KANSAS CITY -- Irving Falu has been playing professional baseball for a long time. Thursday, he finally got to put on a Major League jersey.
Falu was called up from Triple-A Omaha on Thursday to replace the injured Yuniesky Betancourt, who was placed on the 15-day DL with a high ankle sprain. Falu was drafted by the Royals in 2003, and he's been with the organization ever since. After 949 games in the Minors, he's on a big league roster for the first time.
The 28-year-old utility man was all smiles in the clubhouse before the Royals took on the Yankees. He kept reiterating how happy he was and thanked everyone he could think of. God, family and coaches were all recognized in an Academy Award-esque list of thank yous.
He recounted what he called a "weird" day on Wednesday, saying after the Storm Chasers' day game in Nashville, he headed to the mall to chill out. Around 10:30 p.m., his manager told him he was heading to the big leagues using just three words:
"You made it."
Royals manager Ned Yost said that Falu was called up because of his versatility. He's played games at three different positions so far this season in Omaha, and he'll be used to back up at second base, shortstop and third base. He can also play outfield.
And, oh yeah, he's a switch-hitter.
"It's got to be one of the biggest thrills of his life," Yost said. "You finally get to see a little reward for all the hard work you do. This kid hasn't worked hard just to be average at one position. He's worked hard to be average at four or five positions. And he hasn't worked hard to be a good hitter from one side. He's worked really, really hard on being a good hitter from both sides. He's put his time in, and he's got his opportunity. And for that, I'm excited."
Falu wasn't too worried about the specific role he'd be playing in Kansas City. He just wanted to make it clear that he'd continue to work as hard as he has to get there.
"If they need somebody, I can play everywhere," he said. "I don't care where I play. I'll do my best. When I go out, I go 100 percent."
Kansas City native Hottovy enjoys homestand
KANSAS CITY -- Left-handed reliever Tommy Hottovy grew up watching the Royals at Kauffman Stadium, and he's back at Kauffman Stadium, this time as a member of the team.
"I wish it's something that every guy in this game gets to experience throughout the course of their career," Hottovy said of wearing the uniform of the team he grew up cheering for.
Hottovy made his Royals debut during the team's road trip, and he's excited to finally get back to playing in his hometown. And he already has friends and family members telling him their plans for rooting him on.
"There'll be a lot of people," Hottovy said. "I've already heard aunts and uncles and cousins and everybody saying they're making signs, and they've already had a bunch of T-shirts made and all this stuff. It's been a lot of fun just getting to hear the excitement that they have, too."
Butler, Crow earn Royals monthly honors
KANSAS CITY -- Billy Butler and Aaron Crow were named the Royals' Player of the Month and Pitcher of the Month, respectively, for the month of April by the Kansas City media.
Butler led the team with a .329 batting average in April, adding team highs with five home runs and 16 RBIs. He ranked third in the American League with 11 multihit games during the season's first month.
Crow, a reliever, posted a 2.38 ERA and struck out 11 batters over 11 1/3 innings of work during the month. He ranked third in the AL among pitchers with at least 10 innings pitched with a batting average against of .132.
Cone, Singleton to attend Legends Luncheon
KANSAS CITY -- With the Yankees in town to play the Royals, a pair of former All-Stars will make their way to the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum.
Former Royals Cy Young Award winner David Cone and three-time All-Star Ken Singleton, who are both members of the Yankees' broadcast team, will be the special guests for the year's first Legends Luncheon hosted by the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum.
The luncheon, hosted by former Royals Willie Wilson and Al Fitzmorris, will take place Friday from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. CT at the Bruce Watkins Cultural Heritage Center, located at 3700 Blue Parkway in Kansas City. Tickets for the event cost $25 per person, with proceeds benefiting the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum.
Chenoweth booked for KC's All-Star Fun Run
KANSAS CITY -- If the MLB All-Star Game Charity 5K & Fun Run has a seventh-inning stretch, organizers won't have to look too far to find someone to sing "Take Me Out to the Ball Game."
Award-winning actress and singer Kristin Chenoweth will join former Royals All-Stars George Brett and Mike Sweeney at the event, which takes place Sunday, July 8, in downtown Kansas City. The Emmy and Tony award winner is a Stand Up to Cancer ambassador, and currently stars in the ABC series "GCB."
Chenoweth will cheer on participants and help begin the event, which benefits the Prostate Cancer Foundation, Stand Up to Cancer and the greater Kansas City affiliate of Susan G. Komen for the Cure, with Major League Baseball donating 100 percent of net profits to the organizations.
"My mom is a breast cancer survivor, and I'm inspired by her every day," Chenoweth said. "Cancer is a disease that has touched far too many lives, and I am so honored to be part of the All-Star Charity 5K and Fun Run on behalf of Stand Up to Cancer."
Vinnie Duber is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.