Notes: Brazell happy to be in Majors
Prospect hoped for playing time after leading Minors in homers
CHICAGO -- Craig Brazell is about as laid back as a fella could be. So he's not all that lathered up about not getting at-bats during his September stay with the Royals.
"I take 'em as they come," he said before Tuesday night's game against the Chicago White Sox. "I sit and watch and listen and learn as much as possible in the month I'm here."
Brazell, 27, was called up after leading the Minor Leagues with 39 home runs this summer. He banged 32 for Triple-A Omaha after warming up with seven for Double-A Wichita.
He's played very little. He's a first baseman and the Royals want to use rookie Billy Butler there when possible. He's also a left-handed hitter, same as Ross Gload, who's at first when Butler isn't.
Also the Royals want their rookies to stay in the lineup and experience the full-season grind posed in the Major Leagues.
Through Monday night, Brazell had been in just three games -- twice as a pinch-hitter and once as a replacement at first base. In three trips to the plate, he had a walk, a single and a strikeout.
"No need to sit around, pout and mope about it," he said. "I can't complain. I'm in the big leagues and I'm soaking up as much as I can, and enjoying the time I'm here."
Brazell knows the vagaries of baseball -- his father, Ted Brazell, was a long-time catcher and manager in the Detroit Tigers organization -- and isn't too concerned about his future. He figures some team, if not the Royals, will be interested in the Minor Leagues' leading home run hitter.
"It's not like I hit .240 or something. In total, I think I had a .315 average," he said.
Brazell, who also has played third base and the outfield, has the rap of being a poor fielder. That followed him from his early years in the New York Mets organization, but he believes hard work in the last couple of years has paid off.
"I feel like I'm a decent first baseman. I can pick it over there. When you get the reputation, it's hard to shake it," he said.
Brazell said he's also been criticized for his pitch selection.
"I'm a bad-ball hitter," he admitted cheerfully. "If you throw it down the middle, I can't hit it."
After this week is over, Brazell will go home to Montgomery, Ala., to hunt and fish, play golf and just relax. Then he'll start to get ready for Spring Training -- somewhere.
"I'd like for an opportunity here -- I'd love for it to be here," he said.
Over and out: Outfielder Reggie Sanders, who is traveling with the Royals on this last road trip, has spent most of the year on the disabled list and his season ended on Sept. 4 when he went on the 60-day DL.
Sanders, 39, has not decided to call it quits, though. He'll be a free agent and would like to play next season.
"It has to be correct -- a winning ballclub and closer to home," Sanders said.
Sanders lives in Scottsdale, Ariz., which would make the Arizona Diamondbacks seem like a possible spot. Sanders was with the D-backs in their World Series championship season of 2001.
He won't return to the Royals, his home for two seasons.
"I won't come back here," he said. "It's time."
Sanders said his left hamstring tear has healed and is in good shape. He played just 24 games this season, but batted .315.
Bunts: Mark Grudzielanek's home run on Monday night at Baltimore was his first as a pinch-hitter. But he's had just 26 pinch-hit at-bats. The pinch homer was the 64th in Royals history. ... On this date in 1993, George Brett announced his retirement from baseball. On Oct. 3, he singled off Tom Henke at Texas in his last at-bat -- his 3,154th hit. ... Although Gil Meche is just 2-4 in his last nine starts, he's had a 2.97 ERA, giving up three earned runs or fewer in each game.
Coming up: In a matchup of right-handers, the Royals will start Zack Greinke (7-6, 3.62 ERA) and the White Sox will counter with Jon Garland (9-13, 4.42 ERA) at 7:11 p.m. CT on Wednesday at U.S. Cellular Field.
Dick Kaegel is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.