KANSAS CITY -- Alex Gordon, the Royals' Player of the Year, and Bruce Chen, their Pitcher of the Year, will be right in the midst of the first week of the 2012 Royals Caravan.
After receiving their awards at a Wednesday luncheon, they'll be among six players signing autographs from 6 to 8 p.m. CT on Wednesday at the Rally House in Independence, Mo. The sports apparel store is in the former Circuit City location in front of the Independence Mall, 18701 E. 39th St.
Chen and Gordon will be joined by first baseman Eric Hosmer, second baseman Johnny Giavotella and outfielders Mitch Maier and Lorenzo Cain. One group of players will sign in the first hour, another group in the second hour.
"Interacting with the fans is definitely something that we enjoy doing. Any time you get a chance to talk to some of these younger fans that have dreams of becoming a big leaguer and be our in shoes, it is always fun," Giavotella said.
The Royals also have scheduled public stops at Lincoln and Omaha, Neb., featuring Gordon, Giavotella, Maier and broadcaster Ryan Lefebvre. On Thursday, they'll be at Dino's Eastside Grill in Lincoln from 3:15 to 5:15 p.m. CT and at the Salvation Army's Kroc Center in Omaha from 6:30 to 8 p.m. CT.
In private events on Thursday, Chen and Cain will visit Operation Breakthrough and Gordon Parks Elementary School in Kansas City and the pediatric unit at the University of Kansas Hospital.
In private events on Friday, former Royals stars George Brett, Dennis Leonard and Joe Randa will join Chen and Cain in visiting the Kansas City VA Medical Center and Whiteman Air Force Base. In addition, the group in Nebraska will visit the Omaha Children's Hospital.
The second phase of the Caravan will begin on Sunday, and the tentative schedule of public events has players Billy Butler, Danny Duffy and Greg Holland and hitting coach Kevin Seitzer making Missouri stops in Cameron, St. Joseph and Maryville. On Monday, Jan. 16, former pitcher Jeff Montgomery will join Butler, Duffy and Holland for Kansas stops in Topeka and Wichita.
Another group composed of players Aaron Crow, Everett Teaford, Louis Coleman, former star Willie Wilson and broadcaster Joel Goldberg will visit Clinton, Joplin and Springfield, Mo., on Sunday, and Springdale, Ark., and Pittsburg, Kan., on Monday.
For more details, go to royals.com/caravan.
Dick Kaegel is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.