7/6/2013 1:05 A.M. ET
Gasparini passes physical, meets Royals
Italian shortstop looks forward to reaching Majors one day with Kansas City
By Dick Kaegel and Kathleen Gier / MLB.com
KANSAS CITY -- The Royals' 16-year-old Italian signee, shortstop Marten Gasparini, is spending a couple of days in town for a physical examination and to meet the team.
So far, Gasparini has passed his physical, eaten barbecue and visited the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum in addition to taking batting practice and attending the games.
"I chose this team because it was the best fit for me. They are great people and it feels like a family," Gasparini said. "It is great to be here with this great organization and I hope I can get a shot to get to the Majors with them."
Gasparini will receive a signing bonus of $1.3 million, highest ever for a European, eclipsing the previous mark of $750,000. He is ranked as MLB.com's No. 4 international prospect and the top European on MLB.com's list of the 30 top international prospects.
"I try to not think about it," Gasparini said. "They can say what they want and I can control what I do on the field. Maybe there are a lot of expectations, but that is none of my business. Whatever I can do on the field and in weight training, I will do that, then it will work out in games, too."
Gasparini, a switch-hitter who is listed at 6-foot-1, 175 pounds, said his biggest asset is his speed.
"I'm kind of a fast runner so, I try to use my speed in every part of my game," Gasparini said. "It will help me on defense and in the batter's box."
Gasparini's mother was a Jamaican track athlete who competed in London and his father is Italian. Neither one knew much about baseball when their son started playing, but Gasparini said he'd always been fascinated by American sports.
"We found out that there was a baseball team in my region, near my house, and we went there to try and I was really good, even though I was 10 and had never tried it," Gasparini said. "I started to play and fell in love with it."
Gasparini travels 300 miles from home to attend the Italian Baseball Academy and after a brief visit in Arizona over the next couple days, he will head back home to compete for Italy in the European Cup. After that's over, Gasparini will return to Arizona and play in the Instructional League.
Gasparini said baseball isn't real popular in Italy right now, but the team is competitive and the fan base is growing.
"I am one of the four players we have here in America," Gasparini said. "I think that there will be some more players to come out of Italy and play here in the USA."
Gordon doesn't have concussion, is day to day
KANSAS CITY -- Left fielder Alex Gordon strolled through the Royals' clubhouse on Friday, stopped in front of his locker and delivered some good news: He has no concussion.
Gordon has been undergoing an assessment since falling against the bullpen fence in pursuit of a fly ball in the sixth inning of Wednesday's 6-5 win against Cleveland. He banged his head against a padded fence post and bruised his hip and rear end in the process.
The result was an inside-the-park home run for the Indians' Jason Kipnis and a series of tests for Gordon, who hasn't played since.
"They said I was cleared to go," Gordon said. "They did all the tests, followed all the rules and they cleared me to go. So I'm just going to get back into action here today and hopefully get things rolling."
So Gordon won't have to go on the seven-day disabled list that Major League Baseball has incorporated for players who sustain a concussion.
While Gordon was planning to take batting practice and play catch, it was unlikely that he'd get into Friday night's game against Oakland.
"I can play today, it's just the bruise on my butt is not feeling too great, so the playing is just day to day right now. I'm not in the lineup today, so we'll see how it feels tomorrow," he said.
Gordon was greatly relieved that no concussion was diagnosed.
"Absolutely. That was the main concern," he said. "Obviously, MLB takes serious action and that's what we did -- we followed all the rules and made sure everything was clear and the doc cleared us."
Gordon was asked if he had any headaches in the aftermath of the injury.
"No, because we've been winning the last two games so I've been good," he said.
Gordon, who usually works at a furious pace, has had to take a break the past couple of days. But now he's eager to get back onto the field and into the lineup. Before the injury, he'd sat out just one game.
"I think every guy in here wants to play every day, so that's kind of how I feel," Gordon said.
Hitting .292, he's tied with Billy Butler for the team lead in RBIs (46) and was the American League leader among qualifiers in two-out hitting at .374 and fourth in batting with runners in scoring position at .381. He's tied with White Sox outfielder Alex Rios for the league lead in outfield assists with eight.
What the Royals have described as a hip contusion is on the same side as the right hip surgery Gordon underwent in 2009.
"Yeah, but it's not my hip that's banged up, it's my derriere, I guess that's the correct way to say it," he said. "It's just the rear end, and it's a pretty bad bruise."
Duffy struggles in second start for Omaha
KANSAS CITY -- Left-hander Danny Duffy made his second start for the Triple-A Omaha Storm Chasers since being activated by the Royals from the 60-day disabled list on June 25.
Duffy went 5 1/3 innings on Friday night, allowing four runs on six hits, including a two-run homer in the sixth. He threw 83 pitches, 55 for strikes, while recording four strikeouts and no walks.
Duffy, who continues to recover from last year's Tommy John surgery, is 2-0 with the Storm Chasers through six games and five starts with a 5.88 ERA this season. He has 25 strikeouts and 11 walks in 26 innings.
Royals ask for release waivers on Francoeur
KANSAS CITY -- The Royals have asked for unconditional release waivers for outfielder Jeff Francoeur, who was designated for assignment on June 30.
Francoeur was batting .208 with three home runs and 13 RBIs through 59 games.
If the release is granted, Francoeur will become a free agent available to other teams for the pro-rated minimum. The Royals will be responsible for the remainder of his $6.75 million salary.
Cain's slam nets $25,000 for Kansas native
KANSAS CITY -- Lorenzo Cain's sixth-inning grand slam in Thursday's win over Cleveland was the Royals' fourth of the season, tying them for the Major League lead with Boston, Seattle and Atlanta.
It was Cain's first of his career and second of the series against the Indians, following Alex Gordon's grand slam in Tuesday night's 6-5 win. The last time the Royals hit four in a season was 2010.
It made one fan's night really special as Debbie Hassed of Overland Park, Kan., won $25,000 through the Sonic Slam inning on the FOX Sports Kansas City broadcast. She also won an additional $100 for George Kottaras' solo home run in the same inning.
• Royals center fielder Jarrod Dyson made a terrific catch of Yoenis Cespedes' drive against the center-field wall in the A's second inning on Friday night, but it came at a price.
Dyson displayed two red welts on his right arm caused by ramming into the fence that covers the electronic message board in center field.
"But I'm good," Dyson said after the 6-3 loss. "I'm scarred up a little bit from that chain-link fence. It got me pretty good."
• Royals left-hander Francisley Bueno, who was designated for assignment on June 25, accepted an outright assignment with Triple-A Omaha on Friday.
Bueno is 1-2 through 23 games with one start and a 3.40 ERA for the Storm Chasers this season.
• With the Oakland A's in for a three-game series, the Royals will take the opportunity to salute the Kansas City A's.
On Saturday, the first 10,00 fans will receive a Charlie O T-shirt in honor of the team's former mascot and fans will have an opportunity to take pictures with a Missouri mule, which will be outfitted with Charlie O's original blanket. The Royals will also recognize former Kansas City A's players in a pregame ceremony.
Dick Kaegel is a reporter for MLB.com. Kathleen Gier is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.