KANSAS CITY -- Right-hander Gil Meche threw a successful simulated game on Wednesday afternoon and is likely to join Triple-A Omaha for an injury rehabilitation assignment on Saturday.
"Gil threw very well and had very live stuff," Royals manager Ned Yost said.
Meche, who decided against shoulder surgery, is hoping to pitch out of the Royals' bullpen for the rest of the season. He made his last start May 26 and is now on the 60-day disabled list.
The Omaha club will return from a West Coast trip to play Memphis on Saturday night.
Yost reported that another disabled starter, right-hander Luke Hochevar, threw a good bullpen session on Wednesday.
Hochevar had a another reason to celebrate. At 5:40 a.m. CT on Wednesday his wife, Ashley, delivered their first child, a daughter, named Laney.
Royals call Miller back to Majors
KANSAS CITY -- Jai Miller was just about as excited on Tuesday as he was on June 22, 2008. That was the day he made his Major League debut with the Florida Marlins. It was Tuesday in Fresno, Calif., that Miller was told he'd gotten a return ticket to the Majors.
Miller joined the Royals before Wednesday night's game against the Indians. He got the word just the previous day from Omaha manager Mike Jirschele.
"I was just super-excited," Miller said. "I called my family, my grandparents were just super-excited as you could expect. It's just been great."
Presumably Miller's stay with the Royals will be longer than his one-day stay with the Marlins. Called up for an Interleague game at Oakland, he got into the game in the seventh inning in center field and got to bat in the eighth against the A's Andrew Brown. He struck out swinging. After the game, he was sent back to Triple-A Albuquerque and, until now, that was the extent of his big league experience.
"I was just so excited, nervous, it's just a blur looking back at it," he said. "It felt like I was just floating with everything going on, it happened so quick."
Miller went from the Marlins to the A's last April, then was picked up by the Royals off waivers later the same month. Assigned to Omaha, the right-handed-hitting outfielder played 84 games with a .267 average, 18 homers and 56 RBIs. In 311 at-bats, he struck out 113 times.
"He struggled a little bit with contact at times but he's been working on his swing trying to keep it down through the zone longer and he's gotten better," Jirschele said.
Miller has been hot lately, batting .345 in 15 games this month with six homers.
"I'm trying to get singles but occasionally I'll run into something and maybe I'll get lucky and get a double," he said. "Home runs come but, just like anybody else, I'm just up there trying to get base hits."
A former high school football and basketball star at Selma, Ala., Miller was offered a scholarship for both sports at Stanford University but opted to sign a baseball contract after the Marlins drafted him in the fourth round of 2003.
He wasn't in the starting lineup for Wednesday night's game. Manager Ned Yost said he's likely to see action in the outfield against left-handed starters.
"Honestly, it doesn't matter," Miller said. "I'm here and this is where I want to be."
For more than one day.
Ka'aihue's Tuesday play gets praise
KANSAS CITY -- First baseman Kila Ka'aihue got a special commendation from Royals manager Ned Yost for his defensive stretch that produced a ninth-inning out in Tuesday night's 2-1 victory over the Indians.
Ka'aihue reached out for shortstop Yuniesky Betancourt's throw from deep in the hole to retire Asdrubal Cabrera for the first out of the inning.
"It saved the game for us, it really did," Yost said. "It was kind of a play that went kind of unnoticed for us but it was a tremendous play. Yuni made a great play and got rid of the ball and Kila's stretch was pretty fantastic."
Closer Joakim Soria then got two strikeouts to end the game with a runner at second base.
Ka'aihue also had a double and a single and flied out deep to center, making him 4-for-8 in a two-game span after going just 3-for-31 in his previous nine games since being recalled.
"He swung the bat really, really well last night," Yost said. "He's been working hard in the cage with [hitting coach Kevin Seitzer] on a few little things to get himself freed up a little bit and the results showed last night. . . . It's just a matter of time before you get your feet on the ground and you take off. But Kila's gonna hit."
A $5,000 Pepsi Refresh Grant has been awarded to support the Royalty Fields project for the restoration of youth baseball and softball facilities in the Midwest, the Royals' Billy Butler announced. The top prize, a $200,000 grant, went to the Minnesota Twins in voting by fans. The Royals and 13 other clubs received $5,000 grants for various projects. ... Butler's streak of hitting in consecutive series has reached 90 with his hit in the opener against the Indians. The club record is 96 straight series by Willie Wilson from 1979-81. ... Zack Greinke's seven victories since June 13 are the third-most in the American League since that date, behind 10 by the Yankees' CC Sabathia and nine by the Twins' Carl Pavano.
Dick Kaegel is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.