Royals’ Holland wins MLB’s top Delivery Man award for July

08/06/2013 12:36 PM

08/07/2013 8:51 AM

Royals closer Greg Holland was picked Tuesday as the Delivery Man of the Month for July after leading all pitchers with 11 saves.

So what is the Delivery Man of the Month? Don’t ask Holland.

“I’ve never even heard of it,” Holland said. “But I guess it means we had a pretty good month if a Royal is getting recognized for an award. It also says a lot about our bullpen as a whole.”

For the record, the award is determined by a panel from Major League Baseball and seeks each month to recognize one outstanding relief pitcher.

Holland, 27, converted each of his 11 save opportunities in July while striking out 15 and allowing one run in 11 innings over 11 appearances. He is currently on a run of 22 straight successful save conversions.

Three other closers received votes: Craig Kimbel of the Atlanta Braves, Grant Balfour of the Oakland A’s and Kenley Jansen of the Los Angeles Dodgers.

The MLB award comes one day after Holland was picked as the Royals’ pitcher of the month for a third straight time. He is 2-1 with a 1.67 ERA this season in 44 games with 29 saves in 31 chances.

Holland was picked last month as one of three Royals on the American League All-Star team and joins former teammate Joakim Soria as the only Royals to win the Delivery Man award.

Soria won the award in September 2008 and September 2009.

Perez improving

Royals catcher Salvy Perez told club officials he awoke Tuesday morning without a headache for the first time since suffering a concussion Saturday.

“It’s a great sign,” manager Ned Yost said. “If he feels good again (Wednesday), we’ll start light workouts. If that’s the case, we’re probably looking at seven days, which is great news.”

Tuesday marked the third day of Perez’s mandatory seven-day stay on Major League Baseball’s disabled list for concussions. He suffered the concussion when a foul ball ricocheted off his catcher’s mask.

Before Perez can play, he will need to be cleared by both team doctors and Major League Baseball.

Lough nearing return

Although he was out of the starting lineup for the second consecutive night Tuesday, Royals outfielder David Lough says he is nearing 100 percent.

Lough aggravated his right quadriceps Sunday in New York after injuring it a few days earlier.

He expects to be available to start Wednesday against the Twins.

Paulino to Omaha

Right-hander Felipe Paulino will start Thursday for AAA Omaha against visiting Sacramento.

Trying to work his way back from elbow ligament replacement surgery, Paulino allowed two runs, three hits and walked two in a rehab start for AA Northwest Arkansas on Saturday. He will take Danny Duffy’s spot in the Omaha rotation.

‘Best tools’

Salvy Perez and Eric Hosmer are the best defensive catcher and first baseman in the American League, according to the annual “best tools” survey of all major-league managers by Baseball America.

Right-hander James Shields was cited as having the AL’s best change-up and second-best pickoff move (behind New York lefty Andy Pettitte).

Closer Greg Holland finished third among AL relievers. New York’s Mariano Rivera was first, followed by Chicago’s Jesse Crain (since traded to Tampa Bay).

Reliever Kelvin Herrera finished third in the AL balloting for best fastball behind two Detroit All-Stars: Max Scherzer and Justin Verlander.

The magazine also conducted the same survey for all full-season minor leagues.

Hi-A Carolina League managers voted right-hander Kyle Zimmer, since promoted to Class AA Northwest Arkansas, as being the best pitching prospect and having the best fastball and best breaking pitch.

Northwest Arkansas shortstop Orlando Calixte was picked as the best defensive player at his position in the Texas League, and Lo-A Lexington outfielder Terrance Gore was cited as the fastest base-runner in the South Atlantic League.

Another ratings record

Kansas City can’t take its collective eyes off the red-hot Royals.

Monday night’s 13-0 blowout win against the Twins yielded yet another Fox Sports Kansas City ratings record, drawing a 10.2 rating in the KC market. The game peaked at a 12.3 rating.

It marked the second straight game to break a Royals broadcast ratings record.

On average, Royals games have drawn a 56 percent increase in viewership compared with 2012.

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