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04/08/09 4:53 PM ET

Illness forces Splittorff to return home

Long-time announcer to be replaced in booth by White

CHICAGO -- Paul Splittorff gave it a determined try but he wasn't quite ready, and Frank White is filling in for his ex-teammate on the Royals' FOX Sports telecasts.

Splittorff teamed with Ryan Lefebvre on the Opening Day telecast on Tuesday from Chicago but had difficulties with his voice and has returned to Kansas City.

"It was obvious to anybody that heard the telecast that he's suffering from an illness and complications with his voice," said Mike Swanson, Royals vice president, communications and broadcasting. "Splitt wanted to open the season and it didn't go as well as it was hoped."

Swanson expressed the hope that Splittorff would recover fully and return to the Royals' telecasts, where he has been a fixture for 22 years.

"We're fortunate to be able to have Frank White to pinch-hit for him, one Royals Hall of Famer for another," Swanson said.

Splittorff missed some basketball assignments during the winter because of his medical difficulties.

He has the most victories by any pitcher in Royals history, 166, and was the team's first 20-game winner in 1973. In 1987, he was inducted into the Royals Hall of Fame.

White, an eight-time Gold Glove second baseman, is in his second season in the Royals' TV booth as an analyst. He also serves the team as a special advisor.

Dick Kaegel is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.