09/11/07 8:52 PM ET
Notes: Musser's season finished
Reliever punches chair in frustration, breaks non-pitching hand
By Dick Kaegel / MLB.com
Even though Musser stood in the outfield and occasionally picked up a batted ball, he didn't do much. With good reason.
Musser, a left-handed reliever, is out for the season because of a broken right hand suffered when he punched a chair in the clubhouse on Monday night.
"I came in last night after throwing. I was aggravated about how I've been performing lately and took my aggression out on a chair," Musser said.
"And the chair won."
Musser, standing in the dugout after BP, pointed to the pinky on his right hand.
"Unfortunately, it broke right below the knuckle here. It's what they call a 'boxer break,'" he said.
"I take all the responsibility. It's my fault. And I don't have a time machine where I can rewind the clock."
Musser entered Monday night's game against the Twins in the sixth inning with the score 2-2, one out and a runner on first. Justin Morneau immediately banged an RBI double to snap the tie.
Subsequently, Musser had a walk and a strikeout and gave up a single. He left with the bases loaded. No more runs scored -- Joel Peralta got the third out -- but Musser was steamed. Still lingering, too, was the memory of his outing on Friday night against the Yankees when he allowed a tie-breaking run and took the loss.
"I guess the chair slammed into his hand," manager Buddy Bell said wryly, "so it was a mishap."
Pressed for details, Bell couldn't offer much.
"I just heard he punched the chair and I didn't want to hear any more after that," he said.
The break will keep Musser out of game action for four to six weeks.
"We've all been there and some of us have not had major problems. But Neal has and he won't be able to pitch the rest of the year," Bell said. "We're still deciding whether he's going to stay here or go home. He'll probably go home for a few days."
Musser is supposed to start training with Team USA next month for the IBF World Cup and doesn't expect this injury to interfere with that.
"I don't think so. Right now it's only four to six weeks and I go out to Arizona on Oct. 22 to get ready for that and it's not until Nov. 1 through 18 so I plan on being ready for that," Musser said.
"I'm going to keep playing catch and throwing bullpens. Once that five or six weeks rolls around I can take this [cast] off and start catching my own baseballs."
Musser finishes his Royals season with a 0-1 record and a 4.38 ERA in 17 games. He was called up from Triple-A Omaha five times this season. For Omaha, he did not allow an earned run in the first 26 of 32 appearances, a span of 45 1/3 innings. His final mark for the O-Royals was 4-1, eight saves and a 0.49 ERA.
A mild-mannered guy around the clubhouse, Musser obviously is competitive on the field, but doesn't seem like the type to be punching a chair.
"I don't picture myself as that guy, either," Musser said. "I don't remember myself ever doing that and, of course, the one time that you do it, something bad comes from it."
At least the big left-hander didn't lead with his left.
"I guess I could say I was smart enough to do that," he said. "But I don't consider myself very smart today."
De La Rosa activated: Bell said it wasn't related to the Musser incident, but left-handed pitcher Jorge De La Rosa came off the disabled list before Tuesday night's game.
De La Rosa, a starter before going on the disabled list on Aug. 1 with a sore elbow, will be used in the bullpen the rest of the season.
"Probably longer than shorter," Bell said. "Not knowing what his command is going to be like, it'd be tough to use him in a shorter role. We'll just have to wait and see. We won't use him as a starter."
Bell was asked to evaluate De La Rosa's season, which included an 8-11 record and a 5.46 ERA in 23 games (22 starts).
"We were hoping it would be better. We were hoping it would be more consistent command-wise. He started off great, then he just ran into some delivery problems and that turns into command issues," Bell said.
"Why? I really don't know. He wasn't doing anything different or [pitching coach Bob McClure] wasn't trying to get him to do anything different. Maybe it's a confidence issue, I don't know."
Bell said De La Rosa had great stuff, but had difficulty repeating the correct delivery as often as necessary.
Remembering 9/11: First-pitch ceremonies marked the remembrance of Sept. 11, 2001, before Tuesday night's game against the Twins at Kauffman Stadium.
Uniformed representatives of the U.S. military branches threw out pitches to Royals alumni. The pitchers were Dave Kennett (Navy), Holly Keough (Army), Seth Boehmer (Marines), Justin Johnson (Air Force) and Donald DeLuney (Coast Guard); the catchers were Kevin Seitzer, Jim Eisenreich, John Wathan, Dennis Leonard and John Mayberry.
In another wave of first pitches, Ron Jenkins (police officers), Craig Pittman (firefighters) and Phillip Black (medical workers) tossed to Mayberry, Paul Splittorff and Frank White.
To top it off, a decorated Operation Iraqi Freedom combat veteran and current Army Reservist, 2nd Lt. Brandy Vance, threw out a ceremonial first pitch to Royals captain Mike Sweeney.
A moment of silence was observed and a huge American flag was unfurled in the outfield. The National Anthem was performed by the U.S. Army Infantry Band.
The Royals gave free tickets to military personnel and police, fire and emergency responders.
In Buck's seat: Jill Hyson of Blue Springs, Mo., was in the Buck O'Neil Legacy Seat on Tuesday night. An X-ray technician and Army Reservist, Hyson was at the Pentagon during the 9/11 terrorist attack. After being evacuated she helped a critically burned officer, Lt. Col. Birdwell, and commandeered a vehicle that rushed him to Georgetown Hospital where his life was saved.
Coming up: The Royals wrap up their three-game series against the Twins at 1:10 p.m. CT on Wednesday at Kauffman Stadium. In a matchup of right-handers, the Royals will send Gil Meche against Carlos Silva.
Dick Kaegel is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.