star in 2008 with the Angels, the veteran lefty is 89-86 in his career, with a 4.35 ERA in 10 seasons pitching for Los Angeles (2005-10), Arizona (2010-12), Baltimore (2012), Seattle (2013) and Texas (2014).  He recorded a career-best 17 wins during his All-Star season.

Gordon, Holland, Perez are repeat All-Stars; Perez to start

For the second-straight season, three Kansas City Royals – catcher Salvador Perez, outfielder Alex Gordon and relief pitcher Greg Holland – will represent the club at the All-Star Game, Major League Baseball announced this evening.  All three players will be making their second consecutive appearances at the Mid-Summer Classic, with the trio being voted onto the American League squad by their peers.  It was also announced that Perez will start the game due to injury to Baltimore’s Matt Wieters, who received the most votes among A.L. catchers.  This marks the first time since the 1987 and 1988 seasons that the Royals have had three players named to the All-Star team in consecutive seasons.
Perez, 24, becomes the first Royals position player to start an All-Star Game since Jermaine Dye in 2000, while he’s the first KC catcher to be named to back-to-back games since Darrell Porter did it in 1979-80.  Salvy is hitting .285 this season with 17 doubles, 10 homers and 29 RBI.  He entered play today ranked sixth in the A.L., hitting .317 (72-for-227) against right-handed pitching and also led the league’s backstops in hits (85), doubles (17), slugging (.449) and multi-hit games (22).  Perez singled and scored a run in last season’s Mid-Summer Classic, catching the final three innings.

Gordon, 30, makes his second-straight All-Star team, becoming the first Royals outfielder to make consecutive appearances since Willie Wilson played in the 1982-83 contests.  He’s batting .263 with 23 doubles, 9 homers and 42 RBI.  He hit .319 (22-for-69) over the first 19 games in the month of June and entered the day tied for seventh in the league with 23 doubles.  Gordon has recorded six outfield assists this season, which ranked seventh in the A.L., entering today, while his 60 assists 2011 are the most in the Majors.  He also played the final three innings in left field in last year’s tilt, going 0-for-1.

Holland, 28, will make his second-straight All-Star appearance, being voted on for the first time.  He’s the first Royals’ hurler to make back-to-back teams since Jeff Montgomery did it in 1992-93.  Greg is 1-2 on the season with 23 saves, a 1.93 ERA and 50 strikeouts in 32.2 innings.  His 23 saves ranked second in the league entering play today, while his 13.78 strikeouts per nine innings ranked sixth among A.L. relievers.  Holland has converted 70 of 74 save opportunities since the start of 2013, with his total leading the league. He faced two hitters in last season’s game, getting a ground out and allowing a single.

The 85th All-Star Game will be played Tuesday, July 15, at 6:30 p.m. CT at Target Field in Minneapolis.  The contest will be televised nationally on FOX and also broadcast on ESPN Radio.

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