Aviles recalls trips to Yankee Stadium
Royals infielder caught batting-practice homer in 1997
NEW YORK -- "Guess it was kind of a sign," Mike Aviles said some 13 years later.
It was Mother's Day 1997, and Aviles was on one of his many trips to Yankee Stadium with his family, walking through Monument Park during batting practice. A ball flew over the left-center field wall of the old Stadium, and the 16-year-old Aviles claimed his first big league souvenir.
The Yankees' opponent that day? The Kansas City Royals.
Aviles would notch an even bigger souvenir when he first returned to Yankee Stadium as a player in a Royals uniform, collecting his first big league hit in 2008. It was a dream come true for the second baseman who grew up in the Castle Hill section of the Bronx and spent many of his afternoons at the houses of his grandparents on Fox Street and Leggett Avenue -- each just a few miles from the Stadium.
"That was unbelievable," Aviles said. "In a stadium that I had been to as a kid and went to numerous games as a kid, to get my first Major League hit there in the last season of that Stadium, it means a lot to me. In front of my family, on top of that. It was a very special time, and something that you can never take away from me. It's down in the books."
Aviles stuck around the Bronx for his college career, playing at Concordia College in Bronxville, about a 15-minute drive on the Major Deegan Expressway from the Stadium. The Royals' trip to Aviles' hometown is the first thing he looked for when the schedule came out this season.
"I knew exactly when this trip was, and I was definitely excited to come here," Aviles said. "I get to see my family, get to see my daughter, I get to play in front of them. It's definitely a special trip for me, so I always know when we're coming to New York."
Aviles has enjoyed some success hitting in the Bronx, even going so far as to mention how much he likes the "New York air" that he grew up with. He went 5-for-14 with three doubles and a triple in that first four-game series at the old Stadium in 2008, and he was 2-for-5 with another two-bagger on Thursday night.
DeJesus to be sidelined at least 10 weeks
NEW YORK -- Outfielder David DeJesus, one of Kansas City's most productive hitters and best defenders, is scheduled to undergo surgery on his right thumb in Cleveland on Monday and will be lost to the Royals until at least September.
DeJesus, 30, suffered a tear of the ulnar collateral ligament in his thumb while chasing a fly ball hit by the Yankees' Derek Jeter at Yankee Stadium on Thursday night.
DeJesus is a big loss from a roster that underwent a major shakeup Thursday and Friday. Before DeJesus was injured, the Royals traded third baseman Alberto Callaspo, who was batting .277 with eight homers and 43 RBIs, to the Angels for two pitchers on Thursday.
Kansas City called up outfielder Alex Gordon from Triple-A Omaha to take DeJesus' place. It also designated for assignment right-handed starter Anthony Lerew, who was 1-4 and scheduled to start Sunday. The team also announced that right-hander Sean O'Sullivan, acquired in the trade with the Angels, will start against the Yankees on Sunday.
"They're looking at 10 weeks, so we'll see how that goes," Royals manager Ned Yost said before his team played the Yankees on Friday night. "The doctor seems to think that 10 weeks should be enough to get him back. It'll be sometime in September, I think, before we can make a determination where he's at."
DeJesus was examined at the Cleveland Clinic on Friday and it was determined that the outfielder be scheduled to undergo surgery on Monday. He will be operated on by Dr. Tom Graham.
DeJesus was batting .318 with 23 doubles, five homers and 37 RBIs when he was injured.
"He really had a great year," Yost said of DeJesus. "He did everything at a real high level. I mean defense ... that means he's catching balls, he's making accurate throws, he's doing everything we can ask him to do defensively. He has played right field at a real high level. He has played center field at a real high level. He's driven in runs, he's gotten on base and he's gotten big hits.
"An all-around player of his caliber is really rare," Yost said. "He's so underrated nationally."
Gordon recalled, will play in outfield
NEW YORK -- Alex Gordon, whom Kansas City chose as a third baseman with its first pick in the 2005 First-Year Player Draft, returned to the Major Leagues on Friday to take up residence as an outfielder.
Gordon was batting just .194 when he was sent to Triple-A Omaha on May 2 to begin the process of becoming an outfielder. He was called back Friday after right fielder David DeJesus learned he would require thumb surgery and be out at least 10 weeks after suffering an injury in Thursday's game at Yankee Stadium.
"It's not the way we wanted to get Alex Gordon up here,'' Royals manager Ned Yost said before Gordon started in right field against the Yankees on Friday. "We wanted to get Alex Gordon up here as an outfielder and see where he's at and see what he's capable of doing in an everyday routine. That has happened now. It wasn't an ideal way to get it done, but it's done. So we'll just move on, go day to day with it and see where we are at.''
Gordon, 26, was a member of the 2010 Pacific Coast League All-Star team and was batting .215 with 14 homers, 44 RBIs and 59 runs scored in 69 games with Omaha. He played mostly in left field there.
Yost said Gordon should get ample playing time with the Royals. However the team has several outfielders on its roster, including Rick Ankiel, Scott Podsednik, Jose Guillen and Willie Bloomquist.
"I imagine we'll get a rotation going,'' Yost said. "And the guy who is not playing will be the DH."
Kit Stier is a contributor to MLB.com. Associate reporter Tim Britton contributed to this report. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.