BOSTON -- Outfielder Bubba Starling, the Royals' first-round Draft choice of 2011, is an All-Star in his first pro season.
Starling and two other players on the Burlington, N.C., Rookie classification club were named to the 14-member Appalachian League All-Star team. Also selected were third baseman Patrick Leonard and designated hitter Mark Threlkeld. Starling was picked as the utility outfielder on the squad.
In addition, Burlington's Tommy Shields was named the Appalachian League Manager of the Year. The first-year skipper guided the Royals to the East Division lead with a 39-22 record, and has a clinched a playoff spot with five regular-season games left. Shields joined the Royals after six years as the Braves' Minor League infield coordinator.
Starling, 20, from Gardner, Kan., is hitting .282 with 10 home runs and 33 RBIs in 50 games. He was the fifth overall choice in the 2011 Draft.
Leonard, 19, from Katy, Texas, has 13 homers and 43 RBIs in 57 games. He was taken in the fifth round in 2011. Threlkeld, 22, from Louisiana Tech University, has 10 homers and 37 RBIs in 58 games. He was a 25th-round selection in 2011.
Young righty Zimmer has minor elbow surgery
BOSTON -- Pitcher Kyle Zimmer, the Royals' first-round pick in this year's First-Year Player Draft, underwent what the team called minor elbow surgery on Thursday.
The Royals announced that loose bodies were removed from the right-hander's pitching elbow at the University of Kansas Medical Center in Kansas City. He'll miss the rest of this season, but it's not expected to affect his preparation for next year.
"This procedure was anticipated for Kyle upon physical exam during the Draft selection process, so it did not come as a surprise," Royals head athletic trainer Nick Kenney said in a statement. "We feel very good about the outcome, and expect a full recovery in six-to-eight weeks. We do not anticipate this procedure will alter any of Kyle's offseason preparation for the 2013 season."
General manager Dayton Moore said the Royals were aware of the problem prior to drafting Zimmer.
"Going into the Draft, it was documented in some publications that he had loose bodies in there so we knew it, and that at some point in the next six to 12 months that he was probably going to have to have them removed, and our medical team decided it was time to go ahead and get it done," Moore said. "But everything looks good."
Moore said that post-Draft physical examinations showed no ligament damage in the elbow, a crucial point these days for the Royals who have been hit by four Tommy John surgeries this year.
"The film studies we did prior to signing him showed the ligament looked great and the shoulder looked great and that's still the case," Moore said.
Zimmer, 20, pitched with two lower Minor League clubs this season: the AZL Royals in the Rookie classification Arizona League and Kane County in the Class A Midwest League.
He had a combined record of 3-3 with a 2.04 ERA in nine starts, and he compiled 42 strikeouts in 39 2/3 innings against only eight walks. He gave up one home run.
Drafted fifth overall on June 4 out of the University of San Francisco, Zimmer signed three days later for a signing bonus of $3 million.
It's anticipated the surgery will protect that investment.
"Those loose bodies jump around in there and limit his range of motion, so instead of us having to do this in June of next year and he misses a month and a half, let's get it done now so he's ready to go," Moore said.
Giavotella pumped up about Fenway debut
BOSTON -- Royals second baseman Johnny Giavotella was fired up about playing his first game at Fenway Park on Friday night.
"I'm very excited about it, it's going to be a fun time," Giavotella said. "I know it's got a lot of tradition, it's been around forever and that Babe Ruth played here -- and all the Red Sox and Yankees greats I heard about growing up so I'm excited to play on the same field they did."
Giavotella got to play his first game at Fenway in the grand old establishment's 100th anniversary season. The Royals lost, 4-3, as he went 1-for-4, including an RBI single that gave the Royals a 3-2 lead in the fourth inning.
Fenway fans are seeing a confident, content and relaxed Giavotella who was playing his sixth game since being recalled last Saturday to replace injured second baseman Chris Getz.
Giavotella was just 3-for-18 (.167) in his first five games, but he ran smack into five pretty formidable starters -- Chicago's Jake Peavy and Jose Quintana and Tampa Bay's Jeremy Hellickson, David Price and James Shields.
"It's definitely a challenge and I didn't really experience that in Triple-A -- facing guys this good," he said.
Manager Ned Yost said his focus right now is Giavotella's defense, an area needing improvement, more than his offense.
"He turned a tough double play the other day and looked much better doing it. His range is more fluid, his hands are softer," Yost said.
Giavotella believes he's made progress.
"I'm feeling very comfortable out there," he said. "I feel like no matter where a ground ball is hit to me, I'm going to make the play."
Now about Fenway and that left-field wall that might seem very inviting to a young, right-handed batter.
"I always think about the middle and focus on spraying the ball around," Giavotella said. "Maybe if I get a ball inside and put a good swing on it, maybe it'll hit the Green Monster."
Or perhaps sail over it.
"Even someone my size can get it out of here," said the 5-foot-8, 180-pound Giavotella.
Foxworthy among Yost's guests in Boston
BOSTON -- Royals manager Ned Yost was entertaining his pals from Georgia, comedian Jeff Foxworthy, Larry Burns and Glen Garner before Friday night's game at Fenway Park.
All three visitors were in Royals uniforms with No. 1 on their backs.
It was a one-day stay. They had to get back home to prepare for the Jeff Foxworthy Grit Chips 200, a NASCAR Truck Series race next Friday night at Atlanta Motor Speedway.
Dick Kaegel is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.