Guthrie’s injured hand showing improvement

Royals right-hander Jeremy Guthrie should be ready to make his next scheduled start Wednesday after reporting improvement Saturday in his injured pitching hand.

“It’s good,” he said. “The swelling has gone down, and I’m able to play catch.”

The injury occurred in the first inning of Thursday’s series opener when Minnesota’s Joe Mauer lined a head-high shot back though the box. Guthrie threw up his hands for protection, and the ball clipped his fingers.

The deflection went to shortstop Alcides Escobar, who threw out Mauer at first base.

While Guthrie experienced some initial tingling in his fingers, he was able to remain in the game. He worked into the seventh inning before departing. The swelling occurred overnight.

More sore digits

Escobar is nursing a bruised left hand after being hit by a pitch Saturday by Twins starter Kyle Gibson while leading off the fifth inning.

The ball struck Escobar across the knuckles. While Escobar remained on the ground for a moment, and required an examination, he completed the game.

“Oh, man,” he said. “That hurt. But I’m good. I’ll play (Sunday).”

Perez perking up

Catcher Salvy Perez boosted his average over .306 by going two for four in Saturday’s 6-2 loss to the Twins. He is on a 10-for-22 surge over the last six games.

Perez had had just two hits in 26 at-bats before a single in the sixth inning of last Tuesday’s 4-3 loss to the Braves. That slide dropped his average to .291.

Minor details

Shortstop Hunter Dozier, the Royals’ first-round pick earlier this month, is off to a slow start at short-season Idaho Falls with just seven hits in 33 at-bats through Friday in his first nine games.

Dozier does have seven walks, which boosts his on-base percentage to .350. He has three extra-base hits, all doubles, and five RBIs.

Looking back

It was 44 years ago Sunday — June 30, 1969 —that Lou Piniella hit the first walk-off homer in franchise history.

Piniella hit a two-out drive over the left-field wall against California lefty Rudy May for a 2-1 victory at Municipal Stadium.

The Royals have 62 walk-off homers in their history. The most recent was by Salvy Perez on Sept. 15, 2012, against Ernesto Frieri in a 3-2 victory over the Angels at Kauffman Stadium.


• Will Smith’s five innings matched the second-longest relief outing in franchise history. Nate Adcock worked 51/3 innings on April 29, 2012, at Minnesota and five innings on May 16, 2012 at Baltimore.

• Third baseman Mike Moustakas went two for four and is batting .318 (14 for 35) over his last nine games.

• First baseman Eric Hosmer has five multihit performances in his last nine games. He’s batting .361 over that span (13 for 36).