08/04/11 12:09 AM ET
Hosmer surprised by Rookie of the Month honor
By Dick Kaegel and Adam Holt / MLB.com
The award was even more of a surprise, considering at the beginning of the year, Hosmer wasn't sure he'd even be in the big leagues at this point. He made his Major League debut on May 6.
"It's crazy. It was almost like, beginning of the year, hopefully July's a good time to get up here," Hosmer said. "If you'd have told me I was getting Rookie of the Month in July -- it's a pretty crazy feeling."
For the month, Hosmer hit .306 with a .358 on-base percentage and .523 slugging percentage. Hosmer led all AL rookies with 34 hits and nine doubles in July, adding five home runs and 19 RBIs. He had a career-best 11-game hitting streak from July 19-30 and recorded 10 multi-hit games. He has collected multiple hits in 27 of his 76 games played, and has the most multi-hit games of any AL rookie.
The left-handed slugger leads the Royals with 16 go-ahead RBIs and nine game-winning RBIs, including a walk-off double in a 5-4, 10-inning win over the Rays on July 23.
Royals manager Ned Yost was happy to see his first baseman recognized outside of Kansas City.
"It's nice to see him get national attention on something like that," Yost said. "I think he gets our attention every night with the way that he plays and I'm satisfied with that. For him to get American League Rookie of the Month is a pretty special award."
The Royals have had players win the award five times, the last was pitcher Brian Bannister in August, 2007, who also earned the award for June that season. Angel Berroa (July, 2003) and Billy Butler (July, 2007) are the other Royals to be honored.
Hosmer, a Florida native, entered Wednesday night's game against Baltimore with a .284 average, 10 home runs and 47 RBIs overall. He also was leading AL rookies in on-base percentage (.333) and walks (23), and ranked second in total hits (89), doubles (19) and total bases (142).
While winning Rookie of the Month was rewarding, Hosmer said the focus is still on winning ballgames.
"It just shows that hard work and all that is starting to pay off," he said. "You just can't -- you've got to look at that as a good thing to keep going, you can't really dwell on it."
Pina is smash hit in Major League debut
KANSAS CITY -- As excited as catcher Manny Pina was in the hours leading up to his Major League debut on Wednesday night, he might have been in an even better mood after it.
"Oh man, you have no idea how excited I am," Pina said after the Royals' 6-2 win over the Orioles. "That was so amazing, really good."
Pina, batting ninth, may have been a bit too excited in his first at-bat, popping out to second on the first pitch he saw. But he lashed a double down the left-field line in the seventh inning for his first Major league hit and later scored on Billy Butler's three-run homer.
In the first inning, he showed off his arm, throwing out Vladimir Guerrero as he tried to steal second.
And in the grand scheme of things, his most important contribution might have been helping starter Luke Hochevar pitch into the eighth inning. Pina had never caught Hochevar before, even in Spring Training, but nevertheless, the right-hander went 7 1/3 innings, allowing just two runs, one earned, on four hits with seven strikeouts and a walk.
"It was great," manager Ned Yost said of Pina's performance. "It was funner to watch the beer shower with the kids. They really enjoy that when they get their first hit.
"But he did an awesome job behind the plate. After the game, Hoch told me, 'It's like I've been throwing to him for three years.' He did a nice job back there calling the game. Sets up nice, receives the ball nice, blocks the ball. Made a great throw to throw out Guerrero and mixed in two hits. So it was a great night for Manny."
Pina wasn't the only player to make a debut, either. Over at third base, Yamaico Navarro made his Royals debut, going 2-for-3 with a run scored and a walk.
"He did a great job, made a real nice play down the line, swung the bat real well and he was very solid," Yost said of Navarro. "I'm very pleased with what we saw from him tonight and we'll see him again [Thursday]."
When he finally got back to his locker after showering, Pina was given the first ball he caught in the big leagues, the opening pitch of the game. The ball he hit for a double and the ball he threw out Guerrero with are being put in a frame for him.
Pina wanted the last ball of the game too, but relinquished it to reliever Greg Holland, who earned his first career save.
Treanor gets his own view of plate collision
KANSAS CITY -- Royals catcher Matt Treanor, out with a concussion, has seen the video replay of his collision with the Indians' Matt LaPorta and it wasn't a pleasant sight.
Treanor was knocked out as he tagged out LaPorta to complete a double play at the plate in the sixth inning on Saturday night at Cleveland.
"I just caught his shoulder with the side of my face -- my mask didn't absorb any of it," Treanor said. "The mask got thrown off and the blow basically went across my face, and I was out. There was no fighting it, I was just out."
Treanor has no problems with LaPorta's approach.
"To me it wasn't dirty, he just came in and stayed in the same direction, so it was a good play," he said.
Treanor is undergoing tests to evaluate his progress and is feeling better. He does sometimes feel lethargic and has had trouble sleeping.
