4/13/2014 3:00 P.M. ET
Royals say Jackie's Day cause for celebration
By Dick Kaegel / MLB.com
MINNEAPOLIS -- The Royals will join all of Major League Baseball in marking Jackie Robinson Day on Tuesday, in commemoration of his breaking the game's color barrier.
"What he did back in the day when society really wasn't accepting interracial baseball speaks for itself," said Royals outfielder Justin Maxwell. "He literally risked his life to play the game he loved. At the time he didn't know the ramifications of what could possibly happen from that, but he just wanted to play baseball in the big leagues. He got that chance and I thank God for it."
Maxwell was among many players who saw the movie "42" that came out a year ago chronicling Robinson's struggles and successes.
"I had a chance to see that movie last year and it was really, really well done," Maxwell said. "To play in places where racism was still prevalent and to play the game of baseball as well, and the way he did to actually have white people cheer for him back in the day, that speaks volumes. Because, I think once people became fans of his, they stopped looking at the color of his skin and they realized that he really is a talented baseball player, and it kind of just took off from there."
Today's players have benefited because of the sacrifices made by Robinson and the African-Americans who followed him.
"Being married and having to worry about your wife off the field, and just trying to hide and find places to live in cities that wouldn't let him stay in the team hotel," Maxwell said. "Nowadays, we don't even have to think twice about it and it's just because of him stepping out of his comfort zone and getting a chance with the Dodgers is, I think, amazing. Had that never happened a lot of us would have never had the opportunity to play the game,"
The Royals and the Astros players will wear Robinson's uniform number, 42, on Tuesday.
"He went through a lot to break the color barrier in baseball and it's tough to do what he did in that era. He went through so much in off-the-field issues and on-the-field issues," Royals outfielder Jarrod Dyson said. "To still have a positive mind frame, to still play hard says a lot about that guy.
"He made the way for us today in baseball and we're thankful for that. I don't know if I could've been strong enough to go through all that. I'd have probably given up and lost hope. But he was a strong man and had his priorities in order, had his goals set and he accomplished his goals."
Robinson made his Major League debut on April 15, 1947, with the Brooklyn Dodgers.
"I think it's great that the team recognizes his legacy every year and that we have a special day for him," Maxwell said. "I know he's in the back of my mind when I play the game because I'm grateful for what he did."
Royals' offense looking to kick into high gear
MINNEAPOLIS -- When is it going to happen?
"Maybe today's the day," Royals manager Ned Yost said as his club unlimbered their bats, looking for an offensive explosion in Sunday's series finale at Target Field.
The Royals' previous 10 games didn't offer much in the way of scoring, just an average of 2.9 runs a game.
"It's one of those things. We're going to have our games. We haven't been good by any means," designated hitter Billy Butler said before the game.
"We have the offense to score runs and I think we're going to. It's just not happening early. I just haven't gotten going early. It's a combination of things, but we have too much talent here for it not to turn around. We're going to put together a stretch where we're going to score a lot of runs and we're going to have another 10-game stretch where we score 2.9 a game. But it's going to be few and far between. We're going to have a 30-game stretch where we average five runs a game. It just happens that way. The next 10 could be a completely different story, and that's what we hope."
Yost has thought about shaking up the lineup but not yet.
"I've considered it, but it's way too early to do it. Way too early -- 35 at-bats these guys have," Yost said.
"It's more of a group-wide thing than it is one guy that you move down in the lineup, or two guys. It doesn't have much of an effect, in my opinion, when you do that type stuff. It's just a matter of time before these guys get going."
Butler, in the first 10 games, was well under .200 and without an extra-base hit.
"I'm getting better each day," Butler said. I've hit some balls hard, they haven't found some holes. I've also had some bad at-bats. I feel like I'm getting closer each day. Sometimes the at-bats don't show it and sometimes the outcome doesn't show it either, but I'm getting there. I'll learn from certain situations and make adjustments. That's what I do best -- make adjustments."
Yost senses that some of his hitters are not feeling comfortable at the plate.
"Once you get comfortable, you see the ball better, you drive the ball more, you're more relaxed in situations and you get better pitches to hit," Yost said. "These guys, every one of them is in the cage at 9 o'clock taking their turns, working their tails off so you just wait it out. But, literally, it can change in one day. Just one day and, all of a sudden, boom, here you go. That's the weird thing about it. You don't panic, you just keep working and stay patient until it hits."
• Outfielder Lorenzo Cain celebrated his 28th birthday on Sunday in Minneapolis. He shares the date with third U.S. President Thomas Jefferson.
• Triple-A Omaha first baseman Matt Fields hit safely in the Storm Chasers' first 10 games -- going 17-for-37 (.459).
• James Shields' loss to the Twins on Saturday ended his string of nine straight winning decisions on the road.
Dick Kaegel is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.