KANSAS CITY -- Third baseman Josh Fields was back in a Major League clubhouse, a September callup by the Royals. This came four years after his first callup, in 2006 by the Chicago White Sox.

"This is just almost as exciting as my first one," Fields said. "Not expecting to be back and being here."

Obtained from the White Sox last Nov. 5 with second baseman Chris Getz in exchange for third baseman Mark Teahen, Fields went to Spring Training hoping to win a job. Instead he limped away on his right hip.

"It was bothering me since the second day. At the beginning, [manager] Trey [Hillman] ended up saying I had some low back stiffness just to kind of push things over for a while, but it was my hip all along. It just never ended up getting better," Fields said.

Fields tried to rehabilitate his hip in extended spring training at Surprise, Ariz., but had to undergo surgery in late April.

He was expected to miss the entire season.

"They had to shave some bone off once they got in there, to kind of smooth it over because some of my bone was kind of calcifying and hardening and that's what actually tore the labrum," he said. "So they patched the labrum up and shaved some bone off so that's why they thought I wasn't going to be able to play this year."

Around July 4, though, his recovery was so swift that there was optimism he might play this season after all. Eventually he wound up with Double-A Northwest Arkansas where he hit .436 (17-for-39) in 11 games.

"I feel 10 times better than I did in Spring Training," Fields said. "They did warn me that my running wouldn't be back to where I was until possibly next year."

The other aspects of his game, though, are just fine.

"Hitting is where I see the biggest difference. I can actually get to some pitches now as opposed to feeling I was missing everything," he said. "So I'm excited."

Maybe as excited as in 2006, when in his first Major League at-bat, he blasted a home run off the Tigers' Jamie Walker.

Meche activated, back on Royals' roster

KANSAS CITY -- Pitcher Gil Meche, activated from the 60-day disabled list on Wednesday, is officially back on the Royals' roster.

"Officially, I'm sittin' in the bullpen," Meche said.

That's right. Meche, the longtime starter, is trying life as a reliever to avoid shoulder surgery that would shut him down for all of next season.

"I'm excited. It's been since the middle of May. It's been since forever. I'm going to have some fun," he said.

"I had a good last week in Omaha. I got used to it. In warming up, I got loose quick so that's no big deal."

Manager Ned Yost will be cautious as Meche breaks into his new routine.

"The way I want to use Gil is -- at least through this little September period and next year it'll evolve differently -- we're really going to protect Gil," Yost said. "We won't bring him in the middle of an inning, we're not going let him start his own innings. We'll probably limit him to two innings right now. And we probably won't use him on back-to-back days and if I get him up, I'll get him in."

He'll probably be limited to a maximum 40 pitches per outing.

Meche made just 10 pitches in his Royals 'pen debut in Wednesday night's 4-3 loss to the Rangers. He pitched a scoreless ninth, giving up just a two-out single. It was just his fifth relief outing in the 248 Major League games of his career.

With Meche and third baseman Josh Fields being recalled from their injury rehabilitation assignments, the Royals moved pitcher Luke Hochevar and outfielder David DeJesus to the 60-day disabled list to make room on the 40-man roster.

Hochevar and Brian Bannister, also rehabbing, are expected to rejoin the Royals in a few days. Bannister worked 3 1/3 scoreless innings on Wednesday night for Omaha against Round Rock. He gave up five hits with no walks and five strikeouts, throwing 57 pitches (36 strikes).

May savoring his first callup to Majors

KANSAS CITY -- Catcher Lucas May joined the Royals for the first time on Wednesday, slipped into uniform No. 22 and enjoyed the sensation immensely.

"It's amazing," May said. "I've been waiting for this day for seven years. When I was traded over here I was all smiles. I felt like it was a better opportunity and now that it's all come true, it's a feeling I can't explain now. It's just awesome."

May was acquired from the Los Angeles Dodgers' organization in the trade for outfielder Scott Podsednik on July 28. He was called up from Triple-A Omaha for the rest of the season.

"It's amazing. This is my first time being up. I've been in Spring Trainings, but I've never been to a Major League home clubhouse and walking in here and just seeing how nice and neat everything is and how big it is -- tables everywhere and TVs, it's awesome, it really is," May said.

"You try to get a picture in your mind, but it really doesn't compare to actually seeing it in the flesh. It's pretty cool."

He'll get ample playing time with regular catcher Jason Kendall out for the season for right shoulder surgery, sharing time with backup Brayan Pena.

May, from Chesterfield, Mo., hit .275 in 24 games with Omaha. Including his record with Albuquerque, also in the Pacific Coast League, he had a .283 average with 16 homers and 59 RBIs.

Betancourt, Soria get Royals' monthly honors

KANSAS CITY -- Shortstop Yuniesky Betancourt was named the Royals Player of the Month for August after belting seven home runs with 18 RBIs. He batted .295 and had a .557 slugging percentage.

Betancourt also got his September off to a good start, belting his 15th home run against Rangers starter Tommy Hunter.

Closer Joakim Soria was named the Royals Pitcher of the Month by the Kansas City media. Soria converted all eight of his save opportunities and pitched 13 scoreless innings. He also broke Jeff Montgomery's team record with his 25th straight save on Aug. 13.

Royals announce Minor League awards

KANSAS CITY -- No surprise here: Third baseman Mike Moustakas was named the George Brett Hitter of the Year in the Royals' Minor League organization.

Left-hander John Lamb was named the Paul Splittorff Pitcher of the Year by the Royals in Wednesday's announcement.

Moustakas has hit a combined .326 this year for Double-A Northwest Arkansas and Triple-A Omaha with 34 home runs -- most in the Minors -- and 120 RBIs in 112 games.

Lamb, who pitched at three levels, has a 10-7 record with a 2.33 ERA in 27 starts for Class A Burlington and Wilmington and Northwest Arkansas. He has 152 strikeouts and 44 walks in 143 innings.

The players and pitchers of the year for all Royals' affiliates:

Omaha (Triple-A) -- First baseman Kila Ka'aihue and right-hander Bryan Bullington. Both are currently with the parent Royals.

Northwest Arkansas (Double-A) -- First baseman Clint Robinson and left-hander Everett Teaford.

Wilmington (Class A Advanced) -- First baseman Eric Hosmer and left-hander Chris Dwyer.

Burlington, Iowa (Class A) -- Catcher Wil Myers and right-hander Bryan Paukovits.

Idaho Falls (Advanced Rookie) -- First baseman Murray Watts and right-hander Michael Mariot.

Burlington, N.C. (Rookie) -- Third baseman Ryan Stovall and left-hander Crawford Simmons.

Surprise (Rookie) -- Catcher Henry Moreno and right-hander Robinson Yambati.

Dominican Royals (Rookie) -- Outfielder Jorge Bonifacio and right-hander Jose Brazoban.