Outfielder Lorenzo Cain can’t shake the injury bug.
The Royals placed Cain on the 15-day disabled list before Saturday’s game against the Boston Red Sox because of a strained left oblique muscle suffered Friday in batting practice.
“On his first swing, he said he felt a ‘little something,’” manager Ned Yost said. “Just a little discomfort. He took one swing, felt it; took another swing, it got worse; his third swing, he swung and missed and walked out of the cage.”
The Royals also designated left-handed reliever Francisley Bueno for assignment one day after he pitched 2 1/3 scoreless innings in a 9-6 victory over the Red Sox. Bueno was the winning pitcher.
The Royals filled the two vacancies by recalling two left-handed relievers from Class AAA Omaha: Will Smith and Donnie Joseph. The stay, for at least one of them, is likely to be brief.
“(Wade) Davis will be back (Sunday),” Yost said. “So somebody has to go. It’s just to get us through today. Bueno threw 2 1/3. So we brought Donnie up to give us protection short, and Will up to go long.”
The injury to Cain magnifies the value of the July 31 deal to acquire outfielder Justin Maxwell from Houston. Maxwell entered Saturday with eight hits, including three homers, in 17 at-bats over seven games.
Maxwell started Saturday in right field and figures to get regular playing time as the club’s only right-handed-hitting outfielder.
“I still need another right-handed bat,” Yost said. “There’s just not one there right now. We’ll just work through it.”
A magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) exam late Friday confirmed Cain’s injury to be a strained oblique. Recovery time on such injuries can vary, but six weeks is not unusual.
The injury continues a disturbing recent career trend.
Various injuries last year limited Cain to 61 big-league games, but he remained healthy this season until now. He heads to the disabled list with four homers, 43 RBIs and a .261 average in 96 games.
Bueno, 32, had a 2.93 ERA in 31 games at Omaha prior his Thursday arrival. He appeared in just the one game before Saturday’s move.
The Royals have 10 days to reach a resolution on Bueno either through a trade, by releasing him or sending him through waivers. If he clears waivers, he can, if willing, be outrighted to a minor-league club.
Optimistic on Perez
The Royals are cautiously optimistic that catcher Salvy Perez will be cleared for active duty before Sunday’s series finale against the Red Sox at Kauffman Stadium.
“There’s a great chance that Salvy’s gonna come off (Sunday),” Yost said. “Again, we don’t know, we’re keeping our fingers crossed, hoping that all the paperwork gets back.”
Perez continues to show notable progress in his recovery from a concussion, which was diagnosed after the Aug. 3 victory over the Mets in New York.
Perez said he had no lingering symptoms from the concussion and “feels good.” As to whether he would play Sunday: “I don’t know. We’ll see. We're hoping," he said.
He caught a bullpen workout by rehabbing right-hander Felipe Paulino prior to Saturday’s game. Perez then took a regular turn in batting practice for the first time since the injury.
The Royals put Perez on the seven-day disabled list, which is limited to players diagnosed with concussions, prior to their Aug. 4 victory over the Mets.
Players diagnosed with concussions must sit out at least seven days, pass a series of standardized tests and be cleared by a club physician and an MLB-approved independent physician prior to return to the roster.
Right-hander Wade Davis, as noted earlier, is scheduled to return Sunday to the 25-man roster after spending seven days, the maximum allowable limit, on family emergency leave following the death of his stepbrother.
Activating Davis will require a corresponding roster move, which presumably will mean either Joseph or Smith will be optioned back to Omaha.
Yost said Davis will rejoin the rotation Monday when the Royals open a three-game series against Miami at Kauffman Stadium.
“He’s been working out,” Yost said. “He’s been throwing. He’s ready. He’s in a pretty good frame of mind.”
Davis is 5-9 with a 5.42 ERA in 21 starts.
