DETROIT — Royals first baseman Eric Hosmer fondly recalls playing in the 2010 All-Star Futures Game in Anaheim, Calif,. And not merely because he had four hits in a personal tour de force against the games top prospects.
By BOB DUTTON
The Kansas City Star
It was the first time Id ever played in a big-league stadium, he said. There were like 20,000 people there. That was, definitely, the closest to being a big-leaguer that I felt (up to that time).
Basically, youre in the big leagues for a day. Thats what it feels like.
This years game is at 4 this afternoon at Kauffman Stadium and includes three Royals prospects: outfielder Wil Myers and right-handed pitchers Jake Odorizzi and Yordano Ventura. Odorizzi will start for the U.S. Team and Ventura will start for the World Team. Myers will start in right field and bat third in the U.S. lineup.
What awaits each is the stuff dreams are made of.
It was awesome to go out there and take BP on a major-league field, said third baseman Mike Moustakas, who participated in the 2010 game with Hosmer.
It was awesome. You got to wear your pants down, finally. (The Royals require their minor leagues to wear the pants up to show socks.) You got to hang out around the cage with all of the big-time guys. It was pretty cool.
Moustakas paused, laughed and continued: And then I went back to Corpus Christi (to join his Class AA Northwest Arkansas teammates).
Thats was a common regret among the eight current Royals who took part in previous games: The experience went by too fast.
What I would have liked, left fielder Alex Gordon said, is if they had let us stick around (the following day) for the batting practice and the Home Run Derby. That would have been really neat, but they put us on a plane the next morning.
Hosmer nodded when Gordon recounted his experience.
I had a 4 a.m. wakeup call the next day for a flight back to Wilmington, Del., Hosmer said. But it was a fun time. It really was.
Second baseman Yuniesky Betancourt, a Cuban defector, recalled the 2005 game here at Comerica Park in Detroit as his first time on a major-league diamond.
It was a good experience, he said. I had one base hit and a nice play up the middle.
The eight Futures alums on the Royals active roster are Betancourt (2005), Gordon (2006), Butler (2006), Luke Hochevar (2007), Alcides Escobar (2007, 2009), Hosmer (2010), Moustakas (2010) and Kelvin Herrera (2011).
It was fun going to the game with Billy, Gordon said. We were teammates (at Wichita), and I remember I had a couple of hits, but Billy won the MVP.
Butler will become the first of the eight to take part in All-Star Weekend as a big-league player. He will join the American League team tonight, as the Royals sole playing representative, at the Intercontinental Hotel.
But Gordon is also going to realize his wish: Hell finally get to watch the All-Star batting practice and the Derby and the game, too.
Im going this year as a fan, he said, because Ive never been. Im an ambassador (as spokesman for the All-Star FanFest), and Im looking forward to watching the Home Run Derby.
Manager Ned Yosts postbreak rotation plans should crystallize today after Hochevar tests his sprained right ankle in a bullpen workout. For now, the same five guys will stay in the unit.
Only the order appears at issue.
Barring complication today, Hochevar figures to follow Bruce Chen when the Royals resume play Friday with the first of three weekend games against the Chicago White Sox at Kauffman Stadium.
Luis Mendoza is the tentative choice for the third slot, followed by Jonathan Sánchez and Everett Teaford.
Right now, the way it stacks up, Yost said, were playing the division leader coming out of the break. I want our three best pitchers pitching against them.
That priority led Yost to dismiss concerns that his tentative sequence stacks three lefties in succession with Sánchez, Teaford and, once the cycle turns over, Chen.
If I could pick and choose on matchups, Yost said, I would. But weve got one off-day after the All-Star break for the rest of the month. So you line them up and let them go.
The Royals bolstered their catching depth prior to the game by claiming Adam Moore from Seattle on outright waivers and optioning him to Class AAA Omaha.
Moore, 28, battled injuries for much of the last two seasons. He missed nearly all of last season after suffering torn cartilage in the right knee in early April, and he broke a bone in his right wrist earlier this year in March while blocking the plate in spring training.
The Royals, by adding Moore, have 39 players on their 40-man organizational roster.
Seattle selected Moore in the sixth round of the 2006 draft, and he reached the majors in 2009. He has a .197 average in 234 career at-bats over parts of three seasons.
Moore spent most of this season at Class AAA Tacoma after recovering from his wrist injury. He was batting .209 with three homers and 11 RBIs in 24 games when placed on waivers. Moore batted .198 over 60 games for the Mariners in 2010.
Two times 15
Moustakas hit his 15th homer of the season, on a two-out drive in the fifth inning, and moved to within one of Butlers club-leading total.
Moustakas blast also means the Royals will hit the All-Star break with more than one player at 15 homers for the first time since 2004, when Mike Sweeney had 16 and Carlos Beltran had 15.
Beltrans 15 homers came prior to the June 24 trade that sent him to Houston.
Want to stay in the All-Star spirit once you return home after enjoying the various activities around the city? Fox Sports Kansas City kicks into a 50-hour programming marathon at 7 tonight.
Billed as Stars in KC, the marathon begins with highlight films from the 1973 All-Star Game at Royals Stadium and Bo Jacksons MVP performance in the 1989 game at Anaheim Stadium.
The marathon also includes replays of two of the Royals more memorable victories from the first half of the season: the June 14 walk-off victory over Milwaukee and the wild finish to the June 15 game at St. Louis.
It was 33 years ago today July 8, 1979 that a submarining reliever named Dan Quisenberry made his major-league debut by working 2 2/3 scoreless innings in a 4-2 loss to the Chicago White Sox at Royals Stadium.
Quisenberry pitched 10 of his 12 big-league seasons with the Royals and had 244 saves (238 with the Royals) and a 2.76 ERA in 674 career games. He was selected to three All-Star Games and was a 1998 inductee to the Royals Hall of Fame.
Cancer claimed Quisenberry, at age 45, on Sept. 30, 1998.
Escobar raised his average to .311 by going three for four. He is batting .361 (30 for 83) over his last 22 games.
Moustakas has six extra-base hits on the road trip four doubles and two homers.
Gordon is up to .274 after going two for four with a double and a walk. He is batting .329 (50 for 152) in 38 games since returning to the leadoff role.
Butler is batting .444 this season against the Tigers (12 for 27) after going three for four. He is five for nine in the first two games of the series after a one-for-14 slide in four games at Toronto.