Notes: Meche set for All-Star Game
Sweeney's surgery successful, but more serious than expected
KANSAS CITY -- Gil Meche was picked for the 1998 Midwest League All-Star Game and hasn't been to one since.
That will all change on Monday, when Meche joins the American League squad for the All-Star extravaganza in San Francisco.
"I'm nervous a little bit just to see all the things that are going to happen," Meche said. "I mean, I'm going to have a blast but I'm just trying to get as much out of it as I can."
Meche was selected by AL manager Jim Leyland to be the Royals' lone representative. Because he pitched Saturday night instead of Sunday, he has a good chance of pitching in Tuesday night's game.
"I'd hate to go to the All-Star Game and not have at least a chance to pitch," he said. "I'll be off Sunday and Monday, and I'll be easily able to throw an inning on Tuesday. If not, no hard feelings, at least I got a chance to go and enjoy it. But, obviously, I'd like to go out and face some of these best hitters."
Meche is looking forward to seeing his old pal from the Seattle Mariners, closer J.J. Putz, and another former teammate, outfielder Ichiro Suzuki.
"It's an elite group of guys," Meche said. "They come from all over the world and they're obviously the best at what they do. And to be on a team with them is going to be pretty neat. It's special."
Coming in from his home state in Lafayette, La., are Fred and Linda Meche.
"My parents are coming out with my dad's good buddy and his wife, and they're excited that they're going to be able to be there with me for this," Meche said.
His father helped coach teams when Meche was growing up and wondered if his son would make the team.
"With my numbers, my dad said, 'You know, you could have a chance.' And I said, 'Yeah, I think I do. I kind of stack up with a lot of these guys in the league. And they have to pick somebody from each team. I've got a lot of innings but I haven't won a lot of games, but they can't really hold that against me,'" Meche said.
"So he said, 'Yeah, I think you'll make it.' So a week later I called him up and said, 'Yeah I'm going to go.' He said, 'I'm going to be there, so make sure you can get me four tickets.'"
One aside: When Meche was at home in Louisiana, he ate well.
"Mom and dad, home cookin', Cajun food," Meche said. "They both basically cook like Louisiana chefs. They know all the Cajun recipes. Every time they come here, as excited as I am to see them, I'm just as excited for them to bring all kinds of food to cook."
Well, in San Francisco, he can take them out to dinner.
Sweeney update: Mike Sweeney drove into the Kauffman Stadium parking lot just before game time Sunday and headed for the trainer's room on crutches.
"I had a rough day yesterday, and they wanted to get the knee on ice and elevated," Sweeney said.
His knee was swollen but the pain was decreasing, he said.
Sweeney underwent surgery on his right knee on Thursday. The procedure by team physician Steve Joyce was successful but more serious than expected.
"Originally, Dr. Joyce was hoping to go in there for a cleanup," Sweeney said, "but he found a large cartilage chunk under the kneecap and removed it. That means extra time and extra rehab."
The prognosis is that Sweeney will be out for six weeks or more.
"I had hoped to be out two weeks and then come back and play the last two and a half months," he said.
Not now. Even the optimistic Sweeney knows he'll be out until at least late August.
"Dr. Joyce told me, 'I'm glad we did the surgery. You couldn't have gone on without it,'" Sweeney said.
Sweeney's designated hitter spot is being filled by rookie Billy Butler.
Butler does it: Butler was in the No. 3 slot in the Royals' lineup for the first time on Sunday. Mark Teahen was dropped from that spot to No. 5, putting three right-handed batters together against Devil Rays left-hander Scott Kazmir.
"We haven't done too well against left-handers, so we thought we'd mix it up a little," manager Buddy Bell said.
Bunts: First baseman Ryan Shealy (left hamstring strain) is likely to start a Minor League rehabilitation assignment after the All-Star break. ... Outfielder Reggie Sanders is expected back soon, but probably not right at the resumption of the schedule on Friday. ... On this date in 1989, Hal McRae and Dennis Leonard were inducted into the Royals Hall of Fame.
Royals rundown: Leo Nunez pitched five shutout innings in Triple-A Omaha's 8-2 victory at Round Rock. Mike Aviles hit two home runs off Chan Ho Park. ... Dusty Hughes held San Antonio to two runs in six innings, but Double-A Wichita lost, 9-4. ... Jeremy Jirschele and Chris McConnell had Class A Wilmington's only two hits in a 1-0 loss to Myrtle Beach. ... Luis Castillo and Jamar Walton each homered, but Class A Burlington, Iowa, lost to Clinton, 6-3. ... Jake Lane's 2-for-4 day in Rookie Burlington, N.C.'s 6-4 win over Greeneville gave him a .388 average. ... In Arizona, Ryan Angel had a two-run homer in the Rookie Royals' 6-4 win over the Angels.
In Buck's seat: Eric Kelemen, an occupational therapist, was in the Buck O'Neil Legacy Seat on Sunday. He was nominated by a patient whom he helped walk again after being struck by a car. Kelemen also works with stroke victims and people suffering from brain injuries.
Coming up: The Royals have four days off during the All-Star break. They resume play at 6:05 p.m. CT on Friday at Cleveland, where they'll match left-hander Odalis Perez (4-8, 5.68 ERA) with Indians right-hander Jake Westbrook (1-4, 6.27).
Dick Kaegel is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.