Results tagged ‘ Mike Montgomery ’

Royals acquire pitchers James Shields and Wade Davis along with a player to be named or cash from Rays in exchange for Myers, Odorizzi, Montgomery and Leonard

The Kansas City Royals tonight acquired right-handed starting pitchers James Shields and Wade Davis and a player to be named or cash considerations from the Tampa Bay Rays in exchange for minor league outfielder Wil Myers, right-handed pitcher Jake Odorizzi, left-handed pitcher Mike Montgomery and third baseman Patrick Leonard.

Shields, who will turn 31 on December 20, has established himself as one of the premier pitchers in the American League. He followed up an All-Star campaign in 2011, in which posted a 16-12 record with a 2.82 ERA and finished third in the A.L. Cy Young voting, by posting a 15-10 record with a 3.52 ERA in 33 starts with Tampa Bay last season. In 227.2 innings, Shields allowed 208 hits, walked 58 and struck out 223, just two shy of his career best set in 2011 and the third-most in the league. Shields is joined by the Mariners’ Felix Hernandez, the Dodgers’ Clayton Kershaw and the Tigers’ Justin Verlander as the only four pitchers in baseball to record at least 220 strikeouts in each of the last two seasons.

The 6-foot-4, 215-pound right-hander has compiled an 87-73 career record with a 3.89 ERA in 218 games (217 starts) all for the Rays since making his debut in 2006. Since tossing 124.2 innings in 21 starts during his rookie campaign, Shields has won at least 11 games, made at least 31 starts and topped the 200-inning mark in six straight seasons. He joins the Jays’ Mark Buehrle, the Giants’ Matt Cain, the Yankees’ CC Sabathia and Verlander as the only five pitchers in baseball to post at least 200 innings in six straight seasons. In 2011, his 11 complete games were the most by a Major League pitcher since Arizona’s Randy Johnson had 12 in 1999.

Shields and his wife, Ryane, reside in Clearwater, Fla., with their two daughters. The couple is active with a number of charities specifically geared toward foster children and James was the Rays recipient of the Roberto Clemente Award in 2009, 2010 and 2011.

The 27-year-old Davis made a combined 64 starts for the Rays from 2009 to 2011 before pitching exclusively in the bullpen for Tampa Bay in 2012. He went 3-0 with a 2.43 ERA last season, allowing 48 hits and 29 walks with 87 strikeouts in 70.1 innings. The 6-foot-5, 225-pounder made 29 starts in both 2010 and 2011 and finished fourth in the American League Rookie of the Year voting after posting a 12-10 record with a 4.07 ERA in 2010. Davis is 28-22 with a 3.94 ERA in 118 career outings, including 64 starts. He is 25-22 in his career as a starter with a 4.22 ERA, including an 8-2 mark with a 3.38 ERA in 30 games (18 starts) against A.L. Central foes.

Davis and his wife, Katelyn, reside in Lake Wales, Fla. Davis organized the Full Count Foundation to help children who are at risk or have special needs or chronic illnesses.

Myers, who will turn 22 tomorrow (December 10), was the 2012 Baseball America, USA Today and Topps Minor League Baseball Player of the Year after hitting a combined .314 with 37 home runs and 109 RBI in 134 games for Northwest Arkansas (AA) and Omaha (AAA). He was the Royals’ third round selection in the 2009 June Free Agent Draft.

The 22-year-old Odorizzi went 15-5 with a 3.03 ERA in 26 outings (25 starts) for Northwest Arkansas and Omaha in 2012 before making two starts for the Royals in September, going 0-1. He was acquired by Kansas City in a six-player trade with the Milwaukee Brewers on December 19, 2012.

Montgomery, 23, split his season between Omaha and Northwest Arkansas, posting a 5-12 record with a 6.07 ERA in 27 starts. He was the Royals’ supplemental first round selection (36th overall) in 2008.

The 20-year-old Leonard batted .251 with 14 home runs and 46 RBI in 62 games for Burlington (R) in 2012. He was the club’s fifth-round pick in the 2011 Draft.

Royals set 40-man roster ahead of tonight’s deadline

 The Royals today announced several moves to set the club’s 40-man roster at 40 for the offseason reserve list deadline which occurs at midnight ET tonight.

