ANAHEIM -- The Royals will mark Memorial Day on Monday by wearing camouflage jerseys and hats against the Astros, and the first 10,000 fans at Kauffman Stadium will receive white jerseys with camouflage lettering. Right-hander James Shields said it's a special day to honor the military -- but so is every day.
"For us as players, me in particular, these guys are my heroes," Shield said Sunday. "All the sacrifices they've made and continue to make enable us to do what we do as entertainers. I'm glad every day, around baseball, we honor the military. They deserve it. Every day we do that is special. It never gets old. I get the same feeling each Memorial Day."
Members of the military will be honored throughout the game through the Buck O'Neil Legacy Seat and Our Heroes program. Fans are encouraged to be in their seats by 6 p.m. CT for the special Armed Forces Night program. Special ticket pricing will be available for members of the military and their families. For more information, visit royals.com/military.
Aoki, Valencia held out of KC lineup Sunday
ANAHEIM -- Royals right fielder Nori Aoki (right elbow) and third baseman Danny Valencia (sprained left wrist) were held out of the lineup Sunday against the Angels.
Manager Ned Yost ended up using Aoki as a pinch-runner in the ninth inning of the Royals' 4-3 loss. He's likely to start Monday against the Astros, according to the skipper. Aoki was hit on the upper right arm by a C.J. Wilson pitch Friday, and said Saturday the pain had traveled to his elbow.
Aoki had an RBI single in the 13th inning of the Royals' 7-4 victory over the Angels on Saturday, but didn't play the bottom of the frame. Jarrod Dyson started in center field on Sunday, and led off in Aoki's place, with Lorenzo Cain moving from center to right.
The X-rays on Valencia's wrist were normal, and he's day to day. He said the injury is between his pinkie finger and ring finger.
"It's definitely not going to require a DL stint," said Valencia, who was hurt in the 13th inning as well, during the at-bat in which he doubled to spark the Royals' three-run rally.
The injury came at an unfortunate time for Valencia, who became the regular third baseman when Mike Moustakas was sent to Triple-A Omaha on Thursday.
"Absolutely," Valencia said on Friday, when asked if Moustakas' option gives him a chance to re-establish himself as more than just a platoon player. "When you can play in the Major Leagues every day, it's a great opportunity. You've got to make the best of it."
Valencia said the last time he was an everyday third baseman was "the beginning of 2012, before I got sent down."
He bounced around after that, logging considerable time in the Minor Leagues, around stints with the Red Sox and Orioles, before getting traded to the Royals for outfielder David Lough.
Jimmy Paredes started at third in place of Valencia on Sunday.
Royals option Pena, recall righty Mariot
ANAHEIM -- With No. 1 catcher Salvador Perez (right hand) healthy and starting his second game in a row Sunday, the Royals optioned third catcher Francisco Pena to Triple-A Omaha, and recalled the Storm Chasers' closer, right-hander Michael Mariot. The Royals' bullpen pitched seven shutout innings to close Saturday's game.
Mariot, 25, was up earlier (April 11-May 5), making his first six Major League appearances for the Royals. He had a 5.91 ERA with nine strikeouts in 10 2/3 innings. He was 1-0 with two saves and a 4.66 ERA in six games for the Storm Chasers.
Earl Bloom is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.