04/11/12 3:30 PM ET
Kansas City ready for Royal welcome on Friday
By Rick Eymer / Special to MLB.com
Bourgeois was in Kansas City as a member of the Chicago White Sox in September 2008. Sanchez pitched for the San Francisco Giants in an Interleague contest there the same year.
"It's a great ballpark with a lot of premier additions to it," Bourgeois said. "I enjoy playing outfield there and running down the ball. No doubt it's going to be fun."
Royals fans have been waiting in anticipation for their first glimpse of the team since Spring Training opened in mid-February. The waiting ends on Friday night.
"It's time to settle in and enjoy Kansas City for a while," Bourgeois said of the Royals' 10-game homestand.
Sanchez said playing with one of the youngest lineups in the Majors has been refreshing.
"You see something different every day," said the left-hander, who makes his next start Saturday. "These guys make coming to the park enjoyable. It makes you really want to play."
Francoeur brings the bacon -- and pizza, too
OAKLAND -- Jeff Francoeur has a knack for congeniality that reaches beyond the confines of Kauffman Stadium and Kansas City Royals fans. He's winning fans in opponents' ballparks.
Not just any fans either, but a group of 10-15 people who entrench themselves in Section 149 of the right-field bleachers at the Oakland Coliseum. Francoeur inspired "Bacon Tuesday," an annual event for each time the Royals play in Oakland.
Not even a rainy night could dampen the spirits of the fun-loving Francoeur and his hardy band of followers.
"You don't get to build relationships like here in right field every day," Francoeur said before the Royals' series finale in Oakland on Wednesday. "I just enjoy them. It's a lot of fun."
Francoeur plans to wear the special T-shirt presented to him during Tuesday night's second rain delay. He's getting another one signed by the fans in right field which he plans to frame.
The bright green shirt, inscribed "Second annual Bacon Tuesday, sponsored by Jeff Francoeur," hangs in his locker amid a myriad of blue clothing.
"The first time we came out here last year, I started playing around with them," Francoeur said. "We were here twice last year, and toward the end, they started liking me. They asked me if I liked bacon, and I really do love bacon, and told them."
Francoeur, on a Tuesday night, wrapped a $100 bill around a baseball and threw it to the group, suggesting they buy beer and bacon with the money. It's been a match made in bacon heaven ever since.
On Wednesday, Francoeur surprised the group by ordering 20 pizzas that were delivered to them during the game.
"Next year, I guess it will be the third annual, and I'm going to get here early and eat bacon with them in the parking lot," Francoeur said. "It's been great, something special."
Cain sits after injuring groin on highlight catch
OAKLAND -- Center fielder Lorenzo Cain was out of the Royals' lineup on Wednesday against the A's, a move that was planned and then finalized when he was injured on Tuesday night.
Cain suffered a slight strain of the left groin when he bumped into the wall while running down Daric Barton's long drive in the second inning of the Royals' rain-shortened 3-0 victory.
"He feels better," manager Ned Yost said. "We'll check him tomorrow and see where we are for the workout and then make a decision for Friday. I'm hoping he's going to be OK."
The Royals have an open date on Thursday but will work out at Kauffman Stadium in advance of Friday's 3:10 p.m. CT home opener.
Cain's catch made TV highlights as he raced from what Yost called "a mile away" to grab the ball. Yost planned to start Mitch Maier on Wednesday anyway, and he won't rush Cain back if he's not ready.
"After seeing that catch, I want to see a lot more," Yost said. "I don't know how he did it, I don't know how he got there."
Paulino to throw batting practice on Thursday
OAKLAND -- Disabled pitcher Felipe Paulino successfully tested his right forearm in a bullpen session on Tuesday and is scheduled to throw live batting practice during Thursday's workout.
"Everything's good," Paulino said. "I feel good, strong, I want to help this team now. The trainers did a great job and got me back quick."
Paulino was competing for a starting job when he experienced forearm tightness in Spring Training and was placed on the 15-day disabled list. He's expected to go on a Minor League rehabilitation assignment soon.
Royals extend contract with Naturals
OAKLAND -- The Royals have extended their player development contract with the Northwest Arkansas Naturals through 2016.
A member of the Double-A Texas League, Northwest Arkansas has been a Royals affiliate since 2008. The Naturals, playing in Springdale, Ark., reached the playoffs in each of the last four years and won the league championship in '10.
"Our partnership has been tremendous, and the only reason the extension is not for longer is because of Minor League baseball restrictions limiting deals of this kind to a maximum of four years," said Scott Sharp, Royals director of Minor League operations.
Rick Eymer is a contributor to MLB.com. Reporter Dick Kaegel contributed to this story. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.