Following the confirmation of the signing of right-handed pitcher Jeremy Guthrie, the Royals designated right-handed pitcher Chris Volstad for assignment.

In addition, the Royals selected the contracts of left-handed pitchers Chris Dwyer, Donnie Joseph, John Lamb, Justin Marks and Mike Montgomery, and right-handed pitcher J.C. Gutierrez from the Omaha Storm Chasers.  To create room on the roster, the Royals designated the following players for assignment: right-handed pitcher Vin Mazzaro; left-handed pitcher Ryan Verdugo; catchers Adam Moore and Brayan Pena; infielder Clint Robinson and outfielder Derrick Robinson.

Dwyer, 24, pitched for Northwest Arkansas (AA) and Omaha (AAA) in 2012, combining on an 8-12 record with a 5.89 ERA in 26 games (25 starts).  The 6-foot-3 left-hander from Swampscott, Mass., was the Royals’ fourth-round selection in the 2009 Draft. 

The 25-year-old Joseph was acquired by the Royals along with pitcher J.C. Sulbaran from the Cincinnati Reds in exchange for Jonathan Broxton on July 31.  The left-handed reliever from Buda, Texas, went 1-0 with a 4.15 ERA in 11 outings with Omaha (AAA) following the trade, striking out 19 in 17.1 innings.  He was a combined 9-3 with a 2.33 ERA in 55 relief appearances in 2012.

Lamb, 22, made just six starts in 2012 as he continued his recovery from 2011 Tommy John surgery on his left elbow.  The 6-foot-4 southpaw from Laguna Hills, Calif., was the Royals’ fifth-round pick in 2008.

The 24-year-old Marks just completed a strong Arizona Fall League campaign in which he posted a 5-1 record with a 2.59 ERA in seven starts, recording two more wins than any other pitcher in the circuit.  Acquired from the Oakland A’s with Vin Mazzaro in exchange for David DeJesus on November 10, 2010, the Owensboro, Ky., resident pitched at three different levels of the Royals system in 2012, including going 3-5 with a 3.80 ERA in 17 starts for Double-A Northwest Arkansas where he was a Texas League All-Star.

Montgomery, 23, appeared at both Northwest Arkansas and Omaha last season and combined for a 5-12 record in 27 starts.  The club’s supplemental round selection (36th overall) in the 2008 Draft resides in Surprise, Ariz.

The 29-year-old Gutierrez made 19 appearances (four starts) in the Royals system in 2012 after inking as a minor league free agent on December 20, 2011.  The 6-foot-3 resident of Barcelona, Venezuela, has pitched in the Majors with the Astros (2007) and Diamondbacks (2009-2011), posting a 5-10 record with a 4.79 ERA in 150 games (three starts), recording 24 saves and striking out 152 in 167.1 innings.

Three KC prospects to participate in Arizona Fall League Rising Stars Game, which will air on MLB Network


Montgomery_Hosmer_Giavotella.JPGThe Arizona Fall League has announced that Royals’ minor league left-handed pitcher Mike Montgomery (left), first baseman Eric Hosmer (center) and second baseman Johnny Giavotella (right) will participate for the West Division in the league’s Rising Stars game on Saturday, November 6.

The 21-year-old Montgomery joined the Arizona Fall League after pitching for Team USA at the Pan Am Qualifying Tournament in Puerto Rico.  Montgomery is 2-1 with a 6.10 ERA in three starts for the Surprise Rafters, allowing 13 hits and seven runs in 10.1 innings, while walking two and striking out 11.

Montgomery’s teammate on Team USA, the 21-year-old Hosmer is batting .184 (9-for-49) with three doubles and 10 RBI in 11 games for the Rafters.

Giavotella, 23, is batting .385 (15-for-39) with seven doubles, one home run, six RBI and eight runs scored in nine games.  The second baseman currently ranks eighth in the league in batting after finishing second in the regular season to teammate Clint Robinson in the Texas League with a .322 mark.

The Rising Stars game, scheduled for 8 p.m. CT at Surprise Stadium, the spring home of the Royals and Texas Rangers, will be nationally televised by the MLB Network and online via MLB.com (MLB.TV).

