Royals outfielder David DeJesus will acknowledge, if pressed, that, sure, he wants to bat .300 for the first time in his career. He just doesn’t want to think too much about it yet.
“It would be nice to know I can do it,” he said. “The last few months for me each season, August and September, are pretty tough on me. So that would be a nice personal achievement.”
It’s within reach.
DeJesus is batting .300 after going one for four in Friday’s 9-4 loss to the Chicago White Sox at Kauffman Stadium. He’s been on something of a surge, too, with hits in his last 10 games and batting .368 in that span.
It has already been something of a breakout season for DeJesus after slumping last season to a career-low .260. He owns career highs with 11 homers and 71 RBIs.
He is also batting .408 with runners in scoring position. No Royals player has topped .400 in those situations since George Brett batting .469 in 1980.
DeJesus has also pushed the .300 barrier before. He batted .287 as a rookie in 2004, then improved to .293 in 2005 and .295 in 2006. Each time, he stumbled down the stretch — because, he believes, he allowed the pressure to get to him.
“This year,” he said, “I don’t look at my average. This year, I’ve been concentrating on trying not to look up there (on the scoreboard). I try to focus on every at-bat and have a positive at-bat.
“I think that’s leading to not worrying about it. We’ll see at the end of the year.”
Reliever Robinson Tejeda left the game in the seventh inning because of a strained left hip flexor after bouncing a pitch to A.J. Pierzynski.
“When I delivered the pitch,” Tejeda said, “my spikes grabbed (the dirt). So when my body rotated, I pushed all of my weight into (the hip flexor). I felt like a big pop.
“At first, I thought I was OK. But when I started walking, I started feeling it a little bit more.”
Yasuhiko Yabuta replaced Tejeda, who will be evaluated further today.
The primary reason for the Royals’ recent seven-game winning streak? Terrific starting pitching. All seven victories in the streak belonged to starting pitchers, who compiled a 2.20 ERA in that span.
“I think it is (that simple),” manager Trey Hillman said. “I have to compare it to what I’ve seen be successful in the past. I just haven’t seen too many teams make it to postseason play because they out-slugged other teams.
“On flip side, I’ve seen teams make it to postseason play without slug or high OBP because that factor was so dominant.”
The streak ended in Friday’s loss to the White Sox when Brian Bannister got roughed up for seven runs in five innings. That also ended the chance for the Royals to get victories from starters in eight straight games for the first time in franchise history.
The last time Royals’ starters won seven in a row was Aug. 24-30, 1982. That group (in order): Larry Gura, Dennis Leonard, Buddy Black, Paul Splittorff, Vida Blue, Gura and Leonard.
Fan Appreciation Night
Saturdays’s highlight on Fan Appreciation Night will be the auction of tickets to win the game-worn jerseys from players after the game.
The “Shirts off their Backs” promotion benefits Operation Breakthrough, which provides a wide range of social services to underprivileged children.
Volunteers will circulate through the stands during the game to sell $1 instant-winner scratch tickets. Winner will be escorted onto the field after the game to receive their jersey from a Royals player.
The first 20,000 fans through the gates tonight also receive a free stocking cap, courtesy of FSN Kansas City.
The Royals rewarded the player- and pitcher-of-the-year on each of their eight minor-league affiliates by bringing them to Kauffman Stadium.
The honorees included three players already in uniform for the big-league club: outfielder Mitch Maier and right-hander Devon Lowery from Class AAA Omaha; and first baseman Kila Ka'aihue from Class AA Northwest Arkansas.
Others in attendance: RHP Dan Cortes (Northwest Arkansas); OF Derrick Robinson and RHP Matt Kniginyzky (Class A Wilmington); 3B Mike Moustakas and LHP Danny Duffy (Class A Burlington); C Sean McCauley and RHP Bryan Casey (short-season Idaho Falls); INF Angel Franco and RHP Kelvin Herrera (short-season Burlington); C José Bonilla and LHP Mike Montgomery (rookie Surprise); and C/1B Henry Moreno and RHP Willian Avinazar (rookie Dominican).