7/29/2014 8:12 P.M. ET
Kratz welcomes new opportunity with Royals
By Dick Kaegel / MLB.com
KANSAS CITY -- It took eight-plus seasons in the Minor Leagues before catcher Erik Kratz finally made his Major League debut at age 30. That's a long wait.
"Well, they didn't call me. Either that or I didn't have a cell phone, one of the two," Kratz said.
Obviously the newest guy in the Royals' clubhouse has a sense of humor. Since he made his debut in 2010 with Pittsburgh, Kratz has logged parts of five seasons and 163 games in the big leagues.
Kratz was obtained from Toronto on Monday in a deal that also brought Minor League pitcher Liam Hendriks in exchange for third baseman Danny Valencia. Kratz, now 34, will replace Brett Hayes, who was designated for assignment, as the backup for starting catcher Salvador Perez.
Drafted by Toronto in 2002's 29th round, Kratz spent most of his Minor League time in the Blue Jays' system before going the free agent route that finally landed him in the Majors.
"It was something that was tough, it's not ideal but not everybody has the same path," Kratz said. "It wasn't meant for me to be up there; it wasn't that I wasn't good enough, it just meant it didn't happen. They chose other people in front of me but I was very blessed to get an opportunity and now I've got a decent amount of time in the big leagues, but I'd definitely like to have more."
Kratz hit a home run off the Royals' Wade Davis last year for Philadelphia in the Phillies' home opener, a 13-4 victory.
"My dad still has the ball. That was my first Opening Day start, or home opener start, and it's got the little insignia on the ball and everything. A fan gave it to me so I gave him a bat and gave it to my father on Father's Day," Kratz said.
A treasured memento for Dad?
"I don't think he hits BP with it, no," Kratz said.
Yost excited to see infielder Colon back up
KANSAS CITY -- One of the big reasons that manager Ned Yost liked Monday's trade with Toronto is that it enabled the Royals to bring up infielder Christian Colon from Triple-A Omaha.
Third baseman Danny Valencia, dealt to the Blue Jays, filled in when needed for Mike Moustakas and sometimes as the right-handed part of a platoon.
"But it created a hole on our roster where we didn't have any protection up the middle if something happened to Omar [Infante] or something happened to [Alcides] Escobar. We didn't have that protection, but we do now," Yost said.
"Danny did a nice job at third base and could fill in for a couple innings at second but Christian gives you more depth at second, short and third. There's more versatility there."
Colon, who can also fill in at third, had a bang-up day on the Fourth of July during his previous stay with the Royals. He had two doubles and a triple, scoring three times in a 7-1 victory at Cleveland.
"That start for me was great but it made it a lot easier when [Yordano] Ventura went out there and pitched that well," Colon said.
Ventura went 8 1/3 innings for the win that day.
Hosmer returns to lineup
KANSAS CITY -- First baseman Eric Hosmer was back in the Royals' starting lineup on Tuesday night against the Indians.
Unable to properly grip a bat because of a bruised right hand, Hosmer had started just one of the previous seven games. He was hit by a pitch on July 20 at Boston.
"I came in, saw the trainers, passed all the tests, took a few swings, it feels good to go," Hosmer said.
Hosmer went into the game with the Majors' highest average during July at .410 (25-for-61).
Vargas could be ready to start Saturday in Oakland
KANSAS CITY -- It now appears that left-hander Jason Vargas might -- repeat, might -- start Saturday's game for the Royals at Oakland.
Vargas, out since July 9 because of an appendectomy, threw the equivalent of four innings in a simulated game on Tuesday at Kauffman Stadium.
"He threw four innings, 15 pitches each inning. He had much more life on his pitches, much better command on his pitches, so he looked really good," manager Ned Yost said.
Vargas, coming off the field, said everything felt good. But would he start on Saturday?
"I don't know," he said. "We'll talk about that later. Today went well."
The question went to Yost.
"We'll see. I don't know," Yost said. "We'll see how he feels tomorrow. If he feels good tomorrow and feels good the next day, I'd say he's really, really close to going back in."
Left-hander Bruce Chen made three starts during Vargas' absence.
"He looked good, really good," said Christian Colon, one of the batters who faced Vargas. "I was swinging and Moose [Mike Moustakas] was swinging. Vargas looked good -- very, very good."
Wilson to manage Arizona Fall League team
KANSAS CITY -- Vance Wilson, manager of the Royals' Double-A Northwest Arkansas club, will manage the Peoria Javelinas in this year's Arizona Fall League.
The team consists of players from the Royals, Braves, Indians, Cardinals and Rays and will play at Surprise Stadium. The rosters will be announced later and the season will begin on Oct. 7.
Since its inception in 1992, the six-team league has been considered a finishing school for top prospects. Every organization sends players to compete.
Dick Kaegel is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.