 

New Kansas City manager Ned Yost meets with the media

Yost_Press_1.jpgYost_Press_media.jpg

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Royals Manager Ned Yost had his first press conference today in front of a standing room only contingent of media in the Kauffman Stadium interview room.

Yost has been following Kansas City’s Double-A affiliate, the Northwest Arkansas Naturals, for the last week   General Manager Dayton Moore contacted Yost about the managing job on Thursday morning.  After accepting the job, he sifted through possible lineups at his Springfield, Mo., hotel room.  Yost was awake until 3:30 this morning.  He took a two-hour nap and was up at 5:30 for the drive to Kansas City!  He doesn’t anticipate major radical changes in the lineup at this time. 

Yost_takes_Field.jpgYost described himself as a person who has a knack for motivating players.  He wants to work heavily with individual players at first.  While Trey Hillman was a hands on manager, Yost is not.  He said that Trey Hillman did a great job of getting players prepared every day and that the players have been a class act.  The club is a little shell-shocked at the moment.  Yost’s main job at the moment is to get the players to leave everything they have on the field every day.  He believes that this club is more advanced than the club that he inherited in Milwaukee and that they are not that far away from turning things around.   

Yost stated that 85 percent of his managing philosophy comes from Bobby Cox, who he worked for in Atlanta.  The other 15 percent comes from what Yost learned as Milwaukee’s manager. 

He knows that the Royals have ingredients for success in their minor league system.  Yost believes that Mike Moustakas will be a “big-time Major League player”.  He also mentioned that Milwaukee (where he managed previously) stockpiled young power hitters like Prince Fielder, while the Royals are stockpiling young power pitchers including Aaron Crow and Mike Montgomery.

Yost_Coaches.jpgYost’s philosophy on coaching is to have one coach totally in charge of the infield and one totally in charge of the outfield.  Rusty Kuntz is back as the first base coach and will coach the outfielders, a position he held in 2008 and 2009.  Yost emphasized the importance of bringing Kuntz back.  Eddie Rodriguez will shift to the third base coaching box.  He will also be the infield coach.  Rodriguez speaks fluent Spanish and Yost believes that will factor into Rodriguez’ work with infielders Alberto Callaspo and Yuniesky Betancourt.

Yost believes that this is an attractive job.  He is up for the challenge and understands the frustration of the fan base.  He has full confidence that he can do the job.  He added that George Brett (who celebrates a birthday on Saturday) called him from Italy and wished him well.

 

Mike Montgomery wins Double-A debut

Montgomery.jpgThe Royals have had a pair of pitchers by the name of Montgomery over the years…Monty Montgomery was drafted by K.C. in 1968 and pitched in the big leagues from 1971-72.  Jeff Montgomery recorded 304 saves on his way to the Royals Hall of Fame.  A third Monty has taken another step on the road to Kansas City.

Mike Montgomery made his official Double-A debut today for NW Arkansas (his first start ended in a rainout).  While he walked four, Monty struck out eight and held Springfield to a pair of hits and a run over 5.2 IP.  He picked up the win in a 3-1 game, the sixth straight overall for NW Arkansas.  Mike was promoted to NW Arkansas after a sizzling start to the year – he earned Carolina League Pitcher of the Week honors in each of the first two weeks.  Thank you to the Naturals for sending this photo from today’s game!

Kansas City farm system rated highly by MLB.com, ESPN.com

Moustakas.jpgMLB.com and ESPN.com both published rankings yesterday that touted the Royals’ farm system.  MLB.com ranked the Top 50 Prospects throughout baseball.  Third baseman Mike Moustakas (pictured at left), catcher Wil Myers, right-handed pitcher Aaron Crow and lefty Mike Montgomery all cracked the Top 50.  Kansas City was one of just three clubs with four prospects on the list (Tampa Bay and Texas were the others.)  If you do the math…50 prospects, 30 teams, that’s an average of 1.67 prospects per organization and the Royals have four!  Nine teams had one prospect on the list and four teams were not represented.  For more information on this list, read Dick Kaegel’s column at royals.com.

ESPN’s Keith Law came out with his annual ranking of farm systems from 1 to 30.  He pegged Kansas City at number 9 on this year’s list.  Law compliments the Royals on their “sheer number of arms” and states that the Royals “could easily be a top-five system in a year.”

