Royals banking on Guillen to produce
New York (4-5) at Kansas City (6-2), Thursday, 7:10 p.m. CT
KANSAS CITY -- Maybe this will be the night that Jose Guillen breaks out of his batting swoon. He showed some signs on Wednesday night, when he lashed an RBI single in a 4-0 victory over the Yankees.
Even so, the Royals slugger is batting just .152 (5-for-33) in the club's fast 6-2 getaway. He has one extra-base hit, a double, and four RBIs.
If Guillen's pending suspension and the subsequent stays of the penalty are troubling him, he's not saying. His 15-day penalty for violations of the Commissioner's drug policy was stayed for 10 days at the start of the season. That period elapsed on Tuesday, and it wasn't until Wednesday morning that the Royals got word that the penalty again was on hold until next Tuesday.
Manager Trey Hillman doesn't know if that issue is unsettling for Guillen.
"We don't discuss it -- I think if we would discuss it, it'd make it more complicated for him," Hillman said. "I think he understands that I'm there for him if he wants to discuss it, and I've expressed that, but he hasn't approached me with it, so I just try to leave it alone."
The matter is hanging again as Major League Baseball and the Players Association continue negotiations on a tougher Joint Drug Agreement. A settlement will presumably give amnesty to those players named in the Mitchell Report, including Guillen.
Hillman was asked if he wished the matter could be finally put to rest.
"Honestly, without stirring up things that don't need to be stirred up, I can't say anything else. It's not behind us, so I'm just going to be thankful for what we've got and thankful that we have him in the lineup," he said.Pitching matchup
KC: LHP John Bale (0-1, 5.68 ERA)
Bale's first start in the Majors since 2003, on Friday night, got off to a slightly rocky beginning. The Twins didn't exactly light him up with their nine hits and four runs in the first four innings; a lot of damage was done with infield hits and tweeners and bunts. Bale recovered nicely and kept the Royals in the game, although they took the first of their two losses on the young season, 4-3. Early on, Bale elevated some pitches, which didn't help matters, but on the whole, manager Trey Hillman was pleased with the effort. NYY: LHP Andy Pettitte (0-1, 5.40 ERA)
Pettitte suffered the loss in his first start of the season and has taken the loss in his last two starts against the Rays. Sidelined due to back spasms for two starts in Spring Training, Pettitte tired in the fifth inning of his season debut and allowed a three-run homer to Jonny Gomes. He said that he was rusty and was not able to throw a curveball for a strike the entire afternoon. He'll look for better results against the Royals, a team he defeated in his only time facing them last year. Pettitte has a career 6-2 record and 3.55 ERA in 11 games (nine starts) at Kauffman Stadium. Tidbits
Center fielder David DeJesus was out of the starting lineup on Wednesday for the seventh straight game because of a sprained left ankle. He was pulled after two innings on Opening Day. ... Joey Gathright was finally caught stealing on Wednesday night and now is 6-for-7 this season in theft attempts. ... Billy Butler, batting .394 this season, has hit safely in all eight games, having gone 13-for-33. ... A sellout crowd of about 600 attended the Welcome Home Luncheon for the Royals on Wednesday at the Westin Crown Center Hotel. ... The Elias Sports Bureau figured out that Brian Bannister has the third-most wins in the Majors since last June 1. He's 14-6 in that span, topped by the Yankees' Chien-Ming Wang (18-3) and the Diamondbacks' Brandon Webb (16-7). ... Jorge De La Rosa gave up one run on four hits in 4 2/3 innings on Wednesday in his first start for Triple-A Omaha. Brandon Duckworth added four shutout innings in a 2-1 win over Round Rock.
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Friday: Twins (Boof Bonser, 0-2, 4.15) at Royals (Gil Meche, 0-1, 6.94), 7:10 p.m. CT
Saturday: Twins (Nick Blackburn, 0-1, 2.25) at Royals (Brett Tomko, 1-0, 1.29), 6:10 p.m. CT
Sunday: Twins (TBD) at Royals (Brian Bannister, 2-0, 1.50), 1:10 p.m. CT
Dick Kaegel is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.