Veteran catcher Jason Kendall is giving professional baseball one more shot.
Kendall, out since September 2010, has signed a minor-league contract with the Royals. He’ll report to Double-A Northwest Arkansas and is expected to start for the Naturals against Springfield tonight.
“He just thought he’d give it one more try,” Royals manager Ned Yost said.
Kendall, 38, last played for the Royals in 2010 before having shoulder surgery. He attempted a comeback, but a major setback last season forced him to have another surgery.
After a second lengthy rehab, Kendall has reached the point where he feels comfortable playing once again. He’s spent most of this season working on his rehab in Kansas City while serving as a veteran presence around the Royals’ clubhouse.
“It’s just giving him an opportunity to see where he’s at,” Yost said. “We like our two catchers that are here. But you know how quickly things can turn.”
Kendall also will be able to help the development of some of the Royals’ young pitchers. Top prospect Mike Montgomery was recently demoted to Northwest Arkansas after a year of struggles at Triple-A Omaha.
Kendall batted .256 with 18 doubles for the Royals in 118 games in 2010.
“He doesn’t know if he can do it,” Yost said. “He feels good. He’s been working hard. He’s taken his rehab to a point where he feels like he can play.”
Cain’s legs not 100 percent
Lorenzo Cain’s bat has been hot since he returned from the disabled list on July 9. In seven games this month, Cain is hitting .391 with a .400 on-base percentage.
Problem is, the center fielder isn’t 100 percent healthy yet. So Yost wants to use Jarrod Dyson as a late-game defensive substitution for Cain until he’s fully recovered.
“The thing we gotta do right now is get Cain’s legs underneath him,” Yost said. “He’s probably about 85 percent.”
Yost also said he planned to rest Cain today when the Royals open a three-game series against the Twins at Kauffman Stadium.
“He’s giving you 100 percent of what he’s got. But he’s only got about 85 percent,” Yost said. “But his bat’s so strong right now, it’s hard to keep him out of the lineup.”
“I feel like I’m running OK,” Cain said. “I’m definitely not where I want to be. But at the same time, I feel like if I can just go out there and give my all, that’s definitely … gonna help the team as much as possible.”
Hosmer moves down
After 13 straight games as the Royals’ No. 3 hitter, first baseman Eric Hosmer batted sixth Thursday.
Including Thursday’s two-hit performance, Hosmer has at least one hit in his last 19 games when batting sixth.
Hosmer had hit just .160 with 16 strikeouts since July 1.
“He’s battling through a lot of different things,” Yost said. “Some of it’s mechanics; some of it’s a little bit of confidence; some of it’s a little bit of pressure he’s putting on himself to produce in that three-hole.”
Despite Hosmer’s struggles, Yost isn’t worried.
“There’s no doubt in my mind this guy’s gonna be an All-Star-caliber hitter,” Yost said. “We just have to get him through all this.”
Auction to benefit museum
The Royals will host an online auction at www.royals.com/auction as part of their Salute to the Negro Leagues. Bidding begins at noon Saturday and ends at noon on Aug. 3.
The Royals and Twins will be wearing Kansas City Monarchs and St. Paul Colored Gophers jerseys in Saturday’s game, and 10 of the jerseys will be autographed then put up for bid, with all proceeds benefitting the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum.
The autographed Monarchs jerseys will include Billy Butler, Alcides Escobar, Alex Gordon, Cain and Hosmer.
The Twins’ jerseys will include Rod Gardenhire, Joe Mauer, Justin Morneau, Ben Revere and Denard Span.