9/18/2013 1:38 A.M. ET
Lough credits Grifol for approach as pinch-hitter
By Dick Kaegel and Kathleen Gier / MLB.com
KANSAS CITY -- Outfielder David Lough had not been very successful as a pinch-hitter until, batting for Justin Maxwell in the sixth inning Monday night, he cracked an RBI single into right field. That gave the Royals their fourth run in what became a 7-1 win against the Indians.
Prior to that, Lough was 0-for-8 in his career as a pinch-hitter, although he had three walks and a sacrifice bunt in his 12 appearances.
"[Hitting coach Pedro Grifol] has been doing a good job of preparing these young guys about pinch-hitting," manager Ned Yost said. "First fastball in the strike zone, you better be ready to hit, and David was last night. First-pitch fastball -- boom, base hit. That's what a good pinch-hitter does."
Grifol did lend assistance, and Lough was ready when reliever Matt Albers delivered a fastball knee-high and inside.
"He gave me a scouting report on the pitcher," Lough said. "I was just trying to look early, be aggressive in that situation. I thought he was going to come right after me, which he did, and gave me a nice pitch, and I was able to put it right through the hole."
Yost said it's difficult for young hitters to be successful at pinch-hitting.
"Because their whole focus is on the result. They don't get a hit and it crushes them," Yost said. "But the whole focus has got to be on the process. You've got to be ready to hit and have a good at-bat, because pinch-hitting, there's no other job like it in the world. You can't call time out and do it again. You've got one shot at being successful, and in this sport, it's the hardest job to do."
Lough's hit made Royals pinch-hitters 12-for-59 (.203) this season with seven RBIs. Maxwell had the only home run in the role, lifting Kansas City to a 12th-inning, 4-3 win against the Mets on Aug. 3 in New York.
Omaha wins Triple-A title behind Ventura's replacement
KANSAS CITY -- Left-hander Chris Dwyer wasn't supposed to pitch in Tuesday night's Triple-A National Championship game, but he made the most of his chance.
Dwyer allowed just one hit in seven scoreless innings and led Omaha to a 2-1 victory against Rays affiliate Durham in Allentown, Pa., for its second national title.
Dwyer, a Pacific Coast League All-Star this season, filled in for teammate Yordano Ventura, who made his Major League debut for the Royals instead. Dwyer retired the first 20 batters before a two-out single in the seventh inning by Tim Beckham spoiled his bid for a perfect game. He struck out the next batter to end the inning and finished with eight strikeouts on the night. Ventura allowed one run in 5 2/3 innings in an eventual 5-3 loss to the Indians at Kauffman Stadium.
Michael Mariot took over in the eighth and allowed the Bulls' lone run on a pinch-hit homer.
The Storm Chasers took an early lead against former teammate Jake Odorizzi with a two-out single by Manny Pina in the second inning. Odorizzi, drafted by the Brewers in 2008 and acquired by the Royals in '10, took the loss after giving up one run on five hits in four innings. Irving Falu knocked in the winning run in the sixth inning off reliever J.D. Martin.
The Storm Chasers finished the season with a 77-75 record, including a 7-1 mark in the postseason. Omaha swept Oklahoma City, the PCL's top team, in three games in the first round, then took three of four from Salt Lake for their second PCL title in three seasons.
It was the Storm Chasers' first appearance in the national championship since they lost to Columbus in 2010. Omaha's first Triple-A Championship came in 1990, when it defeated Rochester in a best-of-seven series.
Paulino optimistic for 2014 after shoulder surgery
KANSAS CITY -- Royals pitcher Felipe Paulino is planning to leave for his Houston home Wednesday after his comeback attempt was ended by shoulder surgery a week ago.
Unexpectedly, Paulino said, the surgeon found a cyst in his shoulder, which was causing him problems as he pitched deeper into games during his Minor League rehab assignments.
"They first tried to decompress the nerve, and when they went inside, they found a big cyst in the back of my shoulder that was pinching my nerve. That's what was causing my weakness and soreness in my shoulder," Paulino said.
"He removed that and everything was good. I'm good right now, because he also cleaned out my rotator cuff, my labrum and everything around it. I expect to be back and playing catch again in two weeks."
Paulino underwent Tommy John surgery in July 2012, but said his right elbow is fine, and with his shoulder problem seemingly solved, he's optimistic about resuming his Major League career after a lost season.
"I know I'm going to be back," he said.
Pena done for year, but KC plans on Duffy returning
KANSAS CITY -- To make room for Yordano Ventura, whose contract was selected from Triple-A Omaha in order to start Tuesday night's 5-3 loss to the Indians, the Royals placed Carlos Pena on the 60-day disabled list.
Pena had an emergency appendectomy on Sept. 14 and will not be eligible for to return season. Pena played just four games since signing with the Royals on Aug. 27.
Even though he said he's feeling fine, left-hander Danny Duffy has been moved to the 15-day disabled list.
"When I told him we're putting him on the DL, he said, 'You know, I'm feeling better,'" manager Ned Yost said. "So we're not going to totally shut him down. We're going to be extremely cautious, too. We're not going to do anything to take any chances."
Yost announced Monday that Duffy would miss his next start in the rotation with a mild flexor strain in his forearm. Duffy has started five games for the Royals since returning from Tommy John surgery. He went 2-0 with a 1.85 ERA in that span. He will be eligible for reinstatement on Sept. 23.
After the changes, the Royals have 33 players on their active roster and 40 on the Major League roster.
Idaho Falls wins first Pioneer League title as KC affiliate
KANSAS CITY -- Catcher Frank Schwindel had four RBIs, three on a homer, as the short-season Class A Idaho Falls Chukars defeated Milwaukee's Helena affiliate, 6-0, for their first Pioneer League title as an affiliate of the Royals.
Schwindel, the Royals' 18th-round pick from June's First-Year Player Draft, put the Chukars on the board with his two-out homer in the fourth inning and drove in another run with a sacrifice fly in the sixth.
Cody Stubbs knocked in a run on a single to center field, then scored on an RBI single by Elier Hernandez in the seventh inning.
Right-hander Jake Junis, the Royals' 29th-round selection in the 2011 Draft, earned the victory after allowing just three hits in five innings a day after his 21st birthday. He also had two walks and eight strikeouts. Kyle Bartsch added three scoreless innings with just one hit and six strikeouts to set up Glenn Sparkman, who completed the shutout with a scoreless ninth.
This was the first playoff appearance for the Chukars since 2007, which ended the longest playoff drought in the Pioneer League. It was the organization's seventh title, with the last coming as an affiliate of the Padres.
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.