04/06/11 1:56 AM ET
May accepts assignment to Omaha
By Dick Kaegel / MLB.com
May was designated for assignment last Wednesday. He's expected to join the Storm Chasers for Thursday's opener at Albuquerque.
A converted infielder and outfielder, May was the odd man out when the Royals decided they didn't want to open the season with two relatively inexperienced catchers with him and Brayan Pena. Treanor, a veteran, was purchased from the Rangers and has been splitting the catching with Pena.
Bullpen putting stamp on Royals' wins
KANSAS CITY -- Maybe the Royals were taking a chance on their youthful bullpen, with four rookies in it, but as manager Ned Yost noted on Tuesday night, it's paying off.
The bullpen, young and old, combined for six scoreless innings in a 12-inning, 7-6 victory over the White Sox. There were two innings by rookie Aaron Crow, one by closer Joakim Soria, one by veteran Robinson Tejeda, 1 1/3 by sophomore Kanekoa Texeira and two-thirds by rookie Jeremy Jeffress.
And all four of the Royals' wins have gone to relievers.
"As young as they are, they've got ice in their veins," first baseman Billy Butler said. "That's the reason we're in the situation we are now because they're going out there and consistently keeping us in the game, not giving up runs and limiting the damage. Especially in these close games we've been playing, the bullpen's big because if they have a bad inning we don't have a chance to win. They're just as big as anything in these first five games."
Sure enough. The bullpen has given up just four earned runs in 23 innings so far for a 1.57 ERA.
"Our bullpen's been phenomenal, our bullpen's been great. Those young kids have done their part," Yost said.
"You know Robby [Tejeda] is going to be good, you know Jack [Joakim Soria] is going to be good, but those young kids have come in and really solidified that bullpen down there."
Crow, Texeira, Tim Collins, Nate Adcock and Soria have yet to be scored upon. Sean O'Sullivan has given up two runs, Tejeda and Jeffress just one each -- and that's it.
Jeffress added an extra element to Tuesday night's excitement, catching White Sox pinch-runner Brent Lillibridge between second base and third at a crucial moment in the 12th inning.
"My bullpen coach [Steve Foster] told me to watch the runner on second because he can run a little bit and he told me to mix it up with inside moves, no looks and stuff like that. I tried the inside move and it worked," Jeffress said. "I was ready for it and I don't think he was."
There were a few moments of confusion when the umpire first signaled safe, but his colleague saw third baseman Mike Aviles had definitely tagged Lillibridge.
"Oh, yeah, I tagged him easy," Aviles said.
Third-base umpire Hunter Wendelstedt, who made the original safe call, apparently thought Aviles had the ball in his hand and had made the tag with an empty glove. But umpire Bob Davidson, watching from near second base, clearly saw Aviles pull the ball out of his glove as the play ended.
Escobar dazzles with slick play at short
KANSAS CITY -- When shortstop Alcides Escobar glided into the hole for Alex Rios' ground ball and threw him out to end the White Sox 12th inning, Royals fans might have been surprised, but not reliever Jeremy Jeffress.
"I saw him do that so many times with the Brewers, he's just amazing," Jeffress said. "Like I told people when I got here, he's the greatest player, the greatest guy, a great athlete all around."
Escobar came to the Royals with Jeffress and two other players in the winter deal that sent pitcher Zack Greinke and shortstop Yuniesky Betancourt to the Brewers.
"That guy's just a really, really good Major League shortstop," teammate Billy Butler said. "He does things defensively that are amazing, it's just unreal."
Butler thought Rios was going to be safe and keep the inning going.
"Off the bat you think it's a hit and he throws the guy out by five feet. That's amazing, it's unreal, it's something that shouldn't happen and he made it look easy," Butler said.
Manager Ned Yost thought Escobar might try to force Paul Konerko at second base, but no.
"When I saw the ground ball, I thought I had time to make an out," Escobar said. "I never thought about second base, I threw to first.
He got his man with astonishing ease.
Royals believe Suppan will be good influence
KANSAS CITY -- Pitcher Jeff Suppan, who is joining the Royals' Triple-A club at Omaha, gets a solid endorsement from manager Ned Yost.
Yost managed Suppan for two years, 2007-08, after the right-hander signed a four-year, $42 million contract with the Brewers. In those two seasons, Suppan was a solid pitcher with a 22-22 record.
"I always liked him. A professional, really knows how to pitch. He's a Matt Treanor-type guy. Really good to have around, a good teammate," Yost said, referring to the Royals' veteran catcher.
Yost believes that Suppan will be a good influence on the young players, especially pitchers, with the Minor League club.
"He's as good a guy as you're going to meet, as good a teammate as you're going to want," Yost said.
Suppan believes that building character among players is vital to a team.
"It's something that you can't measure on paper or by radar gun, but that matters in how a team functions," he said.
Suppan, 36, and a 16-year big league veteran, was looking forward to being something of a mentor while trying to fashion a return to the Majors.
"I've always enjoyed talking baseball and, shoot, I can learn something from them," Suppan said. "That's the beauty of baseball. The one thing I've learned in baseball is that the more you know, the less you know. The more knowledge you gain, you realize that there's so much more out there that you can learn. I always continued to try to learn. This is a different chapter in my career and I'm looking forward to the challenge."
Speedy Jarrod Dyson is on the Royals' roster, primarily because he can be an effective pinch-runner in the late innings. In the opening series against the Angels, he was used that way three times and had two stolen bases and scored one run. It's a role that fits Dyson quite well. "Might not be anyone better in baseball," manager Ned Yost said. ... After stealing a Major League high 55 bases in Spring Training, the Royals carried that into the regular season and, through Monday, led the big leagues with nine steals in 10 attempts. ... The Royals still had three relievers left in the bullpen when Sunday's 13-inning, 12-9 victory ended. But what position player would Yost use to pitch in the event he ever did run out of pitchers in a game? He shook his head and said he'd never done that as a manager. "I don't like to do it," Yost said. "It's junking up the game." It's happened just nine times in the club history, the last time on July 21, 2008, when Tony Pena Jr. had a one-inning whirl at it. Later, he converted from a shortstop to a pitcher. ... Starter Kyle Davies rejoined the club after attending his grandmother's funeral. ... Sunday's 13-inning win over the Angels was the Royals' most-watched game on FOX Sports Kansas City since May 17, 2009. It drew a 5.9 rating, topping Opening Day's 5.4.
Dick Kaegel is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.