A case of strep throat will knock Luis Mendoza out of a scheduled start tonight and force the Royals to shuffle their rotation when their three-game series continues tonight against the Chicago White Sox at Kauffman Stadium.
By BOB DUTTON
The Kansas City Star
Lefty Bruce Chen and right-hander Jeremy Guthrie will each shift forward by one day, to tonight and Thursday, while Mendoza recovers. Chen and Guthrie will each be working on standard rest because of Mondays open date in the schedule.
We had to send (Mendoza) to the doctor today, manager Ned Yost said. He came in, and his throat was all infected. We think its strep throat.
Mendoza could return as soon as Fridays series opener against Cleveland or he could be skipped for one turn through the rotation. Manager Ned Yost said lefty Will Smith and right-hander Jake Odorizzi will likely start this weekend against the Indians.
Odorizzi arrived Sunday one day after Class AAA Omaha completed its season. He is generally viewed as the organizations top pitching prospect, but Yost remains reluctant to have him make his first big-league start against a contender, i.e., Chicago or Detroit.
We have to put our best lineup out there, Yost said. If you were a team that is contending, would you want a rookie pitcher making his first major-league start pitching against you? Yeah. But for the team theyre contending against, its not fair.
Mendoza, 28, began feeling sick Monday night and was sent home by club officials prior to Tuesdays series opener against the White Sox. His illness will prevent a fourth match-up this season against Chicago lefty Chris Sale.
If Mendoza feels good Friday, Yost said, hell take it. We had Will slotted for Saturday, and Odorizzi for Sunday. If (Mendoza) doesnt (feel good), well move Will up and can move Odorizzi up. Weve got to wait and see.
Chen and Guthrie have each experienced success against the White Sox. Chen is 5-2 in nine starts against them over the last two seasons; Guthrie has not allowed an earned run in 23 2/3 innings over three starts against them since joining the Royals.
Left fielder Alex Gordon is the Royals nominee for the Roberto Clemente Award, which seeks to recognize the player who best combines on-field achievement with community involvement.
Gordon immediately pointed to his wife, Jamie, as the one deserving of recognition.
It means a lot, he said. I like going out there and helping out, but its really a wife-and-a husband deal. She doesnt get much of the credit, but she does a lot of the work.
No Royals player has ever won the award, which began in 1971 as a memorial to Clemente, a Hall of Fame outfielder who perished in a plane crash while on a humanitarian mission to deliver supplies to earthquake victims in Nicaragua.
The winner will be announced at the World Series and is determined by a selection panel. Fans get one vote in the panels balloting through an online vote that runs through Oct. 14 at MLB.com/ClementeAward.
Last years recipient was Boston designated hitter David Ortiz.
Omaha manager Mike Jirschele and pitching coach Doug Henry will serve out the season on the big-league staff. Henry will serve as the bullpen coach, while Jirschele will be an extra bench coach.
Henry is a candidate to be the permanent replacement for Steve Foster, who shifted roles recently to become the organizations minor-league pitching coordinator. He just completed his third year as Omahas pitching coach.
Class AA Northwest Arkansas pitching coach Larry Carter, also a candidate for the full-time job, filled in as the bullpen coach for 12 games through Sunday.
Major League rules permit clubs to add one coach to their staff in September. Darryl Kennedy, who just finished his third season as manager at Surprise in the Arizona Rookie League, filled that role through Sunday.
Jirschele just completed his 10th season as Omahas manager and is in his 21st season with the organization. Omahas season ended last Saturday with a loss to Reno, a Diamondbacks affiliate, in the Pacific Coast League championship series.
Perez not sitting
Salvy Perez appears likely to be the starting catcher tonight for Chen for a second straight game. Backup Brayan Peña started 29 of Chens first 30 starts.
Im not taking Sals bat out of the lineup against the left-hander (Sale), Yost said. I dont like taking Sals bat out of the lineup when hes swinging the bat like he is now.
Peña has not started a game since Chens start on Sept. 8 in Chicago.
The Royals eight affiliates finished the season a combined 415-413 record and with no championships for the second time in five years. Class AAA Omaha and short-season Burlington lost the championship series in their leagues.
The final records: Omaha 83-61; Class AA Northwest Arkansas 58-81; Class A Wilmington 66-74; Class A Kane County 68-72; short-season Idaho Falls 35-41; Burlington 41-25; Rookie Surprise 23-32; Dominican Academy 41-27.
It was 32 years ago Wednesday Sept. 19, 1980 that George Brett raised his average to .400 by going two for four in a 13-3 victory over Oakland at then-Royals Stadium.
It marked the latest date in a season that anyone was batting .400 since Boston outfielder Ted Williams finished the 1941 season at .406.
Brett went zero for four in Sept. 20, which dropped his average to .396. That started a 14-for-46 run over his final 13 games (.304) that dropped his final average to .390.
• The Gloves for Kids charity event Monday raised more than $6,800 in pledges for new baseball and softball equipment for disadvantaged youth. Nine players, manager Ned Yost and Sluggerrr met more than 250 fans at the event.
• Luke Hochevars first strikeout Alex Rios in the second inning established a career high. It was his 129th of the season. He had 128 in 2011.
• The Royals are 25-23 in one-run games. Six of their last seven losses have been by one run. The other was by two runs.
• Lefty reliever Francisley Bueno stranded three runners after replacing Louis Coleman with two outs in the eighth inning. Bueno has stranded all 11 of his inherited runners this season.
• The game, which lasted just 2 hours, 12 minutes, was the shortest of the year for the Royals.