08/02/12 1:35 AM ET
Royals host Special Olympics teams
By Vinnie Duber / MLB.com
Teams from Special Olympics Missouri and Special Olympics Kansas played a baseball game in left field Wednesday afternoon, and a couple of big league pitchers -- the Royals' Bruce Chen and Everett Teaford -- lent their talents to the matchup.
"It's a blast to come out here and get to play with these kids," Teaford said. "I remember how I was as a kid and how much fun baseball was, and it wasn't quite a job yet. Being able to give back to the community, I'm so thankful that I'm in the position I am. I don't think there's enough stuff I could do like this to repay the gratitude I have of being in my position."
Kids and adults alike participated in the game, and had it been an official Major League game, Teaford and Chen would've seen a significant boost to their ERAs. But it was all in good fun, as was the bean ball Teaford threw.
"A guy had a Pujols jersey on, and he was telling me all about how good the Cardinals are. And then he hit a foul ball really far, so I had to brush him back and I just got a little out of control," Teaford joked. "Hopefully I don't get suspended by the league."
Also on hand was Royals legend Willie Wilson.
"It was fun for me," Wilson said. "I don't look at anything or anybody differently. To me, they're normal kids ... so I just try to hang with them and just have as much fun as they're having. They continue to have fun, and I'm going to have fun with them. I got hugged a lot and got talked to a lot, so for me it wasn't anything bad. It was just doing something good for myself and for them."
It wasn't the only Royals community event on Wednesday afternoon. Jeff Francoeur and his wife, Catie, hosted a toy donation event benefiting patients at Children's Mercy Hospitals and Clinics. Francoeur said the event went really well and he was joined by a slew of teammates including Alex Gordon, Billy Butler and Luke Hochevar, among others.
Royals recall Jeffress to fill Broxton's spot
KANSAS CITY -- The Royals recalled right-handed reliever Jeremy Jeffress from Triple-A Omaha ahead of Wednesday's game against the Indians. Jeffress fills the roster spot left vacant when Jonathan Broxton was traded to Cincinnati on Tuesday.
The 24-year-old Jeffress appeared in two games for the Royals in late April. He pitched a total of one inning and allowed four hits but no runs. Last season, Jeffress pitched in 14 games with the Royals, posting an ERA of 4.70.
In 37 games with Omaha this season, Jeffress is 5-4 with a 4.97 ERA. He has struck out 61 batters in 58 innings.
Manager Ned Yost said Jeffress would slide into the bullpen and pitch in a middle-relief role. He said the decision to recall Jeffress stemmed from increased consistency from the righty.
"Command has been an issue, but consistency in command has been an issue. He's been a lot more consistent," Yost said. "He'll still have his hiccup here and there, but for the most part, he's been very consistent in one- or two-inning stints, coming in throwing strikes with his fastball and with his breaking ball. We want to give him a look."
Cain's legs showing improvement on the field
KANSAS CITY -- The fact that Lorenzo Cain's legs aren't at 100 percent has been well documented. But it looks like Cain might be making some progress.
Cain has been playing right field in the last three games with hopes of taking some pressure off his recovering legs. But in the game's other aspects, Cain is using his legs to their full extent.
Once on the team's recent West Coast trip and again Tuesday night against the Indians, Cain swiped a bag. The steals are the first two of the season for Cain, who spent almost the entirety of the season's first half on the disabled list.
Manager Ned Yost, who evaluated Cain's legs at 85 percent in recent weeks, said he's also seeing improvements.
"They're getting there slowly but surely," Yost said. "He's feeling better, getting down the line really well. He stole a base on the road, stole a base here. We're doing better in that respect."
Royals announce top Minor Leaguers in July
KANSAS CITY -- The Royals organization announced its Minor League award-winners for the month of July on Wednesday.
At Triple-A Omaha, infielder Johnny Giavotella was named the Player of the Month after hitting .368 in July, and left-hander Will Smith was named Pitcher of the Month following a 2-0 record and 1.80 ERA before getting called up to the big leagues.
Other award-winners for the Royals affiliates:
Northwest Arkansas (Double-A) -- Infielder/outfielder Brian Fletcher, right-hander Michael Mariot
Wilmington (High Class A) -- Infielder Matt Fields, right-hander Elisaul Pimental
Kane County (Class A) -- Outfielder Tim Ferguson, right-hander Aaron Brooks
Idaho Falls (Rookie) -- Shortstop Adalberto Mondesi, left-hander Sam Selman
Burlington (Rookie) -- Outfielder Fred Ford, left-hander Colin Rodgers
Surprise (Rookie) -- Outfielder Alexis Rivera, right-hander Aroni Nina
Dominican (Rookie) -- Outfielder Brawlun Gomez, right-hander Miguel Almonte
Butler, Holland named top Royals in July
KANSAS CITY -- Designated hitter Billy Butler and right-handed reliever Greg Holland were named the Royals' Player of the Month and Pitcher of the Month, respectively, on Wednesday.
Butler led the team with four home runs in July with 16 RBIs. He hit .327 with a club-leading .404 on-base percentage, as well, and hit a memorable walk-off home run to beat the Mariners on July 18.
Holland, the team's newly named closer, posted a 2.70 ERA in 12 July games, which was the lowest among Royals pitchers with multiple appearances in the month. He struck out 17 hitters and limited them to a .213 batting average over 13 1/3 innings.
Members of the Kansas City media made the selections.
Vinnie Duber is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.