Its a long season.
By PETE GRATHOFF and BOB DUTTON
The Kansas City Star
Six months of playing games in a variety of climates and crisscrossing the country can take its toll when the calendar turns to September.
You have to learn your threshold to be able to play with certain injuries, Royals manager Ned Yost said, because youre not always going to feel good.
How players deal with injuries is something teams must consider when building a roster. In the Royals case, two center fielders are hurt.
Lorenzo Cain, who started the season, played five games and then missed 78 games because of left groin strain and a torn left hip flexor. He returned in July but strained his right hamstring on a diving catch attempt on Thursday. Jarrod Dyson, who replaced Cain earlier in the year, is battling a strained right lat muscle in his back.
Outfield depth will be a topic during off-season discussions.
You better have guys on your roster who are durable and guys who can make it through a 162-game season, Yost said. Guys who are injury prone or have a history of being injured, youve got to know that. You have to make decisions based around it in terms of your depth.
Dyson ranks second on the Royals in stolen bases with 26, while Cain has hit seven homers in 61 games, which projects to 19 in a full season.
Talent doesnt do you a lot of good if youre not on the field, Yost said. Thats a big thing you have to consider.
Looming roster decisions
Club officials appear mixed on whether to promote right-hander Jake Odorizzi to the majors now that Class AAA Omahas season is over. The debate stems primarily on the merits of extending his seasons workload.
Odorizzi, 22, is generally viewed as the organizations top pitching prospect and must be added to the 40-man roster before the November deadline to avoid being eligible for selection in the Rule 5 draft.
Omahas bid to repeat as Pacific Coast League champions ended in Saturdays 8-2 loss to Reno, a Diamondbacks affiliate. Reno won the best-of-five series in four games.
Odorizzi worked 156 innings this season, counting two postseason starts, over 28 games. Last year, he pitched 147 innings in 27 starts for Class A Wilmington and Class AA Northwest Arkansas.
Omaha has seven players currently on the 40-man roster who are now candidates for promotion: pitchers Nate Adcock, Tommy Hottovy, and Ryan Verdugo; catcher Adam Moore; utilityman Irving Falu, first baseman/designated hitter Clint Robinson and outfielder Derrick Robinson.
Salvy Perezs walk-off homer was the first in his six-year professional career at any level. It was the second of the year for the Royals, and the 62nd in franchise history. Billy Butler had a walk-off blast July 18 in an 8-7 victory over Seattle.
Perezs homer also provided the Royals with their sixth walk-off victory of the season.
Armed Forces Day
To mark Armed Forces Day at Kauffman Stadium, the Royals held a pregame ceremony and gave out camouflage hats. It meant a lot to Yost.
Its a great way to I dont want to say thank you because should be saying thank you every single day, he said. But its a nice way to recognize our armed forces and a nice way to pay tribute to them.
Flags at half-staff
The Royals kept the flags at half-staff Saturday to honor those killed earlier this week in the attack on the U.S. Consulate in Libya. Other ballparks throughout the majors conducted the same observance.
The observance was unrelated to Fridays shooting in the parking lot at Kauffman Stadium.
It was 33 years ago Sunday Sept. 16, 1979 that Willie Wilson hit his fifth inside-the-park homer of the season when he circled the bases on a drive to left-center field in the third inning of a 6-3 loss to Seattle at then-Royals Stadium.
That remains a franchise record.
Wilson hit 13 inside-the-park homers for the Royals from 1976-90. That also is a franchise record. There have been 94 inside-the-park sprints in club history; the most recent was by David DeJesus on April 23, 2010 against Minnesota.
• Shortstop Alcides Escobar extended his hitting streak to 11 games by going two for four. Escobar is batting .347 in the streak (11 for 49).
• Angels first baseman Albert Pujols was hitless in four at-bats, which dropped him to four-for-24 with no homers and two RBIs this season in seven games against the Royals. From 2001-11 with the Cardinals, Pujols batted .379 against the Royals with 16 homers and 53 RBIs in 51 games.
• The Royals are 8-0 in Jeremy Guthries last eight starts, although he has just four victories in addition to four no-decisions.
• The Royals comeback victory prevented Zack Greinke from winning his sixth straight start.
• Luke Hochevar turned 29 on Saturday. He shares a birthday with actor Tommy Lee Jones (66), Hall of Fame pitcher Gaylord Perry (74), Seattle Seahawks coach Pete Carroll (61), Hall of Fame quarterback Dan Marino (51) and Great Britains Prince Harry (28).
• Sundays starter, Will Smith, was drafted by the Angels (seventh round in 2007). He was acquired by the Royals along with pitcher Sean OSullivan in exchange for Alberto Callaspo on July 22, 2010.
• A reminder: Sundays series finale will be carried by Fox Sports Kansas City, which added the game to meet contractual obligations after an Aug. 31 game against Minnesota was rained out.
To reach Bob Dutton, call 816-234-4352 or send email to email@example.com. Follow him at twitter.com/Royals_Report.