Notes: DeJesus given night off
Struggling center fielder given Friday off to regain focus
ST. PETERSBURG -- Manager Buddy Bell gave struggling David DeJesus a night off against the Devil Rays on Friday. Bell was trying to give DeJesus and Alex Gordon, both left-handed hitters, an off-day this week.
Gordon earned his Wednesday against Orioles' left-hander Erik Bedard, while DeJesus was out of Friday's lineup against Devil Rays' left-hander Scott Kazmir. With Thursday as an off-day, both players will receive two days of rest.
"I have been trying to work in a day off with [DeJesus] the last few days, but I wanted to give Alex a day as well," Bell said. "I wanted to do it against Bedard, but I couldn't do it, because I wanted to give Alex a day and I thought that he needed it more than DeJesus."
DeJesus, KC's hottest hitter in the first month, was hitting .337 on April 25. Since then, his batting average has tumbled 79 points and rests at a season-low .258 entering the weekend. He struggled all May, batting just .211 with only four multi-hit games.
"Muscling up is probably the biggest reason for it," Bell said. "I don't see anything really mechanical. He could be leaning or drifting, which could be the case when you are trying to do things that you are not capable of doing, you might be trying to cheat a little bit. I don't really see a big problem with him. I hope he doesn't mess with his swing because he has a very simple stroke."
Esteban German, who has batted first in nine games this season, hit leadoff Friday. Mark Teahen saw his second career start in center field and his first since April 22.
Soria recovering: Joakim Soria, on the disabled list since May 26 with right shoulder inflammation, long-tossed and threw about 45 pitches (all fastballs) before Friday's game.
"Shoulder is feeling good," he said. "No pain."
Soria will throw off the mound Sunday.
Rotation switch: The Royals announced ace Gil Meche will start on normal rest Monday afternoon against the Devil Rays. Meche, who tossed 7 1/3 innings of one-run ball against the Orioles in his last start, would have thrown on five days rest Tuesday against Cleveland.
Shealy hitting well: First baseman Ryan Shealy has been the team's hottest hitter since returning from the disabled list (hamstring) on May 17, batting .362 (17-for-47). Shealy has even hit during the team's seven-game losing streak. As a whole, KC is struggling, batting just .186 during the skid, but Shealy is a respectable 6-for-22 (.273) during the losses.
"Earlier in the year, I was thinking too much about mechanics and not about the ball," he said. "I was just trying back to see ball, hit ball. That's what everyone says you should try to get back to when you are struggling. It's really all I am thinking about it right now."
Shealy is also a lot more relaxed after seeing his average hover around .100 throughout April. Entering Friday, Shealy is batting .230 this season.
"When I was going through it, it felt like the end of the world, but it was only 50 at-bats or so," Bell said. "There is still a lot of time left in the year to get things going."
Phillips clears: Paul Phillips cleared waivers and was reassigned to Triple-A Omaha. Phillips could have filed for free agency but elected to stay with the club. Phillips, who has been with the club since he was drafted in 1998, was designated for assignment when Jason LaRue was recalled from the disabled list May 26.
"We were a little worried, but we are glad to have him back," Bell said. "This is a good time of the year to get guys through [waivers.]"
Gload, Sanders update: Bell said Reggie Sanders' (left hamstring tear) "best possible scenario" may be two weeks. Sanders, who has been on the D.L. since May 3, will likely start hitting and throwing in the next few days.
Ross Gload (right quadriceps tear) didn't make the road trip with the team. Gload will probably return a little bit after Sanders does, Bell said.
Bunts: The Royals hit only .138 in three-game series against Baltimore. ... Shealy on the off-day Thursday: "Anytime you can get an off-day, especially with that we are sputtering like we are, it's a good thing to keep your mind off of baseball for a day." ... Vice president of communications and broadcasting Mike "Swanee" Swanson turned 53 on Friday. ... On this date: John Mayberry tied a club record with three homers in a 1977 win, 11-3, over Toronto.
Royals Rundown: Triple-A Omaha won, 4-1, over Tacoma. Matt Wright held the Rainiers to one run on five hits in 6 1/3 innings. Joey Gathright collected two hits and two stolen bases. ... Double-A Wichita lost, 8-3, to Frisco. Former No. 1 pick Mike Stodolka hit his third homer in last four games, but Jason Cromer allowed six runs in the first four innings. ... Class-A Wilmington lost, 9-5, to Salem. Jason Godin permitted three runs apiece in the third and fourth inning. ... Class-A Burlington won, 5-4, over Wisconsin. Ryan DiPietro allowed three runs on seven hits in 5 1/3 innings.
Player of the day: Wright. His strong outing Thursday raised his record to 3-2 and lowered his ERA to 3.10 in 49 1/3 innings. Wright, a 21st round pick of the Braves in 2000, is pitching his first season in the Royals' organization.
Coming up: Odalis Perez (2-5, 5.61 ERA) looks for his first win since April 25 against the Rays' Edwin Jackson (0-6, 7.12 ERA). First pitch is set for 6:10 p.m. CT.
Conor Nicholl is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.