Royals’ search for second baseman continues as deadline nears

07/30/2013 5:11 PM

08/06/2014 2:30 AM

We’re into the final hours before the non-waiver trading deadline at 3 p.m. Wednesday, and the rumors are flying regarding the Royals’ search for a second baseman.

Speculation includes interest in Howie Kendrick or Erick Aybar from the Angels. Gordon Beckham from the White Sox. Rickie Weeks from the Brewers. Michael Young from the Phillies.

None appear likely.

“Anything’s possible,” one club official said. “We looking at a lot of things, but I doubt anything get done unless things change in the last few hours.”

Little changed throughout evening. Two club officials, after the 7-2 victory over Minnesota, said all was quiet. “Crickets,” one said.

Let’s take those rumors in order.

The Angels are willing to trade Kendrick or Aybar, but they want a front-line starting pitcher who is controllable for numerous years. They also appear willing to wait until the offseason unless blown away by a deal.

Kendrick also had a limited no-trade clause that includes the Royals.

The White Sox are definitely in a “sell” mode, but one insider said they want an “unrealistic fortune” for Beckham because he’s young, affordable and has been their best player.

The Phillies would love to trade Young, and might do so, but he has a full no-trade clause in his contract and has indicated he isn’t willing to go anywhere except back to Texas.

The Brewers are also in a “sell” mode and appear open to dealing Weeks — and why not? He is batting just .224 since the start of the 2012 season and making $11 million in 2014 with an $11.5 million vesting option for 2015.

“It can develop fast,” manager Ned Yost said, “but there’s nothing really going on right now. We’re talking, but there’s not much action.”

Tejada again

Veteran infielder Miguel Tejada started his fourth straight game for the first time this season when he again replaced an ailing Chris Getz at second base.

Tejada, 39, went two for four and drove in the game-tying run with a two-out single in the third inning. He raised his average to .292 and has three homers and 16 RBIs in 120 at-bats over 42 games.

Getz is nursing a sore left knee, which he initially injured July 20 when his footing gave way in the outfield grass in the fifth inning of a 6-5 victory over Detroit at Kauffman Stadium.

He returned after missing two games but aggravated the injury Saturday in the ninth inning of a 1-0 victory at Chicago on a hard slide at at second base by Adam Dunn.

“It’s not been a good week,” Getz said, “for my left knee.”

Butler ailing

Designated hitter Billy Butler went hitless in five at-bats, which snapped his 18-game hitting streak against the Twins.

While Butler rejected the excuse, Yost pointed to a “stiff neck” as a possible problem. Yost said, “He felt something this morning when he woke up.”

Butler said, “Yeah, but I’ll fine. I’m ready to go.”

Cain feeling better

Outfielder Lorenzo Cain tested his sore left groin with a full pregame workout and, barring overnight complications, should be available to start Wednesday’s game against the Twins.

“I haven’t really run since I ran into the wall (on Saturday in Chicago),” he said prior to the game. “So I’ll take a normal practice. Sprint and hit. So far, just moving around, it feels good.”

Cain experienced tightness in his left groin after he slammed into the wall Saturday after hauling in Jeff Keppinger’s deep leadoff drive in the seventh inning of a 1-0 victory.

Strong relief

The Royals’ bullpen, which leads the American League, has has been nearly air-tight in 11 games since the All-Star break.

Take away the five runs allowed by Luis Mendoza over 31/3 innings of mop-up duty on July 22 in a 9-2 loss to Detroit — and the relief corps has allowed just three runs in 281/3 innings over 27 combined appearances.

The Royals got two scoreless innings in Tuesday’s victory as a follow-up to six scoreless innings in Sunday’s 4-2 victory at Chicago in 12 innings. That lowered the club’s bullpen ERA to a league-leading 2.93.

Minnesota and Texas, prior to Tuesday’s games, were next at 3.04, followed by Oakland at 3.06 and New York at 3.10. Houston had the league’s worst bullpen ERA at 5.17.

One-run magic

The Royals have won nine of their last 10 one-run games, including a 5-0 mark in 11 games since returning from the All-Star break.

They are 20-17 overall in one-run games, and their 37 such games matches the New York Mets for the most in the majors. The Royals conclude their current nine-game trip with three games against the Mets in New York.

Gregg tapped

Class AAA Omaha hitting coach Tommy Gregg will fill that capacity for the Peoria Javelinas in the Arizona Fall League.

Gregg will serve on a staff headed by Jim Pankovits, who is the manager of Class AAA Tacoma in the Seattle system.

The Royals are one of five clubs that will stock the Javelinas, who will be based at the Royals’ year-round complex in Surprise, Ariz. The others are Houston, Philadelphia, San Diego and Seattle.

Gregg, who turned 50 on Monday, is in his seventh year with the Royals and his fifth as Omaha’s hitting coach.

The players for all six Fall League clubs will be announced in late August. The season begins Oct. 8 and concludes with a Nov. 16 championship game in Scottsdale.

Minor details

Omaha right-hander Yordano Ventura, the organization’s most-advanced pitching prospect, continues to nurse a sore hamstring that surfaced last Thursday when he worked five innings in a 2-1 victory over Oklahoma City.

Club officials say Ventura, 22, has responded to treatment but will likely make at least one relief outing before returning to the Omaha rotation.

Ventura is a combined 6-5 with a 3.17 ERA in 20 games for Omaha and Class AA Northwest Arkansas. He is also holding opponents to a .219 average while recording 118 strikeouts in 102 1/3 innings.

Second baseman Johnny Giavotella recently underwent an MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) exam on his ailing hip. He is not with the Storm Chasers in Tacoma, Wash.

Looking back

It was 14 years ago Wednesday — July 13, 1999 — that Jermaine Dye drove in five runs in a 12-8 victory at Texas.

That gave him 32 RBIs in July, which tied John Mayberry’s franchise record for RBIs in a single month. Mayberry had 32 RBIs in July 1975.

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