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07/28/12 4:00 PM ET

Lefty Mijares real cut-up in Royals' bullpen

Reliever armed with nasty stuff, along with quick sense of humor

SEATTLE -- Royals relief pitcher Jose Mijares is the kind of guy who'll burst into manager Ned Yost's office to show off his latest mad scientist invention -- a bat with a shoe taped to the end.

"He took [Brayan] Pena's shoe and made it into a pick ax," Yost said, laughing.

Mijares, though, is all serious on the mound. And he's had some seriously good results. When he bailed Luis Mendoza out of a jam in Thursday's series opener at Seattle with two strikeouts and a groundout, Mijares lowered his ERA to 1.67 with a 2-1 record and 37 strikeouts in 37 2/3 innings.

"He's been pitching good all year, really," Yost said. "He's pitched well, he's pitched a lot. I was kind of surprised to see in the stats that he's got the second-most appearances for a reliever. So he's pitching a bunch, too."

Among American League relievers prior to Saturday's games, Joaquin Benoit of Detroit and Boone Logan of the Yankees each had 48 appearances and Mijares was among six with 47, including Royals rookie Kelvin Herrera.

Mijares, a southpaw, is used primarily as a weapon against left-handed batters. The statistics tell why: Left-handed batters hit .203 (16-for-79) against him this year while righties are .283 (17-for-60). Both homers against Mijares were by right-handed hitters.

Mijares depends basically on his fastball, a good slider and, when he's not pitching, his sense of humor.

"The guys in the bullpen love him," Yost said.

Moustakas set to judge fans' Moose calls

SEATTLE -- "Mooooooose!!!"

It's the call heard at Kauffman Stadium almost every time Mike Moustakas comes to bat or fields a ball.

It's also heard at times on the road, such as Anaheim where Moustakas' family and friends congregate.

So now, of course, the Royals are having a Moose call contest.

"The best moose call gets a prize or what-not, and I'm going to end up being the judge of it, I think," Moustakas said.

That he is, and the person who submits the winning moose call video gets two game tickets, a chance to meet with Moustakas and recognition at the Sept. 1 game against the Twins when the first 10,000 fans will receive official "Moose-takas" antlers.

What are the judge's criteria for a winning moose call?

"Just see who's the best at it or who's the funniest -- I don't know, I haven't figured that one out yet," Moustakas said.

Moustakas knows what a real moose sounds like.

"I've heard those," he said. "I don't know what they're coming up with on this one, though. It ought to be pretty good."

During the series at Seattle, there's another moose in the house -- the team mascot known as the Mariner Moose. So far, Moustakas has not met him.

"I haven't even gotten to shake his hand, which is kind of disappointing," Moustakas said. "No conflicts of interest. He may have some hard feelings against me, but I don't have any against him."

Hey, they might be related.

"It could be. We don't know. We need to get together and talk about it, at least before this series is over," Moustakas said. "I know I look more like him than he does me."

For information, go to royals.com. The deadline to enter is Aug. 20.

Cain, Saunders are reunited at Safeco Field

SEATTLE -- The opposing center fielders in this series, the Royals' Lorenzo Cain and the Mariners' Michael Saunders, were teammates on the Tallahassee Community College baseball team in 2005.

"He played right field and I played center," Cain said. "He was a good player."

Cain is from the Tallahassee area, but Saunders is from Victoria, British Columbia. How did the Canadian end up playing for a Florida community college? Turns out, Saunders was on the Canadian junior national team that trained at Disney World's stadium -- and a lot of Florida coaches got a look at him. So he was recruited by Tallahassee CC.

"It was a blast. A lot of fun. It was my first experience in the U.S. playing college sports," Saunders said.

Cain has great respect for his former teammate.

"He's 6-5, he can run, he can hit, he can throw, he can do it all," Cain said.

Ditto for Saunders.

"Lorenzo has quite a story," Saunders said. "I don't think he picked up a baseball until he was like 16 years old. He's just an amazing athlete and makes the game look easy. It was a pleasure to play alongside him."

Now, seven years later, they find themselves on the same Major League field.

"It's a small world," Cain said.

Dick Kaegel is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.