KANSAS CITY -- Center fielder Melky Cabrera is nearing the first 200-hit season of his career, but Royals manager Ned Yost wants more.
"I'm going to play Melky until he gets 201, I'm not stopping at 200," Yost said. "I want 201."
After hitting a double in Wednesday night's 6-3 loss to the Tigers, Cabrera has 196 hits. The most he's had previously was 149 in 2007 with the Yankees.
"Don't ask me why," Yost said. "Two hundred is nice, 200 is a goal but, you know what, I've always been one to surpass your goals; 201 just sounds better than 200."
So, even with center fielders Lorenzo Cain and Jarrod Dyson just called up from Triple-A Omaha, Cabrera will keep getting his at-bats. Cain and Dyson will get some playing time but, for now, probably at the corner spots.
Yost also would like to see both Cain and Dyson in the outfield at the same time. If that happens, it'd probably be Dyson in center, with Cain in right or left.
"I want to see Cain in center, too, he's a pretty spectacular center fielder," Yost said.
Meanwhile, Cabrera will continue his quest to become the sixth player with 200 hits in Royals history. George Brett did it twice, with 215 in 1976 and 212 in 1979, Willie Wilson had 230 in 1980 and Kevin Seitzer had 207 in 1987. The last to reach the mark were Johnny Damon, 214, and Mike Sweeney, 206, both in 2000.
"It's an achievable goal, I hope he gets it," Yost said. "I'd settle for 200, but my goal is 201."
Royals boast four players with 40 doubles
KANSAS CITY -- Billy Butler's first-inning RBI double in the Royals' 6-3 loss to the Tigers on Wednesday night put the club into the record books.
The double was Butler's 40th of the season and gave the Royals four players with 40 doubles this season. Butler joined Melky Cabrera (43), Jeff Francoeur (47) and Alex Gordon (45) in the 40-double club as the Royals became just the fourth franchise in Major League history to have four players post 40-double seasons.
The 2011 Royals join the 2006 Rangers (Michael Young, Mark Teixeira, Gary Matthews Jr. and Mark DeRosa), 1932 Phillies (Chuck Klein, Dick Bartell, Hal Lee and Don Hurst) and 1929 Tigers (Charlie Gehringer, Roy Johnson, Dale Alexander and Harry Heilmann) as clubs to accomplish the feat.
Butler also became the first Royals player in franchise history to post three straight 40-double seasons. He hit 45 in 2010 and 51 in 2009.
"It's pretty impressive," manager Ned Yost said. "Billy's a bona fide elite hitter in the American League. There's just no way around it. He's up there with the best hitters in the American League, and he's a solid performer, he's a solid producer and a real, real good hitter."
Francoeur added his 47th double of the season in the first inning as well -- also driving in a run -- which is the third-highest single-season total in franchise history. Hal McRae hit 54 in 1977, and Butler had his 51 in 2009.
Earlier this season, the Royals became the first team to have all three starting outfielders hit at least 40 doubles.
After quick ascent, Herrera takes loss in debut
KANSAS CITY -- Just five months ago, Kelvin Herrera was at Class A Advanced Wilmington, and now, with a week left in the season, he's arrived in the Majors.
Herrera, the Royals' Minor League Pitcher of the Year, made stops at Double-A Northwest Arkansas and Triple-A Omaha en route to his first big league callup.
"I'm so excited because it's where you want to be," Herrera said.
Herrera made his big league debut Wednesday, coming in for the eighth inning with the score tied at 3. Nerves played a part as Herrera hit Detroit's Ryan Raburn with the first pitch he threw. Pinch-hitter Miguel Cabrera then hit Herrera's second pitch for a go-ahead double before Don Kelly extended the lead with a two-run homer to right.
Herrera took the loss as the Royals fell, 6-3.
"Herrera came in, threw the ball OK," manager Ned Yost said. "A little nerves, I think -- hit the first hitter, then faced one of the best hitters in the American League in Cabrera and just got a little blooper down the line that just barely hugged the chalk line. [He] did OK; hung an offspeed pitch to Kelly there."
The fast-riser was one of six players the Royals called up after the Pacific Coast League champion Omaha Storm Chasers lost the Triple-A national championship to International League champion Columbus on Tuesday night in Albuquerque, N.M.
Initially a starter, Herrera was converted to a relief pitcher and went a combined 7-1 with 14 saves and a 1.64 ERA in 44 relief appearances in the Minor Leagues this season.
Signed as a non-drafted free agent in December 2006, the Dominican Republic native made his meteoric rise through the system this year despite dealing with stress fractures in his elbow in 2009 and 2010.
"It's tough because, two years in a row, you think, 'Maybe my career's done,'" he said.
Yost praised the 21-year-old's stuff and said Herrera should be right in the bullpen mix.
"You guys have seen me manage all year, I haven't protected anybody," Yost said. "I throw them in the fire."
Yost monitors Holland, others in Soria's absence
KANSAS CITY -- With closer Joakim Soria out with a strained hamstring, Royals manager Ned Yost is using his absence to take a look at Greg Holland in that role and other pitchers in late-inning situations.
Yost acknowledged that Soria, on his present recovery schedule, is not likely to pitch in a game before Saturday at the earliest. The training staff is not pushing Soria, although it would like to see him in a game before the season is over.
"I've got a viable replacement in Holland, so that affords us the luxury of taking it easy, and now that we've got [Kelvin] Herrera up here, he's a guy we can put in that mix. I think we could look at [Vin] Mazzaro a little bit as a sixth- and seventh-inning guy as well," Yost said.
"The thinking behind that is Mazzaro's got a plus slider, and matching him up against right-handers where he could use that slider, he might be a very usable addition to that 'pen, and I'd like to just see it anyway," Yost said. "We know what he can do as a starter."
Yost hasn't decided on a starting pitcher for next Tuesday at Minnesota, the second-to-last day of the season, but said it would be either Mazzaro or Sean O'Sullivan, both up from Omaha.
Dick Kaegel is a reporter for MLB.com. Adam Holt is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.