Royals second baseman Chris Getz is back to a full-go just two days after dodging a serious injury to his left knee when his leg buckled Saturday on the outfield grass in pursuit of a ground ball.
“I went through a lower-body workout,” Getz said before Monday’s series opener against the Baltimore Orioles at Kauffman Stadium. “I also did some running and agility stuff. I hit live off (Felipe) Paulino.”
Getz joined Elliot Johnson and George Kottaras for early batting practice against Paulino, who is battling through a sore shoulder in his recovery from Tommy John surgery to replace an elbow ligament.
Manager Ned Yost confirmed that Getz “absolutely” could have started Monday’s game. Yost said he opted for veteran Miguel Tejada “because of match-ups” against Orioles starter Scott Feldman.
Tejada is four for 14 with a homer in his career against Feldman, while Getz is just one for 11.
Getz initially feared a major injury when his leg buckled while pursuing a grounder by Prince Fielder in the fifth inning of Saturday’s 6-5 victory over the Tigers.
“Well, first of all, on turf, I wouldn’t have lost (my footing) on the push-off,” Getz said. “But when I did land on it, it gave at the last minute on the grass. That saved me.
“Because if it hadn’t given at all, it would have been curtains. So I dodged a bullet.”
Paulino experienced no shoulder pain during or after throwing 25 pitches of live batting practice prior to Monday’s game.
Barring overnight setbacks, his next step is to pitch two simulated innings prior to Thursday’s series finale against the Orioles. If that goes well, Paulino will pitch three simulated innings on July 30.
Yost said it hasn’t been determined whether Paulino’s three-inning workout will be at Minnesota, where the Royals will be opening a three-game series, or at the club’s year-round facility in Surprise, Ariz.
Paulino, 29, underwent surgery July 3, 2012, to replace the ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow — a procedure commonly known as Tommy John surgery.
He made one rehab start on June 11 for Class AA Northwest Arkansas before tightness in his lower back prompted the Royals to cancel his rehab assignment and bring him to Kansas City for further examination.
Paulino experienced shoulder soreness in subsequent workouts, which further delayed his recovery.
Veteran infielder Miguel Tejada paused as he took the field for batting practice as the stadium’s public-address system pumped out its first song of the day.
Tejada cocked his head for a moment to listen, then pumped his arms over his head as he ran onto the field while yelling, “That’s my song! That’s my song!”
And the song?
“As Good As I Once Was,” by Toby Keith.
Defensive streaks snapped
The Royals’ bid to set two franchise records for errorless defense ended when third baseman Mike Moustakas failed to handle Manny Machado’s hard grounder in the first inning against the Orioles on Monday night.
That ended the Royals’ streaks at 11 consecutive errorless games, which matched a franchise record, and 101 consecutive errorless innings, which fell five innings short of the franchise record.
The Royals previously had 11-game errorless streaks during May 31-June 11, 1997 and May 10-21, 2011.
Those two streaks also contributed to two streaks of 106 consecutive errorless innings: May 30-June 13, 1997, and May 8-22, 2011.
Shields joins dismal club
James Shields is 1-4 through 10 starts this season at Kauffman Stadium, and the stat mavens at Elias Sports Bureau report that puts him in a rare group of pitchers in the Royals’ 45-year history.
Only four other pitchers in franchise history managed just one victory in their first 10 home starts in their first year with the club.
Bill Butler and Roger Nelson were, like Shields, 1-4 in their first 10 home starts in 1969, when the Royals were an expansion franchise playing at Municipal Stadium.
Glendon Rusch was 0-6 through 10 home starts as a rookie in 1997, and veteran Scott Elarton was 1-5 in his first 10 home starts in 2006. Like Shields, Elarton was the club’s starter on opening day.
Short-season Burlington second baseman Ramon Torres was picked as the player of the week in the Appalachian League after batting .382 (13 for 34) in nine games from July 15-21.
Torres, 20, is a switch-hitter who is batting .317 overall in 28 games for Burlington.
The Royals signed Torres, a Dominican, as a 16-year-old in 2009. He was the organization’s Dominican Academy player of the year in 2011 and batted .316 last season in 49 games for Surprise in the Arizona Rookie League.
The Royals traded Class A Wilmington shortstop Alex McClure to Miami for outfielder Gorkys Hernandez, who was assigned to Class AAA Omaha.
Hernandez, 25, is in his eighth minor-league season and provides organizational depth. He was batting .275 with a .330 on-base percentage in 90 games at Class AAA New Orleans.
McClure, 24, was batting .222 with a .260 OBP this season while splitting time at Class AA Northwest Arkansas and Wilmington. He is a skilled defensive player whose bat has yet to develop in four pro seasons.
The Royals deemed McClure expendable because their development pipeline already includes Raul Adalberto Mondesi, Orlando Calixte, Humberto Arteaga, Jack Lopez and Hunter Dozier.
Hernandez spent 70 games last season in the big leagues and batted .192 as a reserve for the Marlins and Pittsburgh.
It was 34 years ago today Tuesday — July 23, 1979 —that Dan Quisenberry earned the first of his 244 career saves (238 with the Royals) by getting the final out in a 5-4 victory at Texas.
Quisenberry, who blew a save the previous day, retired Billy Sample on a grounder to third with a runner at first. Quisenberry was 3-2 with a 3.15 ERA in 32 appearances as a rookie with five saves in 10 chances.
The Royals inducted Quisenberry into their Hall of Fame in 1998 shortly before his death, at age 45, from cancer.