Tejada leaves game with calf tightness
Second baseman Miguel Tejada, who went one for three with an RBI, left in the seventh inning while diving for a Mike Carp ground ball. Tejada experienced right calf tightness on the play and was replaced by Elliot Johnson.
"When I dove, I felt my calf pull," Tejada said. "They are going to wait until tomorrow to evaluate me."
Greg Holland matched Jeff Montgomery for the second-longest consecutive saves streak in franchise history at 24 when he closed out Friday’s 9-6 victory over the Red Sox.
Holland’s 24th straight save came exactly 20 years after Montgomery pushed his streak to 24 by closing out a 7-6 victory at Seattle.
Montgomery’s run ended four days later when he allowed three runs in the eighth inning of a 5-4 loss at Chicago. (That save that night went to a future Royal — Roberto Hernandez, who worked a perfect ninth inning.)
Joakim Soria holds the Royals’ all-time record for consecutive saves at 36 in a row in 2010.
Holland is 31 for 33 overall in saves opportunities. The club record for saves in a season is 45, held jointly by Dan Quisenberry (1983) and Montgomery (1993).
Moustakas wanted triple play...
Third baseman Mike Moustakas made a pivotal play during the eighth inning of Friday’s come-from-behind win. After Tim Collins opened the inning by walking Jacoby Ellsbury and Shane Victorino, Moustakas turned a double play on a sharp grounder from Dustin Pedroia with force outs at third and second.
Even though the routine play is 5-3, Moustakas said he had planned to go 5-4 and really wanted a triple play.
“I was playing it out in my head and knew if he was gonna hit it right at me, I was gonna step on third and throw to Miggy,” he said.
“I kinda wanted the triple play, but Dustin runs down the line hard every time he hits the ball. I was just trying to help us out. Tim was able to get a good ground ball right at me.”
The Royals and Collins got out of the inning when David Ortiz hit a popup to Moustakas.
First time in 24 years
The Royals entered Saturday’s game on their first 15-2 run since doing so from Aug. 15 to Sept. 1, 1989. That 15-2 surge ended in a 6-3 loss at Texas in a game started by Nolan Ryan.
Class AAA right-hander Yordano Ventura continued his recent surge Friday night by pitching six scoreless innings in a 9-4 victory over Sacramento.
Ventura, 22, permitted four hits while striking out nine and walking one. He has allowed three earned runs in 20 innings over four starts since skipping a turn in the rotation due to a minor hamstring injury.
Generally viewed as the organization’s most advanced pitching prospect, Ventura is 7-5 with a 2.96 ERA while splitting 22 games at Omaha and Class AA Northwest Arkansas.
Ventura looms as a likely September promotion candidate because he must be added this winter to the 40-man roster to prevent him from being exposed to selection in the Rule 5 draft.
Second baseman Johnny Giavotella is tentatively scheduled to return Sunday to the Omaha lineup for the first time being sidelined July 23 by a lingering hip injury.
Giavotella was optioned to Omaha on July 18 after going seven for 34 in 10 games. He went one for six in two games for the Storm Chasers before going on the Pacific Coast League disabled list.
Saturday night's game was a sellout, with an announced attendance of 38,742. That was the largest August attendance since 39,927 on Aug. 15, 2003, against the Twins.
Guthrie set a career high with 123 pitches. His previous high was 120, which came in 2008 while he was with the Orioles.
Eric Hosmer, who went two for five against the Red Sox, picked up his fifth multi-hit game of the homestand.
Tejada's stolen base was his first since 2011.
It was 43 years ago Saturday — Aug. 10, 1970 — that the Royals Baseball Academy opened its doors in Sarasota, Fla.
The $1.5 million facility on 121 acres was an innovation conceived by owner Ewing Kauffman in hopes of transforming athletes with raw high-end skills into accomplished ballplayers.
The first class had 42 players, none of which had been drafted or previously signed by major-league clubs. Eight had never previously played baseball.
Escalating costs prompted the Royals to close the facility in May 1974.