Podsednik playing lead role for Royals
Outfielder's recent offensive surge is making things happen
ANAHEIM -- Royals leadoff batter Scott Podsednik is on a roll. He took a five-game hitting streak into Saturday night's game against the Angels and was hitting .405 (17-for-45) in his previous 10 games.
That brought him to one point shy of .300, his highest average in a month.
"Just getting lucky," Podsednik said. "I haven't really changed anything. I've been taking the swings I want to take and kind of got my [bat] path down to where I want it, so hopefully I can ride this out for a while and keep reaching base."
That's crucial for the Royals. Podsednik was tied for third on the team in runs with 39 and was leading with 23 stolen bases.
"He makes a lot of things happen," manager Ned Yost said. "He's kind of the catalyst. He starts it up, Jason [Kendall] moves him along and the other guys finish up behind him."
Podsednik hasn't had a prolonged slump but he admits staying consistent at the plate is difficult.
"You're going to have weeks where you're hitting the ball hard, you're going to have weeks where you're not hitting the ball hard," he said. "There are not too many guys who can stay hot for 162 games. When you're going bad you have to handle it mentally and stay positive and know that sooner or later, you're going to come out of it. It's tough mentally to deal with it, but I feel like I've gotten better in the last couple of years dealing with the oh-fers."
Podsednik's wife, Lisa, gave birth to their first son, Nixon, on Thursday so the hope was that he'd follow the lead of David DeJesus, who was on a .400-plus tear since the birth of his first son, David Jr.
"If we could all do what DeJesus has done for the last month now, we'd all be well on our way to the Hall of Fame, I think," Podsednik said.
Well, maybe he's started. In his first post-Nixon game on Friday night, Podsednik went 3-for-4.
Callaspo out of lineup with sore wrist
ANAHEIM -- Third baseman Alberto Callaspo was out of the Royals' starting lineup on Saturday night with a sore left wrist.
"Ky-Yo [Friday] night in his last at-bat kind of strained something in his wrist or hand, so we're giving him a day off to allow that to feel a little better," manager Ned Yost said. "It's in his glove hand, it doesn't affect his throwing, it doesn't affect his swing as much left-handed, it affects him more right-handed."
Wilson Betemit played third base and Mike Aviles took the designated hitter slot with Chris Getz at second base.
Former Royal Gibson outduels Torre
ANAHEIM -- The Dodgers' Joe Torre was the first manager to go against Kirk Gibson, legendary Dodgers hero and ex-Royals outfielder, when he began his term as interim manager of the D-backs.
According to the Orange County Register, Torre downplayed the impact of facing a team with a new manager, but he also allowed that a new skipper can provide an immediate boost.
Torre remembered going into Kansas City in 2005 for Buddy Bell's first series as the new Royals manager. The Royals ambushed Torre's Yankees with a three-game sweep.
"George [Steinbrenner] let me know in no uncertain terms how Buddy Bell out-managed me," Torre said, according to the newspaper.
Torre's luck didn't change on Friday night at Phoenix. Gibson's D-backs hammered the Dodgers, 12-5, in his debut.
Bell's luck, by the way, changed in 2005. The sweep of the Yankees propelled the Royals to an 11-4 mark in Bell's first 15 games, but he'd soon endure a bleak period that included a 19-game losing streak. His final record that year: 43-69.
On a side note, Bell that season took over the Royals from interim manager Bob Schaefer, who is now Torre's bench coach with the Dodgers. Schaefer had a 5-12 mark filling in after Tony Pena resigned.
Center fielder Rick Ankiel, out since May 3 with a right quad strain, was scheduled to begin his second injury rehabilitation stint with Triple-A Omaha on Saturday night. His earlier rehab stalled after six games when he suffered a setback with the injury. ... Former outfielder Brian Anderson, who decided during Spring Training to pursue a pitching career, will make his pro debut on the mound on Sunday night. He'll pitch in the Arizona Rookie League for Surprise against the Padres' team. ... The Royals' 10-inning, 2-1 win over the Angels on Friday night marked the first time in 11 years that they'd won a game after going in the ninth inning losing a shutout. The last time was May 4, 1999, at Tampa Bay, when they went into the ninth losing 3-0 and rallied to win, 5-3, behind Carlos Beltran's three-run triple. ... Going into Saturday night's game, the Royals' pitching staff had the best ERA in the Majors, 2.63, since June 21. The bullpen had allowed just one run in 26 innings for a 0.35 ERA. ... The Royals were leading the Majors in hitting for the season with a .283 team average. The Rangers were next at .280.
Dick Kaegel is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.