Regarding the rumors on the possible availability of Gil Meche and Zack Greinke, what moves will the Royals be looking to make before the trade deadline?
-- Dylan M., Olathe, Kan.

First of all, you can disregard the rumors that keep popping up about Meche going to the Cubs or somewhere else. For one thing, general manager Dayton Moore is very happy with his five-year, $55 million pitcher and believes he's really matured into a strong and durable performer. For another, Meche has a no-trade contract and here's what he told us:

"I would hate for somebody to think I want to go somewhere else." Meche said, "I could have gone to the Cubs, I could've gone to other teams. But I told Dayton from the beginning, 'I'm going to make a commitment, I'm going to try to turn this thing around and I want to be a part of it when it happens.'

"For me, I see the talent here and what we could be doing. The pitching is coming and all the younger guys are getting better, so those are the things I want to be around when it happens."

So he wants to stay with the Royals?

"Yeah, I don't want to go anywhere," Meche said.

While some experts say the Royals should trade Greinke now while he's a hot commodity, that would be extremely rash. With his stuff and his smarts, Greinke might be the best pitcher the Royals have, one of the cornerstones in what is becoming a solid rotation. He's still 2 1/2 years from free agency and the Royals need him if they're going to compete soon.

That said, Moore believes the Royals are in a position to still compete in the American League Central this year, given their recent upsurge. So they're not going to fold up to benefit other contenders. Naturally they'd like to add a power hitter and also strengthen the bullpen. Those would be their top two priorities. Oh, a strong left-handed starter would be nice, too, but let's not get greedy. There's only so much you can do in midseason.

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Question:

On June 21, Meche fielded a grounder to the mound, spun around and threw the ball over second base for an error. The runner came around to score later in the inning. Since the error was on the pitcher, is it counted as an earned run, or is it still unearned?
-- Ryan M., Kansas City, Mo.

It's unearned because, under Rule 10.16 (e): "An error by a pitcher is treated exactly the same as any other fielder in computing earned runs." On the other hand, a wild pitch is treated differently. Rule 10:16 (a) says in part: "A wild pitch is solely the pitcher's fault and shall contribute to an earned run just as a base on balls or a balk."

With David DeJesus' clutch hitting and run production, why not move him down in the order? He gets on base but is not an ideal leadoff hitter like Joey Gathright.
-- Kyle E., Columbia, Mo.

There's been talk for years that DeJesus seemed more like a future No. 3 or No. 5 hitter. As a leadoff batter, he does have the knack of getting things going, but he's not a burner or a big base-stealer. He does have a knack for RBIs and, in fact, he went into Sunday's game as the Majors' leader in hitting with runners in scoring position at .463 (25-for-54).

Gathright, with his great speed and improving ability to bunt his way on, does seem like a good fit at No. 1 if he can draw more walks, hit for a higher average, and improve his on-base percentage. His success rate on stealing bases is much better this season. Last year he was 9-for-17, this year 17-for-20.

That's the key to DeJesus moving down -- Gathright proving he can fill the leadoff role. With Gordon the current choice at No. 3, DeJesus could be in the fifth slot or maybe even in second. It's a nice option for a manager to have.

What has happened to Reggie Sanders?
-- Dennis, Lee's Summit, Mo.

We bumped into the genial Sanders during the Royals' trip to Phoenix. At 40, he's retired after 17 Major League seasons, 1,777 games, 1,666 hits and 305 home runs. Sanders is doing some TV work for the Diamondbacks but mostly is just relaxing and spending time with his family.