08/31/12 12:30 AM ET
Royals partner up with MLB to battle ALS
By Dick Kaegel / MLB.com
The ceremonial first pitch was thrown by Treg Charlton, a married father of two who was diagnosed with ALS in 2010. Although the disease has weakened him, Charlton still works to raise funds and awareness in the effort to find a cure. He is director of real estate for CVS in Missouri, Kansas and surrounding states.
Beckie Cooper of Mission, Kan., executive director of the ALS Association Keith Worthington Chapter since 1988, was in the Buck O'Neil Legacy Seat for the game. The regional organization serves Kansas, western Missouri and Nebraska and has raised millions of dollars for the cause.
Dyson learning to use speed as primary weapon
KANSAS CITY -- Royals manager Ned Yost has this perspective of center fielder Jarrod Dyson:
"Dyson is a little Superman, he ain't afraid of nothin'," Yost said.
At the same time, Yost noted that Dyson, 28, is just now coming into his own as a superfast player who is learning to use his speed as his foremost weapon. He believes most players who are exceptionally gifted with speed take a longer time to develop their offensive capabilities.
"I think they play the game like everybody else -- they think about hitting homers and doubles and triples instead of utilizing their legs," Yost said. "I've seen guys like Otis Nixon, Deion Sanders, those types of guys. There are very few that have speed and power, like Mike Trout's got. Most of 'em are one or the other. They've got to learn how to best utilize it."
Dyson believes he's getting there. This season, he's batting .270 in 87 games with an on-base percentage of .333 and 25 stolen bases in 28 attempts.
"He's starting to use his skill set a little more effectively in terms of taking walks, keeping the ball on the ground, line drives instead of fly balls. Yeah, he's getting better," Yost said.
In Wednesday night's 1-0 win over the Tigers, Dyson dropped down a bunt hit -- his fifth this season. The Angels' Erick Aybar leads the Majors with 15 and Royals teammate Alcides Escobar is second with 10.
"I've got some improvement to do on my bunt game, it isn't where I want it to be right now. With 260 at-bats now, I'd normally have 20 bunt base hits, but that's not the case this year," Dyson said.
"When you're a speed guy you want to perfect it. It's just another weapon in the tool box that you can just pull out at any time, depending on the situation in the game or how the defense is playing you. And if you're real comfortable doing it, it can work to your advantage."
Coming up through the Minors, Dyson conceded he did try to pattern his game more conventionally rather than focus enough on his speed.
"I had to learn a few things. I came up in the system and I used to hit fly ball after fly ball because of what I'd been doing previously in college or high school," he said. "But I had to learn more about my speed and how to play this game. I've learned a lot since I was drafted. I've got great instincts, I've the ability to do it. It comes with experience."
Dyson was not in the starting lineup on Thursday night because of tender throwing arm.
"I noticed it on a throw he made last night. He normally throws the ball in with pretty good force behind and he just kind of threw it in, so I asked him about it when he came in," Yost said.
Dyson acknowledged some stiffness but insisted on staying in the game, enabling him to make a spectacular diving catch in the ninth inning.
Toma set to take place in Royals Hall of Fame
KANSAS CITY -- Longtime groundskeeper George Toma will become the 25th member of the Royals Hall of Fame in a pregame ceremony on Friday night.
His induction is scheduled to start at 6:30 p.m. CT, 40 minutes before the first pitch of the game between the Royals and the Twins.
Toma, who came to Kansas City in 1957 to become the Kansas City Athletics' head groundskeeper, had the same job for the Royals from the club's inception in 1969 through 1995.
For the past several years, Toma has worked for the Twins at their Spring Training facility at Fort Myers, Fla. He's also renowned for his work in the NFL, including every Super Bowl.
Toma, 83, is the first member chosen by a veterans committee created as part of a redesigned voting process established last year. The 16-member committee votes in even-numbered years on the candidacy of non-field personnel as well as players and managers no longer eligible in the regular phase of the voting. The committee consists of Royals Hall of Famers, club executives and media members. Candidates must be named on 75 percent of ballots to be elected.
Francoeur returns for Frenchy Quarter Night
KANSAS CITY -- Jeff Francoeur was back in right field for the Royals on Thursday night despite his 0-for-18 skid and the Tigers starting a right-hander, Rick Porcello.
Reason: Francoeur had done rather well previously against Porcello in his career, .357 (5-for-14) with a triple and two RBIs.
Francoeur sat out Wednesday night's game with Lorenzo Cain playing right field. Cain, though, was in center field with Jarrod Dyson nursing a sore right shoulder.
Fittingly, it was Frenchy Quarter Night, a weekly Thursday event in the right-field seats at Kauffman Stadium, so Francoeur fans could see their man. He had not started in two of the previous three Frenchy Quarter games, and in the one before that, he was ejected in the second inning.
"I'm hoping to stay in there -- not get tossed," he said.
Dick Kaegel is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.