KANSAS CITY -- Pitcher Felipe Paulino was back in the Royals clubhouse on Friday after being recalled from his rehabilitation assignment with Double-A Northwest Arkansas. Lower back stiffness caused the pause in his return from Tommy John surgery last July 3.
"Nothing's wrong with me. I'm OK, just here to check it out," Paulino said. "It's nothing bad. They know it's nothing major, just a strain in the lower back. It's no big deal."
Paulino planned to throw in the bullpen on Friday and hoped to return to pitching in the Minors by early next week. However, manager Ned Yost indicated Paulino might throw a simulated game in Kansas City first.
"I've been able to play catch and do my full workout," Paulino said. "I'm not stopping. They only removed me from [pitching] my game. I believe this week I'll be back to the games."
Despite struggles, confidence never wavered
KANSAS CITY -- Now that it's happened, manager Ned Yost says that the Royals players believed all along they could turn things around after a dismal May.
"I think it was something they felt like they could do all along. I don't think it's a great surprise to anybody that we did it. The feeling and the attitude was that once we get on a roll, we'd get right back into it," Yost said.
"In my first year in Atlanta in '91, we were 10 games out at the All-Star break and ended up going to the World Series. It's a long year, you've got to be prepared for a long year, and you've got to be able to handle the ups and downs of the season."
Gordon scuffling as Royals hit upswing
KANSAS CITY -- Now that the Royals have turned things better in the won-lost column, one of their steadiest performers in the hitting department has hit a slide.
Alex Gordon hit .329 in the first two months of the season when the Royals were 22-30, but he batted just .154 (10-for-65) in the first 18 games of June when the Royals were 12-6. That's through the series at Cleveland, where he was 0-for-12.
"[His swing] doesn't look any different to me now than it did three weeks ago," manager Ned Yost said. "So just keep working like he does every single day. Don't ask me how. It's like turning on a light switch. All of a sudden one at-bat can get you hot. Him and Billy Butler, we need both of those guys to flick that switch and get going offensively. You know both Alex and Billy have the capability of carrying a club offensively for an extended period of time. We just wait for that time to happen."
Butler, at .273 going into Friday night's game against the White Sox, has perked up since Salvador Perez was put in the No. 3 spot ahead of him in the lineup. Butler went 18-for-54 (.333) with seven RBIs in those 15 games.
Overall, Yost is still waiting for the team to reach its offensive potential.
"I think we're a good offensive team that hasn't got to the point where they're producing the way they can every single night," he said. "I think that's something to look forward to."
Rays-Royals tilt rescheduled for Aug. 26
KANSAS CITY -- The Royals and Rays will meet again on Monday, Aug. 26 at 1:10 p.m. CT at Kauffman Stadium in a makeup game from May 2 that was postponed because of snow. The Rays will be in the middle of a homestand at that time, but they will fly into Kansas City for the game.
On May 2, the Royals were leading 1-0 through 3 1/2 innings. It was 41 degrees when the game started, with a 32 degree wind chill. The game was first postponed for rain, but then snow started to fall and it was called after one hour and eight minutes of play.
The School Day at The K pregame program that was set up for May 2 was rescheduled for June 12, but any remaining group tickets may be exchanged for the Aug. 26 game or another game this season by contacting the team's group sales department. Any other tickets may be exchanged through the box office.