Baseball America lists Kansas City's Top 10 Prospects


Montgomery 07-28-09--067.JPGBaseball America’s ongoing series of top prospect listings highlighted the Royals today.  Left-handed pitcher Mike Montgomery (pictured at left) was ranked as the number one Kansas City prospect by the publication. (Note: you can meet Mike at FanFest.) 

Montgomery headlined a list of six starting pitchers, including four lefties.  The article also lists the player with the best attribute in 15 different categories, from Best Slider and Best Fastball (both Aaron Crow) to Best Power Hitter (Mike Moustakas).

 

You can see all of the rankings at http://www.baseballamerica.com/today/prospects/rankings/organization-top-10-prospects/2010/269367.html

The Future: KC's Top Prospects


2008 Futures Night.JPGBaseball America
highlighted the Royals today as they continue their team-by-team summaries of top prospects. Seven pitchers and three position players make up KC’s Top 10.  Five of the players were honored at the 2008 Futures Night (above). The future, both near and long-term, appears extremely bright.

New to the Top 10 are 2008 draft picks Eric Hosmer, Mike Montgomery, and Tim Melville, as well as right-handed pitcher Danny Gutierrez and slugging first baseman Kila Ka’aihue.

We’ve compiled a few notes on each prospect. ATH had the chance to speak about the rankings with Scott Sharp, Kansas City’s Director of Minor League Operations. We’ve included his observations for some analysis you won’t get anywhere else.


Moustakas.jpg1. Mike Moustakas, 3B

The power-hitting lefty (pictured at left) recovered from a slow start to lead the Midwest League with 22 home runs in 2008 as a 19-year old.  Now 20, “Moose” became the first teenager to lead the Midwest League in homers since 1982.

Sharp note: “He has great power and ability with the bat. He’ll likely start at Wilmington.”

2. Eric Hosmer, 1B

KC’s first-round selection in 2008 makes his BA debut at #2. The 19-year old also projects as the Best Hitter for Average. Hosmer spent the fall in the Arizona Instructional League.

Sharp note: “Similar to Mike, he can hit and has power. He played in three games last year so we want to see what he does in spring training before assigning him.”

3. Dan Cortes, RHP

Cortes.JPGCortes, acquired from the White Sox in the Mike MacDougal trade, continued to shine in 2008, becoming a regular season and postseason Texas League All-Star. Still just 21, he has been ironing out some issues in the Arizona Fall League, including trying to keep the ball down in the zone more often.

Sharp note: “He met every expectation last year. He will probably start in Double-A, but could begin in Triple-A, depending on how the Omaha roster shakes out.”

4. Mike Montgomery, LHP

Montgomery, a supplemental pick in 2008, displayed great stuff as he held Arizona League opponents to a 1.69 ERA over 42.2 IP. The Royals plan to build the 19-year old’s innings slowly, as they did last year with Danny Duffy (see below).

Sharp note: “He’s a lefty with a good curveball. We’d like to see him in a full-season league. Most likely, he will start later in the year as health is paramount with our young pitchers.”

5. Tim Melville, RHP

The 2008 fourth-round selection checks in at #5. Melville, who has yet to pitch in a game as a pro, spent the fall in the Arizona Instructional League and is 19 years old as well.

Sharp note: “He’ll follow a similar path as Montgomery, though it will likely be in a short-season league. It would be unfair for him to start in a full-season league (since he didn’t appear in 2008).”

6. Danny Duffy, LHP

Duffy, a May addition to the Burlington Bees, went 6-1 with a 0.99 ERA over his last 11 starts to earn Burlington Pitcher of the Year honors. He won’t turn 20 until December 21.

Sharp note: “He proved himself at Burlington and will likely start at Wilmington. He has good mound presence and poise and can display three average Major League pitches.”

7. Danny Gutierrez, RHP

Gutierrez, 21, has risen to the top 10 after being selected in the 33rd round out of high school in 2005. BA ranks him as having the best curveball and best control among Royals farmhands.

Sharp note: “He showcases a power fastball and curveball. Danny is a good competitor who should start at Wilmington.”

