July 20, 2013

Royals’ Chris Getz leaves game with knee sprain

In just his second game back since being recalled from Omaha, second baseman Chris Getz injured his left knee and left Saturday's game in the fifth inning. The Royals described it as a medial knee sprain and said he would be re-evaluated Sunday.

In just his second game back since being recalled from Omaha, second baseman Chris Getz injured his left knee and left Saturday's game in the fifth inning. The Royals described it as a medial knee sprain and said he would be re-evaluated Sunday.

It happened as he tried to field a Prince Fielder grounder. As Getz attempted to shift his body and make the play, he fell and caught his cleat in the outfield grass. Getz said the best way he could describe the play was "awkward."

"The ball went in kind of a different direction than where I anticipated," he said. "I tried to go back for it, and my body was just in a weird position. I kind of fell -- my cleat was caught in the ground. The best word I can come up with is awkward.

"Kind of tweaked the knee a little bit, but all the tests have been positive so far. Time will tell, but for the most part, I'm pretty happy for where it's at."

Manager Ned Yost didn't think it was a serious injury.

"I think he’s fine," Yost said. "It’s like a slight strain in there. He went to plant, and he slipped. His leg bent back. But I don’t think it’s a DL situation. It’s a day-to-day situation. We’ll see how he is (Sunday), but (trainer) Nick (Kenney) is not too concerned about it. I just asked Chris how he felt, and he said he feels OK."

It initially appeared that Getz would stay in the game -- he was up and walking around after being examined on the field. He said he really wasn't in pain and thought he could play.

"I was like, 'I think I'm all right,' but they had already kind of made the decision that we were going to re-evaluate and see where the knee's at. It was just really awkward."

Elliot Johnson replaced Getz at second.

Before the injury, Getz was 0 for 2 on the night. He grounded into a force out in the fourth inning, scoring Lorenzo Cain.

Cain in a groove with glove

Royals center fielder Lorenzo Cain is on a hot streak — in the field.

After last weekend’s slick glove work in Cleveland, Cain had another stellar night Friday and has seemed to track down nearly everything hit near him.

“When guys continue to hit balls to you, I feel like it’s just like hitting, you can get in a groove sometimes,” Cain said. “You feel like you can get to everything, you can catch everything.”

Advanced metrics show that Cain is the best fielding center fielder in the American League.

Cain leads the AL by Baseball Reference's Rfield calculation, which takes into account the value in runs of all aspects of fielding. Cain’s defense is worth 15 runs, well ahead of Texas' Leonys Martin (10). Milwaukee's Carlos Gomez (24) leads all of baseball.

FanGraphs' calculations also show Cain as the AL's best defensive center fielder. Cain's Ultimate Zone Rating is 10.4, ahead of Toronto’s Colby Rasmus (10.0). Arizona’s A.J. Pollock (13.2) leads baseball in that category, which attempts to quantify how many runs a player saved (or allowed) through his fielding prowess.

Part of the formula for that is a metric called ARM (runs saved by preventing runners to advance), and Cain’s 3.6 is the best among all center fielders in the majors.

Royals manager Ned Yost was impressed to hear of Cain’s metrics, but he wasn’t surprised.

“Didn’t you see the game (Friday) night?” Yost asked. “How much more do you need to see?”

The trickle-down effect of Cain’s defensive prowess is with the Royals’ pitchers. It gives them confidence to throw all their pitches.

“You don’t feel too nervous throwing pitches up in the zone,” starter Wade Davis said. “You’re not afraid of getting that pop-up, especially when you’ve got some guys in center field who can run it down.

“It definitely helps a lot.”

Paulino feeling good

Rehabbing right-hander Felipe Paulino said he felt fine Saturday, one day after a bullpen workout to test a sore shoulder that interrupted his recovery from Tommy John surgery on his elbow.

“It was successful,” Paulino reported. “Everything was great. I threw like 45 pitches. ... I feel all right, not great, but all right. We will have a simulated game on Monday and see what’s after that.”

Paulino, who characterized the shoulder problem as inflammation, expects to throw two innings on Monday.

Perez is good, too

Catcher Salvy Perez said he had no problems with the bruised right shin he had been nursing, or with any tightness in his calf.

“It’s fine,” Perez said. “No problem.”

Aware of Miggy

Yost said he’s well aware of when Tigers third baseman Miguel Cabrera is due to come to bat. Cabrera, who won the Triple Crown last year, was on deck Friday when the final out was made in the Royals’ 1-0 win.

“We were going the whole way in the eighth inning trying to do everything we can do to avoid getting him up in the ninth inning,” Yost said. “Sometimes it just doesn’t work out, but when it did work out the way it worked out, it was great.”

Cabrera, who was last year’s MVP, entered Saturday’s game leading the league in average (.362) and RBIs (95) and was second in home runs (30).

Zimmer’s Natural debut

Kyle Zimmer, the Royals’ top pick in last year’s draft, made his first start for Class AA Northwest Arkansas, following his promotion from Class A Wilmington.

Zimmer threw six shutout innings, allowing just three hits with seven strikeouts and one walk. He hit a batter and of his 86 pitches, 56 were for strikes. In his last 31 innings, Zimmer has 42 strikeouts.


• Friday’s game was the 33rd one-run decision for the Royals this season, matching the Mets and Diamondbacks for the second-most in baseball. The White Sox (34) had the most.

• First baseman Eric Hosmer leads the American League, batting .396 in the seventh inning or later. Of his 40 RBIs, 22 have come after the sixth inning.

• Today’s starter, James Shields, is 5-1 in 11 career games against Detroit with a 3.53 ERA.

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