The KC Royals went 6-1 last week (of course all seven games were at home) and are 38-31 overall, a 1/2 game back of Cleveland in the American League Central. The Royals head to play the NY Mets in a World Series rematch for two games beginning on Tuesday before returning home for five games beginning Friday night.
Starter Yordano Ventura began serving his eight-game suspension. Outfielder Brett Eibner returned from the DL and went just 3-for-16 with six strikeouts in four games. The Royals designated second baseman Omar Infante for assignment. The veteran was hitting just .239 in 39 games.
Triple-A Omaha went 3-3 last week but are still in last place in the Pacific Coast League American Northern Division (30-38, seven games back). It has been a rough June for the Storm Chasers, going just 4-15 so far. They finish up their series at Colorado Springs tonight before returning home for four games against New Orleans.
The Royals claimed reliever Tyler Olson off waivers and he made his debut on Sunday (2IP, H, 0R, 0BB, 2K). Alec Mills made his Triple-A debut on Sunday, picking up the win (5IP, 6H, 3R, 2ER, 2BB, 4K). Reliever Kevin McCarthy made his Triple-A debut on Friday night, picking up the save. However, he took the loss on Saturday.
Outfielder Reymond Fuentes was optioned back to Omaha and he went 3-for-10 with two walks, two runs scored, and an RBI.
Double-A NW Arkansas went 1-6 last week and were eliminated from first half playoff contention as the half comes to a close (29-40). It has been a rough end of the half for the Naturals, going just 2-13 heading into their final game versus Arkansas. They finish up their homestand with Arkansas on Wednesday before going to Tulsa for four games heading into the All-Star break.
The Naturals welcomed two big league rehabbers. Left fielder Alex Gordon started on Sunday and went 1-for-3. Kris Medlen made the start on Wednesday (and is expected to start again today), going two innings (3H, 0R, BB, 5K).
The Naturals also welcomed back two relievers: Mark Peterson and Aroni Nina from Omaha. Peterson pitched a scoreless inning on Saturday with two strikeouts, while Nina (who had not pitched since April due to injury) allowed a run on two hits and two walks in an inning on Sunday.
High-A Wilmington ended the first half on a high note, going 6-3 last week and winning two straight series (27-42). The Blue Rocks begin the second half at Winston-Salem on Thursday.
Low-A Lexington went 2-5 last week to end the first half (25-44). The Legends have won just four games in the month of June. After hosting the South Atlantic League All-Star Game, they begin the second half at home versus Hagerstown on Thursday.
Catcher Chase Vallot, who was elected to start the SAL ASG, was placed on the DL after being hit in the face earlier in the week.
Now to the awards…
Royals Hitters of the Week: Catcher Salvador Perez is on FIRE right now and making a case to start the MLB All-Star Game. Last week, he went 14-for-29 (.483) with two doubles and three home runs. Oh and he drove in eight runs while scoring seven.
Outfielder Paulo Orlando has stayed hot. He went 11-for-20 (.550) last week with three doubles and a triple. He scored two runs and drove in three.
Royals Pitcher of the Week: Things did not start out well for reliever Joakim Soria in his return to Kansas City, but he pitched well last week. In four games (totaling 4.2 innings), he allowed four hits and walked two. Soria struck out four and did not allow a run.
Minor League Hitter of the Week: NWA first baseman Ryan O’Hearn is in the midst of an 11-game hitting streak (with four multi-hit games). Last week, he went 10-for-27 (.370) with two doubles and two home runs. O’Hearn drove in six while scoring two.
Honorable Mention: Lexington shortstop Marten Gasparini finally may be figuring out the SAL. He went 9-for-24 (.375) last week with a double, a homer, five runs scored, and five RBIs.
Hottest end to the first half: Wilmington shortstop Humberto Arteaga seemed to be in a bit of a slump, going just 2-for-25 heading into the final series of the first half. Then he went 10-for-19 (.526) over his final five games (in four days) with a homer and two RBIs to raise his batting average back up to .281 (13th in the CL).
Minor League Pitcher of the Week: Omaha reliever Clayton Mortensen pitched twice in long relief last week. Over 7.2 innings, he allowed two runs on seven hits and two walks while striking out five.
Keep him and his son Miles in your prayers, as Mortensen was placed on the inactive list.
Honorable Mention: It was a busy week for Legends reliever Gabe Cramer. He pitched three times, totaling 6.1 innings. Although he did give up two solo home runs on Thursday, that was all he allowed. Cramer earned the win in relief on Sunday, walking just one over 2.1 innings.