8. Carlos Rosa, RHP

Rosa made his Major League debut in 2008 before finishing the year on the D.L. with a right elbow strain. The recent trades of Leo Nunez and Ramon Ramirez have left a gap in the K.C. bullpen. General Manager Dayton Moore mentioned the 24-year old as a candidate to fill one of those spots.

Sharp note: “Carlos will be in Major League camp but could begin the year at Triple-A. He’s been working on a change up.”

Kila_Home_Run.jpg9. Kila Ka’aihue, 1B

Ka’aihue’s meteoric rise through the farm system didn’t go unnoticed by Baseball America. Ka’aihue, 24, spent just a month in Omaha in 2008. He will likely start 2009 there as the Royals have several players battling for time at first base.

Sharp note: “He will likely start at Triple-A, but will be given every opportunity in Spring Training. He has power at his disposal but is also a good first baseman.”

10. Blake Wood, RHP

Wood.JPGKC’s third-round pick in 2006 sits at #10 after being ranked #4 prior to 2008. This is mostly a sign of the Royals ever-increasing strength in the system. The 23-year old Wood split 2008 between high-A Wilmington and Double-A Northwest Arkansas.

Sharp note: “Blake has a power arm and a power curve. We see him starting at Double-A. He needs to get back to the way he started there.”

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The Future's now

9-19 Minor NLBM.JPGTonight is Futures’ Night, which means Kansas City will get to take a peak at the future of the organization. With the team on a seven game roll, tonight is a great night to make it out to the stadium.

The Minor League Players of the Year will be on hand. We’re going to have one last fireworks spectacular here at the “old” Kauffman Stadium, it’s Buck Night and of course the Royals pit their surging brand of baseball against the first-place White Sox. Let’s go Around the Horn…

First
The past few years the team has given Royals fans a glimpse of what is to come and not just with September call-ups (though it’s been exciting seeing the successes of Ryan Shealy and Kila Ka’aihue and Devon Lowery this month). Futures’ Night is that chance. Names like Mike Moustakas, Dan Cortes, Derrick Robinson, and Mike Montgomery are just a few of the players we’ve mentioned in this space who will be here to meet the fans.

9-19 Minor harvest.JPGBut these players got a taste of what it means to be a Kansas City Royal earlier today. Some of the front office accompanied the players as they helped out at Harvesters and then toured the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum. The future of the Club then made its way to Kauffman to take in the Royals batting practice earlier this afternoon. It is important that these young players understand about the community they hope to play in and their short tour was designed to do just that. It’s worked in the past.

9-19 Minor tour 2.JPGAmong some of the names you might recognize from the last few years, Mike Aviles has won Minor League Player of the Year for his respective team three times (2007 at Omaha, 2004 at Wilmington and 2003 at Surprise), including the title of 2007 Minor League Player of Year last season for the entire organization. In 2006, three players who’ve seen time in the Majors this season were given the award. Zack Greinke and Alex Gordon – two of the building blocks for the team – won Pitcher and Player of the Year at Wichita and Carlos Rosa, who had three strikeouts in three innings earlier this season, was the Burlington Pitcher of the Year.

9-19 Minor work.JPGBilly Butler joins Aviles as a two-time winner of the award. He also won at two different levels. At 18, he won the Idaho Falls Player of the Year and followed that performance with the honor at High Desert as a 19-year old.

Some of the lower-level award winners over the past couple of years are already starting to help the organization win. Luis Cota and Nick Van Stratten won the award for Burlington Pitcher of the Year (2005) and Arizona Player of the Year (2006), respectively. Both were key to the success of the Burlington Bees in their run to the Midwest League Championship.

Second
Seven straight wins is the longest winning streak since 2003, 9-19 Banny.jpgwhen the Royals opened the season 9-0. The Royals are 8-2 over their last ten.

The team has clicked. Through the streak, the starter has won every game. They’ve bashed 12 homers and run their season win total to 69, matching their 2007 win total. With one more victory, they can secure their first 70-win season since going 83-79 in 2003.

After their last loss, a week ago in Cleveland, the Royals were 19 games back and eight behind Detroit. While they haven’t shaved much off their deficit to the division-leading White Sox, they are just three behind the Tigers.

