DETROIT — DETROIT Billy Butler knows its already getting All-Star wild back in Kansas City. And for him, still reveling in his first selection to the American League team, its only just starting.
By BOB DUTTON
The Kansas City Star
Its going to be crazy, Butler said, but its going to be great. Weve got a lot of people coming in a lot of family coming in. Its going to be fun. Its neat that Ill get to share it with them.
Once Butler and his wife, Katie, determined a headcount and other needs for incoming family and friends, they turned everything over to Jeff Davenport, the Royals senior director of team travel and clubhouse operations.
In short, they went with a pro.
Davvys been great in getting things arranged, Butler said. Katie is in Idaho right now with her family, but shes got a head count. She knew what we needed, and Davvy took care of it.
Manager Ned Yost and trainer Nick Kenney are also part of the AL squad. They will join Butler in transferring their necessary gear and personal items from the clubs charter jet Sunday night after returning to the Kansas City Downtown Airport from Detroit.
We normally just land, get in our truck and go home, Yost said. Were going to have to get our suitcase and get our baseball bag. Then weve got to check into the hotel.
Both All-Star teams are staying at the Intercontinental Hotel near The Plaza. Check-in includes collecting tickets for all the related All-Star events. Thereafter, the schedule becomes a whirlwind. Monday is packed with interviews, the official workout and the Home Run Derby.
The game starts at 7 p.m. Tuesday at Kauffman Stadium.
This is a very high honor, Butler said, and Im very proud to get it. Im so happy that its going to be at our ballpark. I know that fans are going to be real happy for me. Theyve always been great to me. Its just an awesome time for me.
And a little crazy.
Right-hander Luke Hochevar, saying he felt a lot better, moved around the clubhouse without a limp one day after exiting Thursdays game in Toronto after five innings because of a sprained right ankle. Asked about the likelihood that he would make his first scheduled start after the All-Star break, Hochevar said: 100 percent.
Four times four times two
When Salvy Perez collected a career-high four hits in Thursdays 9-6 victory at Toronto, he joined Brayan Peña as the latest entry in a bit of Royals trivia. Peña had four hits in an April 15 loss to Cleveland. Only three previous times in franchise history, according to the Elias Sports Bureau, have the Royals had two different catchers get four hits in the same season.
John Wathan and Darrell Porter did it in 1977 and again in 1980. The other pairing was Mike Sweeney and Sal Fasano in 1998.
Two of the highest-profile names in the Royals system drew mention in Baseball Americas weekly Prospect Hot Sheet, which seeks to identify which of the games top prospects are currently peaking.
Omaha outfielder Wil Myers ranked No. 2 on the latest list after an 11-for-28 week that included a .438 on-base percentage. He entered the weekend tied for the minor-league lead with 27 homers.
Short-season Burlington outfielder Bubba Starling didnt crack the 13-player list but drew mention in the In the team photo section after going nine for 23 with nine RBIs in six games.
All signs point to second baseman Chris Getz and outfielder Lorenzo Cain returning to active duty after the All-Star break. Both are currently on rehab assignments at Class AAA Omaha.
Getz entered the weekend four for 15, through four games into his recovery from a strained lower left leg that forced his removal from a June 17 game at St. Louis. He also missed three weeks earlier this season because of a bruised left ribcage.
Cain was five for 20, prior to Friday, through five games in what club officials hope is the final stage in his recovery from a series of mishaps.
His problems started April 10 when he suffered a strained left groin in Oakland. Cain then suffered a torn left hip flexor on April 24 while on a rehab assignment at Class AA Northwest Arkansas. More recently, he battled soreness in his legs.
Short-season Burlington came within one out of a combined no-hitter in a 5-2 victory over Bristol. Colin Rodgers worked six no-hit innings, and reliever Lincoln Rassi retired the next eight hitters.
Rassi then gave up a two-out walk in the ninth and then a two-run homer before getting the final out.
Rodgers, an 18-year-old lefty, was the Royals third-round pick in the June draft. He struck out three and retired 18 of 19 batters. The lone exception was a hit batsman with two outs in the second inning.
It was 43 years ago today July 7, 1969 that rookie Jim Rooker became the first player in Royals history to hit two homers in a game.
Thats rookie pitcher Jim Rooker.
Both homers came against Jim Kaat in a 6-5 loss to the Minnesota Twins at old Metropolitan Stadium in Bloomington, Minn. One homer went to left; the other to right. Rooker also got the loss, which dropped him to 0-6 en route to a 4-16 final record.
Rooker hit four homers that season but just three others in a 13-year career with the Pirates, Royals and Tigers. He finished his career at 103-109 with a 3.46 ERA in 319 games, including 255 starts.
Ed Kirkpatrick was the only other Royal to hit two homers in a game in 1969. He did it three times in a 19-day span in September.