"Definitely the scariest moment I've had in a long time," he said. "I went back and looked at it and didn't like the way it looked. The way I got up and my eyes -- I was looking right through people."
Kevin Shank, Fox Sports Kansas City TV producer, found at least 11 videos of Treanor taking home-plate hits this season.
"That sounds about right," Treanor said. "This year I've had more plays at the plate than the last three years combined."
Fellow catcher Brayan Pena has had several, too.
Manager Ned Yost quickly pinpointed a big reason.
"Because we've got superbly throwing outfielders," Yost said. "There's not a lot of clubs that get that involved because their outfielders don't throw nearly as good as our outfielders."
Going into Wednesday night's game against the Orioles, Royals outfielders led the Majors with 38 assists and they'd been involved in throwing out 20 runners at the plate. That's the most in Royals history, at least dating to 1974.
Treanor is on the new seven-day concussion disabled list and doubts he'll be out too much longer than that.
"If it is longer, it's not going to be weeks or anything like that," he said.
Meantime, Manny Pina was in the Royals' lineup at catcher on Wednesday night for his big league debut. Yost said he hadn't decided on any rotation for Pina and Pena, saying he'd decide who would catch on a daily basis.
Moose takes time out to correct swing
KANSAS CITY -- Royals rookie third baseman Mike Moustakas is getting two days off to work on fixing his swing.
"It's mechanical more than anything else," manager Ned Yost said. "But once you start adding mechanics and pressing a little bit at the plate, trying to get results, it just makes it worse. So we're just giving him a couple of days to sit back and relax a little bit and work on these mechanics with [hitting coach] Kevin Seitzer."
Moustakas said the problem has been turning his front shoulder too early, leading him to have trouble using his hands to square up the ball.
"I've been missing a lot of good pitches to hit, partly because I've been doing that and fouling balls off, flying out to left," he said.
Entering Wednesday's game against the Orioles, Moustakas was hitting .194 for the season with only seven extra base hits.
Yost said he's giving Moustakas two days off because he doesn't want to add the pressure of playing in a game, allowing his young third baseman to concentrate on his swing.
This also gives the Royals a chance to play recent acquisition Yamaico Navarro, who started on Wednesday. Navarro hasn't played since being acquired in a trade from Boston on Saturday.
Moustakas isn't too worried about the issue, even though it's not something he's faced before.
"This is really the first time I've had this problem with leaking my front shoulder," Moustaksas said. "I've had other problems I was able to correct, with lunging too much, or getting too far with my front foot. This is just something new and I'm happy I've got Seitz here to catch it and nip it in the bud while we can."
Coleman aiding Royals' solid relief corps
KANSAS CITY -- Royals relief pitcher Louis Coleman wasn't happy with giving up a run in Tuesday's 8-2 loss to the Orioles, but overall, the rookie has been enjoying a very good season.
Coleman pitched a career-high 3 1/3 innings on Tuesday, giving up a bunt single and an RBI double to start the sixth, but having no trouble outside of that two-batter stretch.
The LSU product was named Royals Pitcher of the Month for July after posting a 0.61 ERA -- lowest in the American League among pitchers with at least 14 2/3 innings. Coleman held opponents to a .167 batting average entering Wednesday and allowed just 13.3 percent of inherited runners to score, tying him for the top spot in the AL among pitchers with at least 30 inherited runners.
He offers a modest explanation for his recent success though.
"They're missing some pitches every now and then," Coleman said.
He credits improved control and cutting down on walks for the upswing in performance, saying early in the season, he was getting too excited about being in the Majors.
"I know when I first got up here, I was walking, throwing a lot more balls than usual," Coleman said. "And I think that's helped, trying to attack the zone and get ahead, and try to see if we can get an out on three pitches or less."
Francoeurs leading Back to School efforts
KANSAS CITY -- Relief efforts for Joplin continue with the Royals hosting the Back to School Drive to benefit Joplin schools on Thursday and Friday at Kauffman Stadium.
Royals outfielder Jeff Francoeur and his wife, Catie, are teaming up with the Royals Wives to collect school supplies and backpacks as the Royals host the Orioles and Tigers.
Francoeur is one of many players who stayed in Joplin when the city hosted USA Baseball's Tournament of Stars from 2001-06 and tryouts for the U18 national team.
"For us, it means a great deal," Francoeur said. "Hopefully a lot of fans will participate and give back because that's something that, we only see it on TV, a few people maybe have gotten over there, but they're living it every day. For us, I think it's the least we can do to try and help them out."
Given the opportunity to help contribute more to the relief efforts, the Back to School Drive made a lot of sense for the Francoeurs.
"When we started doing the Teams Unite thing, they reached out to my wife and I," Francoeur said. "Especially, my wife is a teacher, my whole family is teachers, so we're involved in education. To be able to help the kids out, try and get something going like that, for us, it was a no-brainer. We felt like it was the least we could do."
Dick Kaegel is a reporter for MLB.com. Adam Holt is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.