Royals notebook | DeJesus rejoins club but remains weak from bout with flu

MINNEAPOLIS | Outfielder David DeJesus rejoined the Royals prior to the series opener against the Twins after missing six straight games while battling a severe case of the flu.

It was a still-weak DeJesus, however. He didn’t play Friday’s game, and his status is uncertain for the season’s two remaining games.

“I’m feeling better,” he said, “but I lost seven pounds in a matter of days. I didn’t eat from Thursday (Sept. 24) to Sunday. Now, I don’t even feel like the same person. It’s kind of weird how weight can fly off you so fast.

“I’m here to see what I can do. If I can do anything, that would be great. But I don’t want to rush it, and we have only three games left. It’s still in me. I don’t know how long a virus stays in you. We’ll see.”

Teammates greeted DeJesus with a caution that was only half-playful. Several pulled their shirts over their nose and mouth. Forearm bumps replaced handshakes and hugs.

“He’s definitely less than 100 percent,” manager Trey Hillman said. “We’ll see how he is in the workouts. I’m hopeful (he can play today), but we’ll hold off until we see how he does (Friday) and how he recovers.”

DeJesus acknowledged his illness could have been the swine flu, although club officials have been steadfast in refusing to characterize as anything more than the flu.

“They just said a virus went through me,” he said. “That was it. It could have been (swine flu). I don’t know, but it was definitely serious. I’ve been sick before, but I’ve never been sick like that.”

DeJesus batted .281 with 50 extra-base hits and 71 RBIs while playing in 144 of the season’s first 153 games. He said the virus struck prior to the Sept. 24 games against Boston at Kauffman Stadium.

“I felt the chills,” he said. “I didn’t take batting practice that day, and as the game went on, everything started aching. My ankles, my back, everything, and I started feeling dizzy.

“I came out of the game in the seventh, went in and saw the doc and had a 100-degree fever. I was just shivering while I was sitting there during (the examination). He said, `Go home. You’ve got the flu.’

“I went home and by the time I got in bed, I was at 104 (degrees). I thought, `Whoa, what is going on right now?’ From there, it was just a battle. I was freezing and sweating.”

DeJesus resumed light workouts Wednesday by riding an exercise bike at Kauffman Stadium. On Thursday, he took 30 swings off a tee and played catch.

“Now, we’ll see,” he said. “It’s good to be back and just be around the guys again. Just to get out of the house.”

Betancourt injured

Shortstop Yuniesky Betancourt left Friday’s game in the fifth inning after fouling a ball off his left foot -- but not before finishing his at-bat with an RBI single that produced the Royals’ first run.

“It got him real good right on top of the foot,” Hillman said. “I would say he’s questionable for (today).”

Betancourt’s availability for the season’s final two games will be evaluated on a daily basis. Luis Hernandez replaced Betancourt as a pinch-runner and later delivered a two-run single.

Final reminder

Want to watch Zack Greinke’s final start of the season? Just remember today’s game was switched earlier this week to a 3:10 p.m. start to accommodate the Fox Network. It was originally scheduled for a 6:10 start.

Twins/Tigers tussle

Minnesota reliever José Mihares received a fine but no suspension for his role in Thursday’s fracas in Detroit. Mihares was fined for throwing a pitch behind Tigers shortstop Adam Everett in the eighth inning, which prompted warnings to both benches.

Detroit pitcher Jeremy Bonderman got a three-game suspension for ignoring the warning and hitting Delmon Young in the ninth inning. Tigers hitting coach Lloyd McClendon was fined and suspended one game for his actions.

The Commissioner’s Office also fined Tigers manager Jim Leyland and catcher Gerald Laird for engaging in heated arguments with home-plate umpire Angel Hernandez.

Minor details

The Royals had three of the top 12 prospects this season in the Class A Midwest League, according to Baseball America. Pitchers Mike Montgomery and Tim Melville ranked fifth and 11th, while first baseman Eric Hosmer was No. 12.

All three played at Burlington and were among the organization’s top selections in the 2008 draft.

Montgomery, 20, is a lefty who made just 12 starts prior to his promotion to Class A Wilmington but only twice allowed more than two earned runs in compiling a 2.17 ERA.

Baseball America reports, “Montgomery's fastball already sits at 90-92 mph with room for a lot of projection, and it looks quicker because there's little effort in his delivery. He also throws a potential plus changeup, a hard downer curveball that he needs to stay on top of more often, and a palmball.”

Melville, 19, was 7-7 with a 3.59 ERA in 21 starts and, according to Baseball America, “lacks a little of Montgomery's polish but he has similar potential for multiple plus pitches.”

Hosmer, 19, was the third overall pick in the draft and merits his ranking primarily on potential after batting .254 with five homers and 49 RBIs in 79 games prior to his promotion to Wilmington.

“Bat speed and raw power were supposed to be Hosmer’s calling cards,” Baseball America reports, “and he showed them off in batting practice but not during games. He stood way off the plate, struggled with pitch recognition and swung through high-80s fastballs.

“He does have strength and nice loft in his stroke, and the big left-handed power potential is still there, but scouts and managers expected more.” Looking back

It was 33 years ago today -- Oct. 3, 1976 -- that George Brett went three for four in a 5-3 loss to Minnesota at then-Royals Stadium and edged teammate Hal McRae for the American League batting title.

Brett finished the season at .333. McRae went two for four in the final game and finished at .332. The batting crown was decided in the ninth inning when Twins left fielder Steve Brye misplayed Brett’s fly into an inside-the-park homer. McRae followed with a ground out to short.

It was the first of Brett’s three batting titles. He also won in 1980 and 1990.


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