KANSAS CITY -- Just before Jason Kendall took the field for the 2,014th time as a catcher on Friday, the Royals honored him for his perseverance and longevity.
Kendall was presented with a plaque of a full-sized, blue-and-gold catcher's mask, a framed jersey bearing the No. 2,000 and a montage of photos from his games. The Kauffman Stadium crowd saw video highlights from his years with the Pirates, A's, Cubs, Brewers and Royals.
"It's very flattering, very cool," Kendall said. "A very, very classy organization -- classiest organization I've been connected with."
Kendall is just the fifth catcher in Major League history to reach the 2,000 mark in games behind the plate, joining Ivan Rodriguez (2,363), Carlton Fisk (2,226), Bob Boone (2,225) and Gary Carter (2,056).
"A lot of squatting," Kendall said.
Kendall is especially proud of the fact that he came back from a serious ankle dislocation in 1999, his fourth year of Major League play, to reach that level. That injury was so devastating that many of what he calls "naysayers" thought his career was over.
"I heard that a lot," he said. "If not done, that he wouldn't come back as the same player. So it's something that I'm definitely proud of. I'll keep going, I enjoy the game."
Royals manager Ned Yost, a former catcher who also managed him at Milwaukee, appreciates what Kendall has accomplished.
"His day starts early, he's always the first one in the locker room. And he doesn't sit in his chair all day long. He changes clothes, goes straight to the video room, starts watching the opposing hitters, starts formulating his game plan for his starter that day," Yost said.
"He's always in the cage early, taking swings. He's always out here for BP, then he's meeting with the pitcher on the game plan. Then endures whatever the weather has for him -- cold, hot. Getting beat with foul balls. Very seldom do you see him running back to the screen to retrieve balls that have gotten by him. And that takes a toll on you; there's always balls that bounce off your wrist, your arm, your shoulder, your neck, your collarbone, your thighs that hurt. But you've never know it by watching him.
"And those things all add up. The daily grind of getting up, getting down that take a toll on a body and he perseveres every single day through all that. He's very strong mentally and he just comes to play and comes to win."
Kendall and his dad, Fred Kendall, belong with a rather exclusive fraternity of Major League father-son combination. Fred Kendall caught 795 games in his career with San Diego, Cleveland and Boston, which gives them a total of 2,809.
"He told me one day -- and I remember it well -- that we broke the father-son catching record," Kendall said. "He said, 'Keep going! Don't let anybody break it.'"
In fact, Kendall will soon overtake their nearest competitors on his own. Randy and Todd Hundley combined for 2,122 games caught.
"What he's done is pretty amazing," Yost said.
Bloomquist expresses happiness for Guillen
KANSAS CITY -- Willie Bloomquist, a teammate of Jose Guillen on both the Royals and the Mariners, was happy that Guillen landed with the contending San Francisco Giants.
"That's what it's all about -- trying to get to the postseason," Bloomquist said. "Especially with someone later in his career like him, it's all about trying to get a ring and win the thing."
Guillen, traded with cash on Friday for a player to be named, had his share of home runs and RBIs as well as a few controversies in his nearly three years with the Royals.
"Jose is a unique teammate, and I mean that in a good way," Bloomquist said. "I think sometimes he was misunderstood a little bit. One thing I know for sure about Jose is he wants to win and you've got to respect that about him. Sometimes he might say a thing or two that might not jibe very well with everybody else, but the bottom line is the guy wants to win. He's a competitor and, above all else, I'll take that any day of the week -- a guy that wants to win."
For much of his time with the Royals, Guillen battled leg problems -- most notably in 2009, when he was sometimes booed by fans for running slowly. Bloomquist noted that Guillen didn't like anyone to know about his ailments except the team trainers and teammates.
"So to the average fan that doesn't know, they think he's dogging it, but that he did everything pregame to get himself on the field to actually play that game is a miracle in itself," Bloomquist said.
Royals manager Ned Yost had parting praise for Guillen.
"There were times when Jose would get upset at individuals and individuals would get upset at Jose, but at the end of the day, everybody was here for one goal and that was to win baseball games," Yost said. "And that was his major goal to come out and have himself prepared and be ready to help this team win a baseball game. There wasn't a day that I've been here that that wasn't the case. He set a good example in terms of how to respect the game and how to play the game right and how to play the game hard."
DeJesus to be honored for Heart and Hustle
KANSAS CITY -- Left fielder David DeJesus will be back on the field on Saturday night -- but just long enough to receive an award before the game against the Yankees.
DeJesus is the Royals winner of the Heart and Hustle Award presented by the Major League Baseball Player Alumni Association. The award will be presented by former Royals outfielder Brian McRae.
Winners from all 30 clubs will be considered for the national Heart and Hustle honor which will be announced on Nov. 5 at the 11th annual Legends for Youth Dinner in New York City. The award goes to players who demonstrate a passion for the game and best embody the values, spirit and tradition of baseball. Previous winners were David Eckstein, 2005; Craig Biggio, 2006 and 2007; Grady Sizemore, 2008, and Albert Pujols, 2009.
DeJesus is on the disabled list after having right thumb surgery after a collision with the Yankee Stadium wall on July 22.
Annual charity 5K coming up for Royals
KANSAS CITY -- The second annual Royals 5K Run/Walk will be held at 8 a.m. CT on Sept. 4 at Kauffman Stadium. The event will benefit the Autism Alliance of Greater Kansas City and Royals Charities.
Also on the agenda is a one-mile Autism Awareness Walk around the stadium at 8:15 a.m.
Fans can register for the events and get fees and other details at www.royals.com/runwalk. There is no race-day registration and the run/walk will be limited to 2,500 participants. Included in the fees are a ticket for that night's game against the Detroit Tigers.
Third baseman-outfielder Josh Fields began his injury rehabilitation stint with Surprise in the Rookie Arizona League by showing he's apparently ready. Fields went 2-for-4 with a double and two RBIs in a 7-4 win over the Giants on Thursday night. He also scored the winning run on a wild pitch, a good sign as he recovers from surgery on his right hip. ... First baseman Clint Robinson of Double-A Northwest Arkansas hit two home runs on Thursday night, giving him homers in five straight games, a club record. In the five games, he's 9-for-19, including six homers, with 13 RBIs. Robinson leads the Texas League with 24 homers. He has a .316 average and 80 RBIs. ... The Royals' first World Series team of 1980 will be honored before Saturday night's game against the Yankees. The first 20,000 fans will receive a coaster set.
Dick Kaegel is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.