KANSAS CITY -- Although catcher Jason Kendall is still on the disabled list, he's keeping active in the Royals' dugout. Manager Ned Yost has Kendall in charge of keeping the opposing team's running game in check.
"It's been one of the funnest things I've ever done," Kendall said.
What that means is that Kendall decides when a pitcher should throw over to first base, or use the slide-step for a quicker delivery home, or to throw a pitchout. Actually, Kendall did that when he was catching for Yost at Milwaukee in 2008 and then continued last year in Kansas City. This year Matt Treanor, another veteran catcher, is also deciding when to use those tactics instead of looking over the bench for those signs from Yost.
"He's probably the only manager that I've seen that lets his catchers do that," Kendall said.
"We have the feel back there for what's going. Brayan [Pena] still looks over there to see what's going."
Pena was catching on Friday night in the Twins' sixth inning when Louis Coleman relieved Royals starter Bruce Chen with runners at first and third with one out.
Kendall, in the dugout, called for Coleman to throw over to first base, then to throw a pitchout. Sure enough, the Twins tried a squeeze play, which was foiled by the pitchout. Danny Valencia was caught off third base by Pena and Coleman ended the inning with a strikeout, keeping the Twins' lead at 3-2.
"A hunch," Kendall said. "The situation in the game kind of dictated it."
That proved crucial in a game the Royals won in the ninth, 4-3.
Kendall hasn't been traveling, so he just calls those plays for home games. As he points out, it's one less thing that Yost or his coaches have to worry about.
"It's the game within a game that makes it enjoyable," Kendall said.
Dyson uses instincts in baserunning
KANSAS CITY -- Jarrod Dyson has great speed, but also exhibited great instinct, as he scored from third base on a pop fly to the shortstop to give the Royals a 4-3 victory over the Twins on Friday night.
Alexi Casilla caught Alcides Escobar's looper in short left field in the eighth inning. Dyson tagged up immediately, with no prompting from third-base coach Eddie Rodriguez, and was poised to take off as the ball fell into Casilla's glove.
"You've got to have the wherewithal to understand the situation that quick, that if it drops I'm going to score, if it doesn't and he catches it he's running hard with all his momentum running toward the left fielder," Royals manager Ned Yost said. "You've got to have some quick thinking process working there in order to make that work."
Casilla, not expecting Dyson to take off, hurriedly threw home on the run and the ball was far off line. Even if the shortstop had stopped to plant his feet for a more accurate throw, Dyson would've made it, in Rodriguez's view.
"His first-step quickness is phenomenal," Rodriguez said.
It was an unusual play, and Yost could remember only one other case of a runner turning a pop-up to an infielder into a sacrifice fly. That came when he was a coach for Atlanta.
"It wasn't that same play," Yost said. "[Rafael] Furcal tagged up on a ball that the first baseman caught right at the end of the Braves' dugout. By the time he stopped, turned around and realized what had happened, Furcal had scored. He had that kind of speed."
Yost picks his spots to use Dyson as a pinch-runner and had by-passed a chance to use him for Wilson Betemit, who doubled earlier in the eighth inning and represented the tying run.
"I only use Dyson when I'm at first base and I need to steal a bag or if Billy Butler is on second and it's the winning run. I wouldn't use him for the tying run," Yost said.
Tejeda getting velocity back
KANSAS CITY -- Royals reliever Robinson Tejeda is regaining some velocity as he recovers from right shoulder inflammation.
"His location was all over the place," manager Ned Yost said after Robinson threw 25 pitches in batting practice on Saturday. "His velocity was a high of 93 [mph] which is better than it was -- the majority of them were 92 so he's getting stronger."
Tejeda used to pitch in the 96, 97 mph range but he was down to 89 or 90 when he went on the 15-day disabled list 17 days ago. In two or three days he'll probably throw another batting practice session.
Reliever Aaron Crow, who worked a perfect inning in the Royals' 11-2 win on Saturday night, has retired the first batter he's faced in all 11 of his appearances this year.
Billy Butler, with a homer and a double, extended his string of consecutive series in which he's hit safely to 112, second most in the Majors.
Sean O'Sullivan, who allowed just one earned run despite seven walks, became the first Royals starter to do so since Miguel Batista against Oakland on May 17, 2000.
Royals manager Ned Yost had closer Joakim Soria warming up in the eighth inning with a 3-2 lead, but skipped over him after his teammates scored eight runs in the eighth.
Dick Kaegel is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.