KANSAS CITY -- After missing 32 games, center fielder Rick Ankiel will get back into action. But it'll be with the Triple-A Omaha Royals, not the Kansas City version.
Ankiel and left-handed reliever John Parrish will travel to Omaha for a game on Tuesday against Oklahoma City. Ankiel (strained right quad) has been out since May 3. Parrish (left rotator cuff inflammation) has been out since April 24 and will have missed 37 games.
Playing just 19 games, Ankiel was batting .210 (13-for-62) with three homers and nine RBIs.
"He's swinging the bat really well in batting practice, but that's just batting practice," manager Ned Yost said. "I told him it's real important for him to go down and get his timing back because when his timing is right, he crushes the ball to all fields and when his timing's not right, he's a little more susceptible to the offspeed stuff."
Yost wants Ankiel to stay with Omaha long enough to be productive immediately when he returns to Kansas City.
"Mitch Maier has been doing a nice job so it's important for him to go get himself back on track and step in seeing the ball, swinging good and hitting the ball good and be a big asset to us," Yost said.
Maier, in 44 games, had a .252 average with one homer and 21 RBIs.
Parrish will join Dusty Hughes as the only left-handers in the bullpen because Bruce Chen has joined the rotation. Yost noted that Hughes has been more effective against right-handed hitters so Parrish's return will give the Royals more of a lefty specialist.
"When we get Parrish back and have Dusty, you'll have two guys you can bring in from the left side, but Parrish is more of a situational guy, a guy to come in and get a big lefty out in a big situation," Yost said.
KC makes All-Star push for Butler
KANSAS CITY -- The push is mounting to get Royals first baseman Billy Butler more votes in the All-Star Game balloting.
On Saturday, a limited number of "VOTE BILLY" T-shirts went on sale at the Majestic Team Store at Kauffman Stadium. Here's the deal: Fill out 100 ballots at the stadium for Butler and the other Royals and you can get the $28 valued shirt for just $16. Sixteen happens to be Butler's number.
Butler spurred T-shirt sales by signing autographs at the store early Saturday afternoon.
In-stadium voting will end on Sunday at Kauffman Stadium, but fans can continue to vote online at royals.com.
In fact, they can cast their votes for starters up to 25 times at MLB.com and all 30 club sites using the 2010 All-Star Game MLB.com Ballot Sponsored by Sprint until July 1 at 10:59 p.m. CT. Sprint subscribers can now vote on the go with select Sprint devices. They can learn more about how to vote on their smart phones at MLB.com/Sprint.
Texeira inspired by cousin on Phillies
KANSAS CITY -- If new Royals pitcher Kanekoa Texeira needs inspiration from a successful Rule 5 Draft choice, he can just look across the clubhouse to star reliever Joakim Soria.
Actually, Texeira already has found inspiration from his cousin, Phillies center fielder Shane Victorino, who twice was a Rule 5 pick. Victorino was picked by the Padres from the Dodgers in 2002, but was unceremoniously returned to the Dodgers early the next season. Then, in 2004, the Phillies got Victorino in the Rule 5 Draft from the Dodgers. This time it worked.
"They love him in Philly," Texeira said.
Texeira, from Hawaii, was a Rule 5 choice by the Mariners from the Yankees last winter. And during Spring Training at Peoria, Ariz., he looked like quite the find.
"He was the highlight of their camp, he pitched great in Spring Training," Royals general manager Dayton Moore said. "And he pitched well at times this year."
When the Mariners left Arizona, Texeira had given up just one earned run in 14 innings for a 0.64 ERA and he was named Peoria Sports Complex Rookie of the Year, a competition involving the Mariners and the Padres.
When the regular season began, Texeira struggled at the start, ran off eight innings in which he gave up just one run, then hit another rough patch. With his ERA at 5.30 in 16 relief outings, the Mariners designated him for assignment and he was claimed by the Royals.
Victorino led the cheers.
"We're real close, we talk every day. We chit-chat through text messages," Texeira said. "He'd gone through the same process I have twice, so he gives me insights. [He said to] keep my head up when I got designated and he said, 'Good job,' when I got picked up by Kansas City -- just keep working hard and show them what I can do."
He did that in his Kansas City debut on Friday night, posting a scoreless inning to wrap up a 7-3 win over the Tigers.
Texeira got three ground-ball outs, his forte as a sinkerball pitcher. The secret, of course, is keeping that pitch down in the strike zone.
"If you get a sinkerball up, it sinks right to the middle of the plate," he said.
And sometimes the ball ends up high in the air, far behind the pitcher. Not yet, at least through Friday night for Texeira. The right-handed rookie had yet to allow a Major League home run.
Betancourt back in lineup Saturday
KANSAS CITY -- Shortstop Yuniesky Betancourt was back in the Royals' lineup on Saturday night against the Tigers after leaving Friday night's game after seven innings because of an upset stomach and a light-headed feeling.
"No issues, he felt better today," manager Ned Yost said. "Actually felt better last night after he got some fluids in him and had something to eat. He's back and ready to go."
Dick Kaegel is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.