The Royals activated outfielder Lorenzo Cain from the disabled list prior to Wednesday’s game against Seattle at Kauffman Stadium, although his duty is likely to be limited initially to pinch-running and defense.
"He’s closer (to being fully recovered)," manager Ned Yost said. "He could help us. He could improve our outfield defense at the back third of the game."
Cain suffered a strained left oblique while taking batting practice prior to the Aug. 9 game against Boston. Swinging a bat remains a concern, but he said he felt no pain Wednesday in early drills in the indoor batting cages.
"The swinging is the big issue," he said. "It felt really good today. Now, it’s more a matter of getting my timing back. Just getting comfortable again out there."
Tentative plans call for Cain to resume on-field batting practice prior to Friday’s game against Detroit. He was batting .261 with four homers and 43 RBIs in 96 games prior to the injury.
Cain also led the Royals at the time, because of his defensive prowess, with a 3.3 rating in WAR (wins above replacement), which seeks to quantify how many victories a player has been worth above an average replacement.
Activating Cain does not affect the roster because rules permit clubs to carry up to 40 players, instead of the usual 25, beginning Sept. 1. Players on the 15-day disabled list, as Cain was, already count against the 40-man limit.
"I probably won’t start in any games (for a while)," he said, "but they might need me to pinch-run or play the outfield."
Ventura pulled from Omaha start
The Omaha Storm Chasers pulled right-hander Yordano Ventura from his start on Wednesday night in Oklahoma City for an unspecified violation of team rules. Right-hander Brian Sanches replaced Ventura in the first game of the Pacific Coast League playoffs and picked up the win as Omaha held off the RedHawks 3-1.
Royals officials said Ventura's status for the remainder of the series will "be determined."
Ventura, 21, went 5-4 with a 3.74 ERA in 15 games for Omaha after his promotion from Class AA Northwest Arkansas. He is generally regarded as the Royals’ most advanced pitching prospect.
The series continues Thursday at Oklahoma City before shifting Friday to Omaha. The fourth and fifth games, if necessary, are Saturday and Sunday at Omaha.
Getz undergoing tests
Second baseman Chris Getz underwent a series of tests Wednesday to determine whether he suffered a concussion Tuesday when he jarred his head and neck while diving for a ground ball.
Getz awoke Wednesday with a headache but said he felt “better” as the day unfolded. If the tests reveal a problem, Getz will be placed on the seven-day disabled list for concussions.
Players are not permitted to return to active duty, even after seven days, until cleared by a club-designated concussion specialist and Major League Baseball’s medical director.
Getz has a history of concussions. He suffered a season-ending concussion on Sept. 12, 2010 when struck in the helmet by a throw on a stolen base in Chicago.
Instructional League rosters
Class A Lexington teammates Bubba Starling and Raul Adalberto Mondesi head the Royals’ 25-man roster that begins play Sept. 18 in the Arizona Advanced Instructional League.
Infielder Hunter Dozier, the club’s top pick in the June draft, is also on the club, which will play a 19-game schedule that runs through Oct. 11.
The Royals have 49 more players on their regular instructional league roster, which plays a 22-game schedule from Sept. 23 to Oct. 18.
Players for both squads are scheduled to report Sept. 15 to the Royals’ year-round complex in Surprise, Ariz. The first workout is the following day.
18 for 18
Royals shortstop Alcides Escobar set a tentative club record by getting two stolen bases in Monday afternoon’s 3-1 victory over Seattle in the series opener.
Escobar is perfect this season in 18 stolen-base attempts which, at this point, is a record for consecutive steals in a season without being caught. Gary Thurman set the previous/still pending record at 16 for 16 in 1989.
Carlos Beltran holds the franchise’s overall record for successful steals at 33 from Sept. 28, 1999 to Aug. 10, 2001.
Holland rolls on
All-Star closer Greg Holland continued his scoreless run Tuesday night by closing out a 4-3 victory over Seattle by rolling through a one-two-three ninth inning.
That makes 17 straight scoreless outings since July 27 for Holland, who lowered his ERA to 1.31 for 56 appearances.
Only two other relievers, with a minimum of 15 outings, have not yielded a run in that span: Atlanta’s Craig Kimbrel and Boston’s Koji Uehara.
Holland also has a streak of 31 straight successful save conversions and is 37 for 39 overall. That puts him within reach of two club records.
Jeff Montgomery (1993) and Dan Quisenberry (1983) hold the club’s single-season saves record with 45. Joakim Soria set a club record with 36 straight successful saves in 2010.
The Storm Chasers placed two players on the seven-day disabled list prior to the series opener because of hand injuries: left-handed pitcher Everett Teaford and outfielder Brian Fletcher.
Neither injury is believed to be serious; both could return if Omaha advances to the next round.
More minor details
Short-season Idaho Falls entered Wednesday’s game at second-place Orem with a magic number of two for clinching the second-half pennant in the Pioneer League South Division.
The Chukars held a 31/2-game lead over Orem with five games remaining. They sent Pioneer League All-Star lefty Patrick Conroy to the mound Wednesday in a bid to clinch their first postseason berth since 2007.
It was 45 years ago Thursday — Sept. 5, 1968 — that the Royals launched their season-ticket drive for their inaugural 1969 season. First-day sales totaled 2,156.