Manager Trey Hillman told the media today that the strong play will get a test tonight. Matching up against the White Sox, a team who is playing for the postseason, he said the Royals will see just how well they have been playing. He hopes that they can continue their run, but doesn’t want to diminish what the Royals did in Cleveland. The Indians have been strong for most of the second half and Hillman’s boys shut them down (with the exception of the eventual Cy Young winner Cliff Lee).

Hillman sees tonight as a chance to measure his team. He believes comparing his team to the rest of the division, his main competition, 9-19 Callaspo.jpgwill give him an accurate read on where he sits. Chicago will bring a playoff atmosphere to the K and the Royals will need to stand up to the division leaders – “the pride of the division,” – if they want a shot at not finishing in last place, which is a goal the manager thinks shows something.

Short
Alberto Callaspo has hit in 12 straight, a career high…David DeJesus picked up his 70th RBI yesterday. DeJesus and Jose Guillen (95 RBI) are the first pair of Royals to knock in 70 or more runs in a season since Emil Brown (86) and Mike Sweeney (83) did it in 2005…DeJesus currently has a .402 average with runners in scoring position and is trying to become just the third Royal to end a season with a .400 RISP mark. Sweeney (.402 in 2002) and George Brett (.469 in 1980) are the only others to do it…Mark Teahen had two hits in the fourth inning yesterday, which was the first time a Royal had done that since Tony Pena, Jr. did it in the second versus St. Louis on June 14, 2007…The 500th strikeout of Zack Greinke’s career was former Royal Raul Ibanez in the first inning yesterday.

9-9 Stocking Cap.jpgThird
Tonight is the final Buck Night and Fireworks Friday. But tomorrow has plenty for the fans as well. Stocking caps and “Shirts Off Their Backs” Night will highlight the rest of the weekend’s promotions.

With the season coming to a close and Around the Horn running out of time, we here at ATH and the K want to again voice our deepest gratitude to you – the fan – for your support and for your patience with the renovation process. You will not be disappointed when we re-open on April 10, 2008 versus the Yankees.

Today’s lineup:
DeJesus LF
Aviles SS
Guillen RF
Shealy 1B
Teahen 3B
Butler DH
Callaspo 2B
Buck C
Maier CF

Bannister P

Today’s Official Game Notes.

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Minor Mashers

8-26 Hosmer.JPGThe Minor League seasons are winding down. But with the end of the season come a lot of things that shed hope on the future. Yesterday we mentioned some of the post-season awards which have already been won, but today we have two more things to celebrate down on the farm.

September is next week and that means September call-ups aren’t too far away, and with so much success going on in the minors, we’re not even going speculate what might happen, but we can talk about the positives in the system right now. To do that, let’s go Around the Horn…

First
The first moment of celebration for the organization was the debut of Eric Hosmer (wearing No. 21) last night at Idaho Falls. Hosmer was hit in his first professional at-bat – as if to say welcome to the pros Mr. No. 3 overall pick. But Hosmer showed some of what earned him his draft position, ending the night 1-for-3 with a double, a run scored, a run batted in and a walk. Hosmer’s Chukars mustered 10 hits, but could not hold off the Raptors. ATH expects he’ll be back out there again tonight as Idaho Falls finishes its season series with Ogden. The Chukars have 10 games left after tonight, a five-game series versus the Orem Owls through the weekend and then five game in Casper to face the Ghosts (we still love that Casper nickname).

8-26 Bees.jpgThe other big celebration for the organization includes another First Rounder. 2007 first round pick Mike Moustakas and his Burlington Bees are in the playoffs. They officially entered the postseason on Sunday despite losing. They are still in contention for their division title but are guaranteed a playoff spot and a postseason series starting next week in Burlington. Moustakas leads the Midwest League with 21 homers, is second in total bases, sixth in slugging and is in the top 10 in hits and runs.

While we’re mentioning high draft picks, this year’s sandwich pick is tearing up his first professional assignment. Michael Montgomery is throwing very well in Surprise for the Surprise Royals. He owns a 1.91 ERA in 37.2 innings and has 31 strikeouts to 11 walks. Opponents are hitting just .217 off him.

