Since June 19, only two American League players, the Rangers Adrian Beltre and the Tigers Victor Martinez, had more hits than Royals first baseman Eric Hosmer.
By TOD PALMER
The Kansas City Star
Entering Friday, Hosmer had 60 hits in his last 43 games, including 10 doubles and 10 home runs. Hes raised his average 28 points during that span.
My swing feels good, Hosmer said. Im in a good spot. Ive developed a good routine and been consistent with it.
Before last season, Hosmer had been unaccustomed to struggles at any level of baseball, but he believes hes finally turned a corner in his big-league career.
Its been tough, but thats part of how you learn and how you develop into a player, Hosmer said. Experience helps, and thats the stuff you go through sometimes to gain experience. Its a learning process.
The game remains a grind, but Hosmers recent success combined with the Royals post-All-Star Break surge has helped make sure the game is fun again.
Its a grind either way, but were having fun, Hosmer said. Were in a race, and the games right now mean something. Everyones just trying to go out and win ballgames.
Unlucky Johnson examines struggles
At the other end of the spectrum, utility man Elliot Johnson, who started Friday at second base, cant seem to catch a break.
Johnson, who was acquired from the Rays in the James Shields trade, is only two for 45 since bludgeoning his former team during a four-game series in Tampa in mid-June.
Johnson, who went seven for 16 in that series, entered Friday mired in a zero-for-21 slump. During that span, Johnsons batting average on balls in play is an unsightly .063.
Thats fairly telling isnt it, Johnson said. I usually strike out a lot, but those have actually been down. For it to be that low is fairly indicative of whats been happening. Theres nothing you can do. What am I supposed to do? I dont have a joystick. I cant move it once I hit it.
He hit the ball hard recently, but every ball seems to find a defenders glove. Thats one reason Johnson though frustrated and eager to contribute more isnt going to panic.
Theres really nothing to change, he said. I feel good (at the plate), but the results arent there.
Still, despite the struggles at the plate, the Royals are 21-9 in games hes played since that Tampa series.
Thats good to know, but runs saved isnt as sexy a statistic as batting average, Johnson said.
All-Star catcher Salvy Perez continues to make progress as he recovers from a concussion suffered last Saturday when he took a series of foul balls off his mask.
Perez, who is on the seven-day concussion disabled list, resumed baseball activities on Friday for the first time after his Impact test showed improvement.
He ran more in the outfield and was able to shift side to side before catching a few bullpen sessions and taking some swings in the batting cage.
The earliest Perez can return to the active roster is Sunday, and theres a chance hell be ready to return by then.
Hopefully, yeah, but thats a big hope, Yost said. If he continues to progress the way hes done, I dont see it as an impossibility.
Alex Gordon got his 200th double sooner than the Royals realized.
He was recognized for the feat on Wednesday during the series finale against the Twins, but that officially was his 201st career double thanks to a scoring change.
Gordons drive to left center field in Sundays series finale against the Mets at Citi Field was originally ruled an error, but it was changed to a hit along with Lorenzo Cains pop fly into shallow right field.
More ratings records
Another Royals win, another record-breaking night for Fox Sports Kansas City as Thursday's 5-1 victory against Boston is now the highest-rated Royals game ever, breaking a previous mark that was just set on Monday (10.2).
Thursday night's game had an 11.4 rating in the KC market and peaked at 13.8, which is 128,000 households.
Fox Sports KC whose Royals broadcasts are averaging a 6.2 rating, an increase of 60 percent from last season was the top-rated channel in prime time Thursday and the most-watched TV program in Kansas City.
The five highest-rated Royals broadcasts ever have all come in the last week.
OK Joes nabs another fan
While in the nations barbecue capital, David Ortiz couldnt resist. He stopped at Oklahoma Joes for lunch Friday and ordered a slab of ribs.
Amazing, man its on another level, Ortiz said.
To reach Tod Palmer, call 816-234-4389 or send email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him at twitter.com/todpalmer.