MINNEAPOLIS — The odd-man out Thursday when the Royals needed to make a roster move was second baseman Chris Getz, who is joining Class AAA Omaha for a rehab assignment after being placed on the disabled list.
By BOB DUTTON
The Kansas City Star
Getz aggravated a sprained left knee last Saturday at second base while attempting to complete a double play in a 1-0 victory at Chicago. While he appears to be improving, the Royals still opted to put him on the DL.
“He was getting better,” manager Ned Yost said, “but it was still there a little bit. There’s still some stiffness there. This gives him a chance to take a couple of more days off and get some ABs (for Omaha).”
The club needed to make a space-clearing move on its 25-man roster after acquiring outfielder Justin Maxwell on Wednesday from Houston for minor-league pitcher Kyle Smith.
The Royals waited to make the move on Getz until seeing how outfielder Lorenzo Cain responded to pregame workouts in his recovery from soreness in his left groin.
“Good,” Cain reported. “Everything went well.”
That was all the Royals needed to hear. Yost changed the lineup to insert Cain as the starting center fielder against Minnesota left-hander Scott Diamond. Maxwell shifted from center to right.
Cain responded with a catch that robbed a two-run homer from Trevor Plouffe and by going one for two with three walks in the 7-2 victory. Afterward, Cain said he experienced no problems.
“It felt pretty good,” he said. “I felt I was moving well. I was able to tag (and score) on one play, which was huge. We’ll continue the treatment on it. Hopefully, I’m not sore (on Friday). Hopefully, I’ll be back in there.”
Meanwhile, Getz is heading to Tacoma to join Omaha on a rehab assignment. His injury can be backdated to Sunday, which means he is eligible to return Aug. 12.
“I’ll get out there and should be playing soon,” he said. “It (the knee) has been progressing pretty well.”
The Royals had few personnel options after determining Cain was sufficiently healthy to play. Putting Getz on the disabled list, effectively, buys them 10 days of time.
“I was thinking about, maybe, sending a pitcher down,” Yost said, “but going into a National League series (against the Mets this weekend in New York), I can’t really do that.
“Getzie still feels it a little bit,” Yost said. “He’s not 100 percent. He’ll fly (to Tacoma), take a couple of days and do his rehab stuff. He’ll play some games there on his rehab.”
Say this about outfielder Justin Maxwell — at 6 feet 5 and 220 pounds — he adds presence to any clubhouse. He has already been likened to Cam Newton, the Carolina Panthers quarterback, by outfielder Jarrod Dyson.
The Royals acquired Maxwell on Wednesday from Houston, just prior to the non-waiver trading deadline, in order to add a right-handed bat with some power potential to their roster.
“It kind of feels like opening day,” he admitted. “I have all new teammates and a fresh start. These guys are playing great baseball, and I hope to contribute.”
Maxwell also hopes for a healthy final two months after battling a broken left hand, a concussion and even food poisoning this season while hitting just .241 with two homers and eight RBIs in 40 games for the Astros.
“I’m good now,” he said, “but I had a really rough first half...It didn’t go the way I had planned it before the season. My goal now is to try to finish strong and help this team win.”
His Royals’ debut was encouraging: He went one for three with walk and an RBI single as the starting right fielder in Thursday’s 7-2 victory over the Twins.
Asked to supply a scouting report, Maxwell said: “You’re only as strong as you think you are, so I think I’m the best player ever regardless of what happens. I play great defense. I pride myself in that.
“I have some pop. I’m trying to learn to hit for average. The main thing that separates the great players from the average major-league players is consistency. So I’m trying to find consistency within myself.
“The only way to do that is to be on the field and I hope to stay on the field for the rest of the second half.”
New York plans
Current plans call for Billy Butler to be on the bench for all three games this weekend when the Royals lose the designated hitter while playing their final interleague road series — against the Mets at Citi Field in New York.
Yost offered a simple explanation for choosing to keep Eric Hosmer, a left-handed hitter, at first base: The Mets are starting three right-handed pitchers — Dillon Gee, Carlos Torres and Jeremy Hefner.
Hosmer is also batting .308 with 10 homers and 29 RBIs in 48 games since June 7.
Third baseman Edinson Rincon, whom the Royals claimed June 6 on waivers from San Diego, started his rehab assignment Wednesday in his recovery from knee surgery.
Rincon, 22, suffered the injury in spring training and had not played this season before going hitless in two at-bats for Surprise in its 10-3 loss to the Padres in the Arizona Rookie League.
The Royals, after claiming Rincon, assigned him to Class AA Northwest Arkansas.
Rincon has a .285 average and a .355 on-base percentage with 40 homers and 249 RBIs in 484 games over six previous minor-league seasons in the Padres‘ organization.
It was 44 years ago Friday — Aug. 2, 1969 — that Royals owner Ewing Kauffman made a written commitment to Jackson County to lease an as-yet unbuilt stadium at the Truman Sports Complex for 25 years.
The agreement included a 10-year option.
Royals Stadium opened in 1973 and was renamed Kauffman Stadium in 1993 a month prior to Kauffman’s death.
The Royals agreed to a 25-year extension in 2006 as a condition of $250 million renovation project. The lease runs through 2031.
• The Royals have a 1.39 ERA (84 innings, 13 earned runs) in their nine-game winning streak.
• The Royals got their first three-game sweep in Minnesota since Aug. 4-6, 1998 — although they swept a four-game series on May 7-10, 1999.
• The sweep also ensured the Royals will win the season series for the first time since 2003. They hold a 10-3 edge with six games remaining.
• Royals starter James Shields tied a career-worst by issuing five walks, but none of them scored.
• Alex Gordon matched a career high by hitting his fifth triple. He also had five in 2012. Gordon was six for 14 in the three-game series.
• The Twins optioned pitcher Scott Diamond and outfielder Aaron Hicks to Class AAA Rochester after the game. They announced plans to recall outfielder Oswaldo Arcia and will make another move at a later date.