New Orleans native Johnny Giavotella admits that Hurricane Isaac bearing down on his hometown was cause for slight distraction this week.
By BOB DUTTON and TOD PALMER
The Kansas City Star
Before the game (Wednesday), I was definitely concerned making sure my family and friends were taken care of, but once the game started I just cleared my head and focused on baseball, Giavotella said.
Now that the storm, which was downgraded Thursday from a tropical depression to a tropical storm, has passed New Orleans and his family remains safe, Giavotella breathed a lot easier before the series finale with the Detroit Tigers.
They are still getting a little rain and wind in parts of New Orleans, but for the most part its moving away, Giavotella said. My parents (Johnny Sr. and Cindy) lost power for a solid 24 hours, but they were prepared and had a bunch of food and drinks to be ready in case that happened.
Now, the power is back, and I think everything is fine. Luckily, there was just minimal wind damage done to the house. Nothing too serious.
Members of Ned Yosts family also had some tense moments as Isaac blew through.
Ive kept pretty good track of whats going on in New Orleans, because my brother-in-law and sister-in-law live in New Orleans, Yost said. Weve been on the phone four times a day with them, so weve got a real good idea whats going on.
Like Giavotellas loved ones, Yosts family had weathered the storm well.
Everybodys fine, he said. Its just wet and theres no power. There was some damage to their house. They lost some shingles and the boat dock is under water from the surge, but everybodys fine and is going to make it through it OK.
Outfielder Jarrod Dyson sat out Thursday with a sore throwing shoulder, but he was available as a pinch runner and pinch hitter if needed.
Normally, he throws the ball in with pretty good force, but he looped one in (during Tuesdays game) and I thought, Thats not like him, Yost said. When he came in I asked him about it.
Dyson remained in the game, but the decision was made after the game that he could benefit from rest.
Holland also on hold
After closing out the first two games of the series, closer Greg Holland was available only for an emergency appearance in the series finale with Detroit.
Hes had some high-leverage games, Yost said. Normally, hed be a guy I wouldnt be afraid to go three or four days if they were easier situations than what hes had the last two days. But probably not.
Yost indicated hed play the matchups with right-handers Kelvin Herrera and Aaron Crow or left-hander Tim Collins in a save situation.
Former groundskeeper George Toma will be inducted on Friday as the 25th member of the Royals Hall of Fame in an on-field ceremony prior to the series opener against the Minnesota Twins.
Toma started his Kansas City connection in 1957 as the head groundskeeper for the Athletics at old Municipal Stadium. He served as the Royals head groundskeeper from the clubs inaugural season in 1969 through 1995.
Toma also served as the Chiefs groundskeeper and was often consulted by the National Football League.
Surprise outfielder Alexis Rivera is one of 15 players picked to the 15-member Arizona Rookie League All-Star team.
Rivera, 18, is batting .341 with a .413 on-base percentage in 48 games with 35 runs and 34 RBIs. He was the clubs 10th-round pick in the June draft and was signed by area scout Colin Gonzalez.
Short-season Burlington (N.C.) evened its best-of-three series against Johnson City in the Appalachian League playoffs Thursday with a 4-2 win.
Bubba Starling, the Royals No. 1 draft pick in 2011, went two for three with two RBIs, including a leadoff solo home run in the seventh inning. He also had a first-inning sacrifice fly.
Daniel Stumpf picked up the win, working 3 2/3 scoreless innings, allowing just one hit in relief. He struck out four, while John Walter worked the final two innings for the save.
The decisive game will be played on Friday at Burlington.
Meanwhile, Class A Wilmington (Del.) clinched a spot in the Carolina League playoffs with a 9-3 win against Myrtle Beach (S.C.).
It was 31 years ago today Aug. 31, 1981 that Dick Howser replaced Jim Frey as the Royals manager. The club was 30-40 at the time in a strike-interrupted season but went 20-13 under Howser and reached postseason.
Howser guided the Royals to an American League West pennant in 1984 and to the World Series crown in 1985. He remained the clubs manager until diagnosed with brain cancer after the All-Star break in 1986. He died less than a year later at age 51.
Outfielder Jeff Francoeur returned Thursday after sitting for two of the last three games, and not just because it was Frenchy Quarter Thursday. He has a history of success against Tigers starter Rick Porcello, which continued with a fifth-inning single to snap a zero-for-19 skid.
Attendance watch Thursdays game: 12,997 2012 season (through 61 games): 1,379,755 2011 season (through 61 games): 1,226, 829 Ahead: 112,926 2012 average: 21,901 2011 average: 20,108
To reach Bob Dutton, send email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow his updates at twitter.com/Royals_Report.