08/18/10 1:01 AM ET
Royals place Bannister on 15-day DL
Righty pitcher has rotator cuff tendinitis; Miller to be called up
By Dick Kaegel / MLB.com
His roster spot will be taken by outfielder Jai Miller, who is being called up from Triple-A Omaha. A right-handed batter, Miller has 18 home runs, 57 RBIs and a .252 average. He was claimed off waivers from Oakland on April 26.
Bannister had been assigned to the bullpen while trying to work out some mechanics so he could return to the rotation. He last pitched on Aug. 2 in a start. His record in 22 starts is 7-11 with a 5.95 ERA.
His assignment to the disabled list was backdated to Aug. 8. He becomes the third starting pitcher on the disabled list, joining Gil Meche and Luke Hochevar. Reliever Robinson Tejeda also is injured.
"He has some weakness in his shoulder due to the tendinitis, so we backed him off a start to see if we could build him back up," Royals manager Ned Yost said.
"He's been working real hard on all of the exercises that he does and he's actually starting to feel a little bit better," Yost added. "He threw a side today and he felt pretty good. We'll throw him a side again in a couple of days and evaluate then and decide from there."
Yost said that, if the side sessions go well, Bannister could be sent to the Minors for a couple of rehab stats and be ready to return in September when the rosters are expanded.
The Royals had been operating with 13 pitchers, so bringing in Miller gives them an extra position player on the bench.
"The guy's got a lot of pop and can play the outfield," Yost said.
Miller, 25, was drafted by the Florida Marlins in the fourth round of the 2003 First-Year Player Draft. His only Major League game came with them in '08 and resulted in one hitless at-bat.
Bullington relaxes with family after first win
KANSAS CITY -- The Royals' Bryan Bullington says he's a pretty boring guy, so there wasn't much celebrating after his first Major League victory on Sunday against the Yankees. Or on Monday's off-day, either.
"I've got my family here and we just stayed in that night and hung out yesterday," Bullington said. "Pretty low key, didn't do anything exciting."
Bullington savored the time with his wife, Lauren, daughter Isabella, almost 4, and twin sons Matthew and Jack, 10 months.
"With the schedule at Omaha, I hadn't seen my little guys for 3 1/2 weeks, so it was nice to have a day off with the family," he said.
He fielded a few congratulatory phone calls, including one from his Ball State coach Rich Maloney, now at Michigan.
In one of those small world coincidences, Bullington's 1-0 victory over the Yankees was covered by KC Channel 9 sportscaster Nick Griffith, who happened to catch Bullington when they were classmates at Madison (Ind.) High School. Griffith was in his wedding, they've remained friends and Bullington is renting a condo from Griffith in the city.
"We've known each other since we were 11 or 12 and played basketball and baseball together," Bullington said. "I think it was '99 we won a state championship in baseball and he was the catcher on the team. Pretty cool."
This was Bullington's second effective outing in his two starts since being recalled from Omaha. Royals manager Ned Yost was asked what makes a pitcher just up from Triple-A often find success initially.
"Luck. They come up, they've got good stuff, a team hasn't seen them and they can get by a team," Yost said. "But I'm going to tell you, what Bullington did out there the other day, there was no luck involved. He was making quality Major League pitches for eight strong innings. So luck was not a factor in him coming up and pitching a great game."
Bullington, 29, is with his fourth Major League club, and he believes he's ready to settle in and stay.
"Such a big part of this level is feeling that you belong here and then showing it," he said.
Hochevar getting close to rejoining Royals
KANSAS CITY -- Starting pitcher Luke Hochevar, who hasn't pitched since June 11, could be ready to rejoin the Royals' staff soon, or at least by September.
"[He's] pretty close," manager Ned Yost said. "He's throwing a side session, then after that another side session and live batting practice and then another live BP. Then he might go out."
That's not immediate but gives a rough time line for Hochevar's upcoming schedule.
Hochevar last pitched in Cincinnati, going four innings and giving up four runs on six hits before leaving with a right elbow sprain. He's made only 13 starts, posting a 5-4 record and 4.96 ERA.
Ka'aihue gets nod at first; Butler at DH
KANSAS CITY -- The switch-off of first basemen Kila Ka'aihue and Billy Butler continues. On Tuesday night for the opener against the Indians, Ka'aihue was back at first base after Butler had played four straight games. Butler was in the designated-hitter role after Monday's open date.
"So that gives Billy two off-days from the field," Royals manager Ned Yost said. "They've been going at it hard, going at it in early work and doing a nice job of doing everything we've asked them to do. I imagine Billy will play first base four or five days a week and Kila the other ones."
Ka'aihue was trying to get on track at the plate. Going into Tuesday night, he was hitting just .154 after going 2-for-4 on Saturday night against the Yankees and then sitting out Sunday.
Butler had hit in nine of 10 games through Sunday and his .309 average ranked 10th in the American League.
Center fielder-turned-pitcher Brian Anderson has been promoted to Triple-A Omaha, making the leap from Class A Burlington. He's pitched in eight Minor League games, giving up just two earned runs in 10 1/3 innings while registering 11 strikeouts. His last five innings for Burlington were scoreless. ... Third baseman Josh Fields is also on the rise, moving to Double-A Northwest Arkansas after starting his injury rehabilitation work at Surprise. Fields was 4-for-10 with a double, triple and four RBIs in three games for the Rookie League team. Fields is coming back from right hip surgery. ... Bryan Bullington became the sixth pitcher to earn his first big league win this year with the Royals. The other firsts were by Dusty Hughes, Anthony Lerew, Victor Marte, Kanekoa Texeira and Blake Wood. ... The Royals and Cubs were tied for the most one-run games in the Majors with 43. The Royals had the better record, 20-23, to the Cubs' 14-29. ... Sunday's 1-0 victory over the Yankees was KC's first such win over that club in 38 years -- since June 11, 1972, when Dick Drago outdueled Steve Kline at old Muncipal Stadium. Oddly enough, that came just two days after Jim Rooker beat Mike Kekich in the Royals' only other 1-0 win over the Yankees in their 42-year history.
Dick Kaegel is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.