05/09/10 2:58 PM ET
Maier now the 'first' to check lineup card
Outfielder muses about his newfound position
By Dick Kaegel / MLB.com
"I had to come and look at the lineup today and see if I was playing center or if I was playing first," he said wryly before Sunday's game against the Rangers.
A former catcher, a former third baseman and a current center fielder, Maier was pressed into two innings of service at first base for the Royals in Saturday night's game. He picked up a bouncer down the line and flipped to pitcher Gil Meche for an out and caught a throw later in the seventh inning.
"I was actually more concerned about the pickoff throw from the pitcher. Because I'd fielded ground balls but I'd never taken an actual pickoff from the pitcher," Maier said. "So that was a first, that was a new experience."
It came with speedy Elvis Andrus at first base in the eighth and Meche made a pickoff toss.
"You think it'd be easy, which it was the way he threw it, but I'd never caught it and had to tag a guy," Maier said.
The tag was late but a moment later, catcher Jason Kendall called for a pitchout and tossed out Andrus trying to steal. Maier asked first baseman Billy Butler, who was operating as the DH, for a critique.
"I asked Billy if he saw my snap-tag or whatever you call it and he said it was good," he said.
Maier, of course, checked the lineup card and found he was back in center field on Sunday.
"But, yeah, I'm going to be a little more comfortable in center field," he said.
Struggling Getz gets Sunday off
ARLINGTON -- Second baseman Chris Getz, after going 0-for-3 with two strikeouts on Saturday night, was out of the Royals' starting lineup on Sunday.
Mike Aviles, who had played second base the previous two games and had a pinch-hit single in Saturday night's 3-2 loss to the Rangers, was back at second.
Since coming back from the disabled list on April 30, Getz was just 4-for-23 (.174), with three RBIs.
"It looks like he's caught a little bit in-between," manager Trey Hillman said. "I was in the cages as he did his drill work and that was very good. So I still think it's in there but we're in a situation, losing four in a row, where you want to get as many bats as you can. We're not scoring as many runs as we did early. We need to facilitate some runs at the bottom of the order."
Vlad has grabbed Royals' attention
ARLINGTON -- Just in case the Royals hadn't noticed, the Dallas Morning News' Evan Grant had a Sunday column on how well the Rangers' Vladimir Guerrero hits at Rangers Ballpark.
Let's see, in the first three games, Guerrero was 5-for-10 with three homers and six RBIs against the Royals.
"I think it's well-documented. I think everybody knows how comfortable Vlady is hitting in this ballpark. He's a one-man wrecking crew on any given day in this ballpark," Royals manager Trey Hillman said.
This is his first season with Arlington as his home park and, prior to Sunday's game, this year he was hitting .458 (27-for-59) with five homers, 16 RBIs. That was the best home average in the American League.
In his career, Guerrero had hit safely in 57-of-66 career games at Rangers Ballpark and was the leader, going back at least 60 years, of all hitters who'd had at least 200 plate appearances in any ballpark in the land. His mark was .409 (103-for-252).
According to Grant's column, Guerrero, even in his days with the Angels, felt comfortable when visiting Texas. Maybe the summer heat made him feel like he was home in the Dominican Republic.
"It might be a reason," Guerrero told Grant. "It's the same heat as back home. I like it hot."
But, on Sunday, it was a relatively cool 66 degrees at game time and Guerrero went 0-for-3, lowering his average at Arlington to a still quite warm .404.
Dick Kaegel is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.