Finally, yesterday we devoted some space to Kila Ka’aihue, the slugging first baseman who won Double-A Texas League Player of the Year despite playing the last month in the Triple-A Pacific Coast League. The pronunciation of the Hawaiian’s name has been a question mark among several media outlets. Well, we’ve got an official ruling on how to say his name. It’s Kila (KEY-luh) Ka’aihue (Ky-uh-HOO-A). Or, you can call him K.K., which is what manager Trey Hillman and the baseball operations people call him. And for those curious on his status because he left Sunday’s game after being hit by a pitch, Ka’aihue hit a double in going 1-for-3 with a run and two walks last night. He has walked 98 times this season and struck out 62 times and owns a .462 on-base percentage with a .635 slugging (combined Double-A and Triple-A stats).

Second
Manager Trey Hillman has his rotation set – hopefully – for the remainder of the season. The current quintet is locked in to finish out. Tonight’s starter is Zack Greinke, with Brian Bannister throwing tomorrow. Kyle Davies will open the Detroit series on Friday followed by Brandon Duckworth on Saturday and last night’s starter Gil Meche draws Sunday’s assignment.

8-26 Rotation.jpgHillman said he’s comfortable with the rotation as it is. He said last night Meche just didn’t have the same he has of late and it probably wouldn’t have mattered as much if he were facing a lesser hitting team. Hillman said tonight, Greinke needs to have all of his pitches working to have success.

This group has combined to start all but 35 games for the Boys in Blue this season. Duckworth is the low man on the totem pole, making his first start last Sunday, while Gil Meche leads the team with 28 starts.

Hillman said Kip Wells is probably stretched out the most in the bullpen and would merit the emergency start if need be, but that’s without knowing exactly which players will get the September 1 call-up. Triple-A Omaha finishes its season on Monday the 1st, an off-day for the big league Royals.

Currently nine players on the O-Royals are on the 40-man roster. Of those players, five are pitchers and four have spent time in the Majors this season (Jimmy Gobble – 31 MLB games, Tyler Lumsden – no MLB experience, Neal Musser – one MLB game, Josh Newman – four MLB games and Carlos Rosa – two MLB games). Although Rosa is on the 7-day D.L. and Gobble is finishing a rehab assignment.

Double-A Northwest Arkansas, which is still in the playoff hunt, has two players on the 8-26 NWA.jpgRoyals 40-man. The lone pitcher is Julio Pimentel, who threw a scoreless inning in the 2008 MLB Futures game during the All-Star festivities. But with the Naturals entering today’s play tied for the division lead and fighting for the post-season, Around the Horn doubts the Royals will subtract any players from their roster on Sept. 1.

Two other quick Naturals notes: Pitching Coach Larry Carter was selected as the Texas League coach of the year…Veteran Minor Leaguer Cory Aldridge drove in seven yesterday with two homers.

Short
David DeJesus knocked in his 58th run last night, tying his career high set last season…10 of John Buck’s last 15 hits have been for extra bases including six doubles, a triple and three homers…Alberto Callaspo collected his first RBI since before going on the Disabled List in late June. His last RBI was June 22 versus San Francisco…From Trey Hillman: He does not expect Alex Gordon back anytime soon. He told Gordon there is no timetable because there is no precedent for how the third baseman heals from an injury of this type since he’s never had one…Also from Hillman: With Gordon out and veteran Mark Grudzielanek out, Callaspo will see a the majority of the time at second…Last word from Hillman: He thinks instant replay will be a good addition and will take pressure off of umpire crews. He respects the umpire’s way of life, living on the road for the sixth-month season and anything that can help alleviate their stress and is good for the game is a good thing in Hillman’s opinion.

Third
Yesterday we mentioned in passing the Hot Dog Derby contest. You, yes you, can sign up to be either Relish, Mustard or Ketchup.8-26 Derby.jpg If you’d like the opportunity to don the color of your condiment, you can do so right now, all you have to do is enter.

The last weekend of the season, nine lucky fans will become hot dogs and compete for the ultimate glory – winning the Kauffman Stadium Hot Dog Derby Race. September 19-21 is your chance.

Tonight’s lineup:
Aviles SS
Callaspo 2B
DeJesus LF
Guillen RF
Teahen 3B
Butler DH
Gload 1B
Olivo C
Gathright CF

Greinke P

Today’s Official Game Notes.

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