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MLBeat: Perez honors Febles
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08/20/2002 8:38 pm ET 
MLBeat: Perez honors Febles
By Robert Falkoff / MLB.com

Neifi Perez is batting .235 in 123 games for the Royals this season. (Elaine Thompson/AP)

TORONTO -- Royals shortstop Neifi Perez insists he's merely showing respect for a friend by writing Carlos Febles' No. 3 on his cap.

Febles, who was Perez's double-play partner for most of the season at second base, was demoted to Triple-A Omaha on Aug. 11. Perez and Febles were constant card-playing buddies in the Kansas City clubhouse.

"It's just between Febles and me," Perez said. "It's nothing against the organization. Carlos is my friend. When I left Colorado, I took Todd Helton's number."

    Neifi Perez   /   IF
Height: 6'0"
Weight: 175
Bats/Throws: S/R

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Royals manager Tony Peña said he doesn't take it as any kind of protest. "Maybe some people might see it that way, but I don't," Peña said. "I believe he (Perez) is trying to show a lot of respect to Carlos Febles. Players can come out with some different ideas. It doesn't affect me."

Beltran's streak ends: Carlos Beltran wasn't in the Royals' starting lineup Tuesday, ending his streak of 184 consecutive starts dating back to July 26, 2001. Beltran had the longest streak in the Majors in games started, but Peña decided a night off from center-field work or designated-hitting was in order for Beltran.

    Carlos Beltran   /   CF
Height: 6'1"
Weight: 225
Bats/Throws: S/R

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"He's one of the guys who hasn't had an off-day yet," Peña said. "When he's chasing the breaking ball, it's not that he's physically tired, but mentally tired. If Carlos stops swinging at those breaking balls out of the strike zone, he will see some fastballs. The opponent doesn't want to face Mike Sweeney with a runner in scoring position. They don't want to walk Beltran because he's likely to steal second."

Beltran had the fourth-longest streak in games played behind Miguel Tejada (396), Terrence Long (363) and Alex Rodriguez (349).

Mindset remains: Third baseman Joe Randa is having a solid season at the plate with a .280 batting average and 66 runs batted in. A series of special hitting drills in Spring Training helped Randa go in the right direction after he had a subpar .253 batting average in 2001.

    Joe Randa   /   3B
Height: 5'11"
Weight: 190
Bats/Throws: R/R

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"The drills have changed as the season has gone on, but the mindset has stayed the same," Randa said. "In Spring Training, I was trying to break a bad habit at the plate."

Randa has a shot to approach .300 with 36 games remaining.

"I fell into a little rut after the All-Star break, but otherwise it has gone pretty well," Randa said. "The whole thing is about consistency and I'm hoping to finish strong in August and September."

Royal rumblings: The Royals have played one indoor game and one outdoor game so far in their series with the Blue Jays. On Monday, the Skydome roof was shut because of suspect weather. But it was bright and pleasant Tuesday. The roof was pulled back so the fans could enjoy the sunshine and fresh air. ... Chuck Knoblauch was a late scratch Tuesday because of tightness in his left forearm. That's the same forearm that caused Knoblauch to spend 39 games on the disabled list. He had been scheduled to lead off and play left field, but Aaron Guiel was inserted at the last minute.

Fantasy Edge: Royals right-hander Paul Byrd continues to shine even though he hasn't won in his last four starts. Byrd's earned run average in August is 2.67. His overall ERA is down to 3.35.

Robert Falkoff covers the Royals for MLB.com. This story was not subject to approval by Major League Baseball or its clubs.





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