Shealy creates buzz, earns playing time
Slugger's big weekend has him in position to play down stretch
KANSAS CITY -- Ryan Shealy was surrounded in the Royals' clubhouse on Monday afternoon. TV lights, microphones, ActionNews, 610 Radio, Royals announcer Joel Goldberg.
Big commotion. What's going on?
"That whole series it seemed like there were runners on base and runners in scoring position and we had guys that were getting big hits in big spots, and anytime you do that, especially getting two-out RBIs, you're going to win a lot of games," Shealy was saying into the cameras.
Oh, OK. That Cleveland series where the Royals rattled out 48 hits and disgorged 29 runs in winning the final three games. And Shealy, in the last two wins, went 7-for-10 with three homers, four runs and seven RBIs. Heck, in Sunday's game alone, he hit two out of the park.
So Shealy was talking about that and not, as a wiseacre suggested, announcing his retirement.
"Yeah, going out on top. I'm not like [Brett] Favre and all these other guys. I have one good game and I'm done," Shealy said with a happy cackle.
Seriously though folks, he was moving up into the Royals' cleanup spot.
"Hit a couple homers and there you are," he said.
The genial Shealy, called up from Triple-A Omaha, is getting his shot at impressing manager Trey Hillman in the first-base sweepstakes for next year. It's a crowded field with Ross Gload, Billy Butler, Kila Ka'aihue and even Mark Teahen in the picture.
Not that Shealy is obsessed about next year.
"I think I'd be lying if I said I didn't think about it somewhat, but I kind of told myself when I came up here that I wasn't going to worry about anything. I was just going to play as hard as I can and see what happens," he said.
For Shealy, so far so good. He went into Monday night's game against the Mariners with a .370 average and four homers in his seven games.
The good thing is the hamstring injury that hampered him last year and popped up again last April is healed. He's healthy and happy.
Hillman has been impressed because Shealy, a right-handed hitter who hasn't handled left-handed pitchers all that well in his career, was 5-for-14 with two homers against lefties.
"Hopefully he'll continue because he's probably going to get more playing time at first base than anybody else for the next 13 games," Hillman said.
"He's a more experienced player and has been up here multiple years as opposed to Kila's first time up here. It's just a situation where we have to find out more about Ryan, so that's the way we'll go with it."
Dick Kaegel is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.