After one month, Royals manager Ned Yost has apparently seen enough. Royals center fielder Lorenzo Cain is white-hot, and Yost gave a weighty endorsement to Cain’s production after a 6-5 victory over the White Sox on Sunday afternoon.
By RUSTIN DODD
The Kansas City Star
“It’s still really, really early,” Yost said. “But I think you could start considering him for the All-Star team. He’s playing great defense (and) just swinging the bat really well.”
Indeed. Cain finished three for five on Sunday, adding a run scored and his fourth stolen base of the season. The three hits raised Cain’s team-leading batting average to .341, good enough for fourth in the American League.
All the production comes one year after Cain couldn’t stay on the field. Acquired by the Royals in a December 2010 deal that sent Zack Greinke to the Brewers, Cain was limited to 61 games last season while dealing with an assortment of leg ailments.
“We’re gonna try to avoid all that injury talk,” Cain said, smiling. “But, hey, I know what I bring to the table. I’m just trying to go out and prove it and do it each and every night.”
And for now, despite his manager’s endorsement, Cain would prefer to ignore any talk of All-Star games or personal accolades.
“I guess it feels good to be considered,” Cain said. “But I don’t really worry about stuff like that. I just go out and play each and every day and try to find ways to help the team win ballgames.”
Kottaras walks the walk
When former Red Sox standout Kevin Youkilis was coming up through the Boston organization, he earned a well-worn nickname based on his ability to get on base: The Greek God of Walks.
Royals backup catcher George Kottaras, who proudly has a Greek flag hanging above his locker, may not be at that level yet. But he’s certainly making a convincing case in limited playing time. (The “Greek demigod of Walks?)
Kottaras came off the bench on Sunday and drew two walks in the late innings, setting up two scoring rallies. He now has four walks (and two hits) in 13 plate appearances.
“It’s a talent,” Royals designated hitter Billy Butler said. “And to be able to come in and be patient the way he is … George can swing the bat well. There’s other teams he could be starting for behind the plate, and we’re happy to have him back there.
“He’s a big part of this team.”
Shields vs. Sale rematch
A lingering back injury will cause White Sox right-hander Jake Peavy to miss his scheduled start Monday, setting up a intriguing pitching matchup in the series finale.
White Sox ace Chris Sale will get the call, facing off against Royals anchor James Shields. You may recall that Sale outdueled Shields in a 1-0 White Sox victory on opening day, holding the Royals scoreless in 72/3 innings. Shields allowed one run in six innings.
Dressed to the Nines
It was a grassroots fan movement — and not an official, club-sponsored event — but a small crowd of fans showed up to Sunday’s game in dapper suits and dresses, a tribute to the way fans used to dress for Kansas City Monarchs and other Negro League games. The event, dubbed as “Dressed to the Nines” day, included support from the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum and museum president Bob Kendrick.
• The Royals are now 3-0 in extra-inning games.
• Reliever Luke Hochevar has worked 92/3 scoreless frames and struck out 12 over his last six outings.
• Miguel Tejada finished two for three while making his first start of the year at second.