The many boxes cluttering the Royals’ clubhouse Wednesday night pointed to imminent travel plans for an off-season that begins today, but injured pitcher Felipe Paulino isn’t going anywhere.
By BOB DUTTON
The Kansas City Star
“I know the season is over for the team,” he said, “but not for me. Everyone else might be leaving, but I’m staying here through Dec. 15 so I can work out with (physical therapist) Jeff Blum. Everything is here.”
Paulino, who turns 29 on Friday, is three months into his recovery from Tommy John surgery to replace a torn elbow ligament. That means he’s still probably two months away from picking up a ball.
For now, he’ll continue to report each morning to the clubhouse for his rehab program.
Club officials, while hoping for the best, admit they aren’t counting on Paulino returning to the rotation any time soon. The typical recovery period for Tommy John surgery is 10-14 months, but Paulino hopes to beat that average.
“I’m going to sacrifice my off-season,” he said, “to do everything I can to be healthy for next year. That’s worth it, and that’s goal right now. My family is supporting me in this. They’re going to stay here with me. That’s a good thing for me to get that support.”
But as a native Dominican who now lives in Pearland, Texas, Paulino is already bracing himself for the possibility of an early winter descending on the Heartland.
“I hate cold weather,” he said, “but I need to stay here.”
Six Royals employees received certificates of commendation in a pre-game ceremony in recognition of their quick response in helping to save the life of shooting victim Renee Bruce in the Kauffman Stadium parking lot prior to the Sept. 14 game against the Angels.
A club statement said Bruce, a parking lot attendant, is showing signs of improvement but remains in critical condition.
Club president Dan Glass presented certificates to Kevin Buford, Nancy Cubine, Simon Gray, Pat Hankins, Doug Hatch and Lora Lord.
The Royals also established a fund to defray Bruce’s medical expenses. Contributions may be made to the Renee Bruce Fund in care of Arvest Bank.
Designated hitter Billy Butler and right-hander Jeremy Guthrie were picked as the Royals’ player and pitch of the month for October in a media vote.
Butler led the American League with 39 hits from Sept. 1 through Oct. 2 while batting .336 with 24 RBIs in 31 games. He previously won the award for April and July.
Guthrie went 2-0 with a 2.36 ERA in six starts while limiting opponents to a .236 average. He also won the award for August in his first full month after arriving from Colorado in a July 20 trade for lefty Jonathan Sánchez.
Final crowd count
Wednesday’s crowd of 30,383 pushed the Royals’ season total to 1,738,859 for an average of 21,736 for 80 home dates.
That means 14,489 more fans passed through the turnstiles over last year, when the Royals drew 1,724,370 for 81 home dates.
Average attendance rose this season by an average of 448 a game over last year’s 21,288.
The Royals released nine players from their minor-league contracts: pitchers Fernando Cruz, David Middendorf, Julio Morales, Bryan Paukovits, Andrew Stueve and Ryan Wood; and catchers Travis Lane and Tyler Smith and outfielder/catcher Lance Harper.
It was 40 years ago Thursday — Oct. 4, 1972 — that the Royals beat the Texas Rangers 4-0 in the final game played at Municipal Stadium. Royals Stadium opened the following season.
Roger Nelson pitched a two-hit shutout that ended with Ted Ford lining out to center fielder Joe Keough. The crowd was 7,329, and the game took 2 hours, 10 minutes.
The final hit: Ed Kirkpatrick with a one-out single in the eighth against Texas reliever Steve Lawson. The final run was scored by Amos Otis on Lou Piniella’s two-run single in the fifth inning against Pete Broberg.
The two managers were Hall of Famer Ted Williams for the Rangers, and future Hall of Famer Bob Lemon (1976) for the Royals. The umpire at first base was Don Denkinger, who gained his own fame a little over 13 years later in that role at the new stadium.