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08/06/09 12:58 AM ET

Cat frolics on field in fifth inning in KC

Groundskeepers give chase as feline delays play early

KANSAS CITY -- Say what you want about their win-loss record, but the Royals' 2009 season is definitely running in first place in the bizarre moments category.

The Royals lost earlier this year in Cleveland when the Indians' game-winning hit ricocheted off a seagull in center field. Feel free to read that again.

This time, there was a cat sighting on the field of Kauffman Stadium.

Trailing the Mariners, 8-4, in the top of the fifth during Wednesday's 11-6 loss, a mysterious gray cat wandered out onto the field.

"Was I smiling? I don't know if I smiled or not," said Royals manager Trey Hillman. "It was one of those things that didn't really surprise me. I was surprised it wasn't entirely black."

There were conflicting stories being told after Wednesday's game. Some people seemed to think the cat came from the stands. Others said it materialized in the Mariners' bullpen.

This much is certain, the crowd finally became aware of the cat when it showed up in front of the Mariners' dugout.

"It jumped from the stands into our bullpen," said Mariners' reliever Shawn Kelley said. "We thought it was going to attack [pitching coach] John [Wetteland] so we had to divert it away from him. It scaled an eight-foot wall, it really did. We were just concerned with saving John. We thought he was in trouble. He was cornered."

Appearing frightened, the cat bolted around the diamond, moving toward home plate, before running down the right-field line.

Royals catcher Miguel Olivo stood up and lunged at the cat for a second, but it took off into foul territory.

"You always see that on SportsCenter but you never get to see it live," Mariners manager Don Wakamatsu said. "That's the first time I've seen one live.

"I was smart enough not to get caught chasing that thing. I think it was just a regular cat. With the amount of hunters we have on this team, it's amazing he made it out there."

The game was delayed for nearly two minutes, but stadium officials were able to corral the spooked cat and herd it into the Royals' bullpen in right within a matter of minutes.

"I actually was looking back at it," Alex Gordon said. "And I don't know who was pitching then, but someone threw a pitch and I wasn't even looking at the plate.

"Kind of an interesting moment. I've never had that happen before. It was kind of funny how he was running around and nobody was doing anything. I thought it was going to last all night."

Rustin Dodd is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.