8/25/2014 8:12 P.M. ET
Hosmer makes progress by seeing pitches
By Dick Kaegel / MLB.com
KANSAS CITY -- Eric Hosmer stood in the batter's box on Monday afternoon and took some pitches. Literally took some pitches, because he's not permitted to swing at them.
But even that, for Hosmer, is significant progress.
The Royals' first baseman has been on the disabled list since Aug. 2 with a fractured third metacarpal on his right hand, and he hasn't been an active participant in the team's rise to first place.
But now he's getting closer to returning to the lineup. He can at least take some practice swings as long as he doesn't hit anything.
"He can swing but he can't hit. He'll go till Thursday with dry swings, then he can start hitting off a tee on Friday, and then we'll go from there," said manager Ned Yost.
Hosmer gazed at pitches thrown by left-hander Scott Downs, himself recovering from a stiff neck.
After traveling with the club on its 6-3 trip, Hosmer underwent a CT scan on Monday in Kansas City and got good news.
"They said it's good, it's healing up really nice. We're good to start the hitting progression, so basically now we just start taking swings, start lightly and see how it feels," Hosmer said.
Hosmer no longer has to wear a cast full-time on his right hand, and he took a round of fielding practice on Monday that went well.
The Royals are running out of time for a Minor League rehab assignment for Hosmer because the Minor League season ends next Monday. But Triple-A Omaha could reach the playoffs and extend its season, providing a further opportunity.
"If there's still Minor League games going, we'll send him on a rehab. We're hoping Omaha makes it [to the playoffs] so we can do that," Yost said. "If we get him 15 or 20 at-bats, we'll be doing good. Much better than doing nothing. Or trying to work him in up here."
Meantime, Downs could be activated prior to the Sept. 1 callup date. He hasn't pitched since Aug. 2.
"See if we can find a way to get him available for Cleveland, with their load of left-handed hitters," Yost said.
The Indians come in to start a series on Friday night.
Hosmer stood in the box as Downs threw about 25 pitches on Monday afternoon but didn't do anything reckless like hack at a ball.
"We don't have to dial him back," Yost said. "He knows he's got one shot at this and he's got to do it right. He's been very smart about this."
But Hosmer was a bit tempted.
"I was," he said, grinning. "I knew what was coming, too, so I was even more tempted."
Royals great Montgomery returns to TV booth
KANSAS CITY -- Royals television broadcaster Jeff Montgomery was back in the booth on Monday night, making a quick recovery from hip surgery.
"It was 12 days ago that I underwent surgery. And literally Day 1 after the procedure, I started therapy, so it's quick," he said.
Montgomery, a Royals Hall of Fame closer, explained that he underwent a hip "resurfacing" rather than a hip replacement.
"The starting pitcher for the Texas Rangers the other night, Colby Lewis, had it done about a year ago today," Montgomery said.
Montgomery, 52, believes his problem, which caused him to limp, was a legacy of a pitching career that included 12 years (1988-99) and 304 saves with the Royals. It was his right hip, used to push off as he delivered a pitch.
The resurfacing involved the insertion of a large metal ball that goes into a metal socket in the hip.
"They basically put you back together. I think it's a more-extensive procedure than a replacement," he said.
During and after his playing career, Montgomery was avid runner. He said he ran for 35 years, four miles a day, 28 days a month. It's expected that he can resume running a year from the surgery
Right now, Montgomery is using a cane to get around.
"I have to intentionally go slow, because I limped for so long, I got bad form in my walking," he said. "It kind of turned into a bad walk, and I have to re-teach myself the good way to walk -- walking straight, level, all those things."
Montgomery missed just one TV game that he was scheduled to work due to the surgery. He decided not to wait until after the season for a very important reason.
"My daughter Ashleigh is getting married three weeks from Saturday, on Sept. 20, and I didn't want to be like limping down the aisle with her," Montgomery said.
Just like a proud father.
Omaha's Pena named catcher on PCL All-Star team
KANSAS CITY -- Francisco Pena of the Omaha Storm Chasers was named catcher on the 2014 Pacific Coast League All-Star team by managers and media representatives.
Pena set an Omaha record for catchers with 27 home runs this season, and is batting .254 with 60 RBIs in 91 games.
He's the first Omaha player named to the all-PCL team since 2012.
• Ryan Keur, in his first season as the Burlington Royals' general manager, was named Appalachian League Executive of the Year. Under Keur, the team's average attendance has risen to 1,242 a game, a nearly 50 percrent increase since 2011.
• Right fielder Elier Hernandez of Class A Lexington was named South Atlantic League Player of the Week after going 16-for-25 (.640) in six games. He had one homer and two doubles.
• Fox Sports 1 will carry the Royals-Twins game on Tuesday night.
Dick Kaegel is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.