KANSAS CITY -- Right-hander Gil Meche, on his way to throw 30 pitches off the mound in a bullpen session on Saturday, paused to say that he's satisfied that his progress will bring him back into the rotation after the All-Star break.

His main project at the moment is to develop a consistent arm position that will help him avoid further shoulder discomfort.

"I'm just throwing fastballs, no breaking balls yet," he said. "I want to get up to 40 pitches next time and keep going up each time. I'm just trying to get my arm slot back. My shoulder strength is definitely better."

Guillen's streak comes despite blisters

KANSAS CITY -- The other day in Washington, Jose Guillen mentioned that during his long hitting streak he'd become a "slappy" hitter with a loss of power.

"That was pretty much a joke I was trying to make," Guillen said on Saturday before he extended his streak to 20 games in the Royals' 5-3 loss to the Cardinals.

The fact is that during his 20-game hitting streak, 25 of his 29 hits have been singles. He's also had two doubles, a triple and one homer. He has 12 RBIs, during that span but that's not showing much muscle for a career slugger.

"I don't like to make excuses, because I am what I am and I just go out and play no matter what," Guillen said. "It doesn't matter if something bothers me, because I've proved through my 13-year career that I know how to play hurt."

With that disclaimer, though, he did reveal why not many of his hits have been shooting deep into the gaps or over fences.

"It's been hard for me lately because I've been playing with blisters on my [left] foot. It's hard for me to put weight on my foot and create power," Guillen said. "I've said I've become slappy because I'm not able to put weight on my foot. My manager [Ned Yost] knows this; he just found out a few days ago in Atlanta when this thing came up."

The blisters, Guillen believes, are a remnant of the dangerous blood clot condition he had in his legs during the offseason. The soles of his feet have been sensitive and tender.

"The skipper's been pushing me to take a day off and I tell him, 'No,'" Guillen said.

Yost had Guillen in the lineup on Saturday as the designated hitter.

"DH is almost like a day off," Yost said. "He's doing good. You don't want to rest somebody in the middle of a streak and when they're swinging the bat good. I check with him all the time."

During his 20-game streak (29-for-79, .367), Guillen has raised his season batting average from .244 to .278. His streak is the club's longest since shortstop Rey Sanchez hit in 21 straight from May 11-June 3, 2001.

But Guillen's home run total has gone from just 12 to 13 during the streak. That will fix itself when the blisters are healed, he believes.

"When I get healthy, I promise you -- that power is coming back," he said. "And the blisters are getting better ... yesterday was the first time I was able to swing with more freedom, put a little more weight on the front side and drive the ball a little more."

Kendall gets rare break against Cardinals

KANSAS CITY -- With the temperature at Kauffman Stadium at a sultry 90 degrees on Saturday, Royals catcher Jason Kendall was given a break against the Cardinals. He wasn't in the starting lineup for just the fifth time in 75 games.

"With these days, as hot as it's going to be on back-to-back days, it's a good day to give Jason a day off," manager Ned Yost said. "I made that decision. He said, 'I just had a day off.' And I said, 'You've got another one.' "

The Royals and Cardinals are scheduled for another afternoon game on Sunday, and more of the same is forecast.

Yost, an ex-catcher, doesn't want to overload Kendall, who has caught 1,977 games in his career and doesn't like days off.

"He's like that horse in the Western that runs until his heart blows up and he drops over," Yost said.

"So you've to pick days with the big picture in mind. We want him strong and feeling good in August, if we can make it happen. He goes and goes and goes, and this weather has a way of sapping your strength."

Kendall did get into action before the game, catching Hall of Famer George Brett's ceremonial first pitch. On Sunday, the first 20,000 fans will receive a commemorative 25th anniversary poster marking the Royals' 1985 World Series victory over the Cardinals.

Bryan Pena started in Kendall's place, catching Kyle Davies.

Royals careful about hydration in heat

KANSAS CITY -- The hot weather this weekend has prompted the Royals to intensify their usual precautions against getting overheated.

"We really encourage our guys, like after a game last night, to really hydrate. You watch now when it gets hot, guys walk out with bags of water and PowerAde and Gatorade. They're doing it right," said manager Ned Yost on Saturday.

Yost remembered what Clyde McCullough, a Major League catcher in the 1940s and early 1950s, told him about one of his heat remedies.

"Stick a head of cabbage in the ice bucket and then put a cabbage leaf on his head and go out. That's how they stayed cool in the old days," Yost said.

Jackson's pitch count in no-no was 149

KANSAS CITY -- Edwin Jackson had a 149-pitch no-hitter for the D-backs on Friday night against the Rays, but he wouldn't have done that if Ned Yost had been his manager.

"He wouldn't have thrown a no-hitter for me. He might have thrown a combined no-hitter," said the Royals' manager. "Everybody's got their own way of doing things, and I'm not saying it's right or wrong, but I get to the 115- or 120-pitch mark and I start to get a little apprehensive from that point on."

Jackson, in a 1-0 victory, issued eight walks and just 79 of his 149 pitches were strikes. Such a high pitch total is very unusual today.

"Guys used to do it all the time on a four-man rotation," Yost said. "They'd go out and throw 160 pitches and wouldn't think twice about it. But the culture has changed on that and it's more protective of the investment now that they spend on these guys. And we actually develop our pitchers nowadays to throw 110, 115 pitches. Once they get to that point, more mentally I think than physically, they feel like they're done. And that's the standard we use now."