George Kottaras didn’t want to be embarrassed when asked to participate in a cow-milking contest as part of the Rangers’ Farm and Ranch Day promotion prior to Saturday’s game.
So, he well, let him tell it.
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“We were home (earlier in the week) when I was asked about it,” he said, “and I went on YouTube to do a little research because I’d never really been around a cow before. I got some tips from the YouTube video.”
But that’s not all.
(And pay attention youngsters: the social media, by itself, won’t turn you into a champion; at least not a cow-milking champion.)
“About an hour before the game,” Kottaras said, “I went out to the outfield and met the owners of the cow.
“They gave me some little tips and pointers. I got acquainted with the cow a little bit. Rubbed the udder. It worked out great for me.”
Nothing beats hands-on experience.
Kottaras out-milked Rangers reliever Robbie Ross by a landslide. (You think it’s a coincidence that Kottaras later delivered the game’s decisive blow with a two-run double in the 10th inning? It came against Ross.)
It wasn’t just Kottaras who gained pre-game glory, either.
Infielders Chris Getz and Elliot Johnson won their egg-tossing showdown against Rangers pitchers Derek Holland and Justin Grimm.
Combine that with the 4-1 victory, and it was Saturday triple crown for the Royals at the Ballpark in Arlington.
Kottaras even got a trophy for winning the cow-milking contest, which he raised over his head and arm-pumped in celebration.
“I had to do a little hockey,” said Kottaras, a native of Scarbourough, Ontario. “A throw-back.”
Texas right-hander Nick Tepesch, a Blue Springs native, limited the Royals to one unearned run in 6⅓ innings but settled for a no-decision in his first appearance against his hometown team.
“Felt like my stuff was good,” he said. “Felt like I had pretty good command. Sinker was good. Got a lot of ground balls with it.”
A dozen ground-ball outs to be precise. He also induced two infield pop-ups and had two strikes while yielding seven singles. The only run he permitted was unearned because it scored on a passed ball.
“I just yanked it a little bit,” he said. “He (Alex Gordon) stands a little far from the plate, and I wanted to make sure I got it down and in off the plate. I just yanked it too far there.”
Lefty Danny Duffy said he felt great in making his second minor-league rehab start Thursday but expressed a need to sharpen his pitches, particularly when ahead in the count.
Duffy permitted two runs and five hits in 3⅔ innings Friday for Class AA Northwest Arkansas in a 7-2 loss to San Antonio (Padres). He threw 51 of 75 pitches for strikes and exited after a homer in the fourth.
“I think I could do better as far as putting people away,” he said. “I got five guys to 0-2 and four of them got hits.
“If I can get that curveball to bounce on 0-2 instead of throwing it in the zone, or a fastball up and in a little better, that would probably be ideal.”
Duffy worked three scoreless innings at San Antonio on May 26 in his first rehab start in his recovery from Tommy John surgery to replace a torn elbow ligament.
Minor-league rehab assignments are limited to 30 days for pitchers.
Outfielder Jarrod Dyson is expected to miss at least two more weeks as he recovers from a high right ankle sprain suffered May 15 at Los Angeles. The Royals are 3-13 since his injury.
And now Darvish
The Royals close the series Sunday by sending Ervin Santana, who has lost four straight decisions, against Rangers All-Star Yu Darvish, who is 7-2 with a 3.08 ERA In 11 games.
It will be the Royals’ second regular-season look at Darvish, who permitted three runs and three hits in seven innings last year on Sept. 3 — Labor Day — in an 8-4 victory at Kauffman Stadium.
“As I recall, I think I had to pitch in extreme heat,” he said. “I don’t really remember the team from last year, but I hope it carries over this year and I hope to pitch well against them.”
It was 90 degrees for first pitch for that game in Kansas City. The forecast calls for it to be 84 degrees with a slight breeze on Sunday here in Arlington.
The current Royals are a combined one for 18 in their career against Darvish.
After raising nearly $6,000 recently for tornado victims in Oklahoma through memorabilia auctions, the Omaha Storm Chasers found themselves in the path of another twister Friday in Oklahoma City.
The Chasers huddled in their clubhouse, which is located below ground, during the threat and, after the game was postponed, boarded a bus for the 400-mile ride to Omaha.
One of the club’s two buses had a tire blowout in Lincoln, which forced everyone into the other bus. The traveling party reached Omaha around 8:30 a.m., and opened a five-game home series Saturday night against Memphis.
It was 27 years ago Sunday — June 2, 1986 — that the Royals selected Auburn outfielder Bo Jackson in the fourth round of the new-player draft.
The Royals eventually signed Jackson to a major-league contract, an unprecedented act at the time for a drafted player, and gave him a then-record signing bonus of $1.066 million over three years.
• Rangers DH Lance Berkman was ejected in the first inning by umpire Todd Tichenor after disputing a called third strike.
• Royals catcher Adam Moore went two for three before getting replaced by George Kottaras as a pinch-hitter in the ninth inning. It was Moore’s first multi-hit game since Sept. 28, 2010, when he played for Seattle. That game also occurred at Texas.
• James Shields lowered his ERA to 2.83 after holding the Rangers to one run in seven innings but is now winless in six starts (four losses and two no-decisions).
• Eric Hosmer went three for five and is batting .333 (18 for 54) since May 19. His overall average is up to .270.