Notes: Sweeney rumors shot down

Notes: Sweeney rumors shot down

ANAHEIM -- Don't pay attention to all those trade rumors floating around the Royals' Mike Sweeney.

Apparently, he's not going anywhere anytime soon.

"I've talked to ownership," general manager Allard Baird said Sunday. "We're not looking to trade Mike Sweeney. We're looking to add a bat to add to Mike."

The rumors continued to swirl during Sweeney's visit to Anaheim near where he grew up in Ontario, Calif.

It's become an annual ritual. Sweeney is always a natural fit for either of the Los Angeles-area clubs, the Dodgers or the Angels.

This year it's the Angels who, with slugger Vladimir Guerrero on the disabled list, could use a productive bat in the lineup.

It was no surprise, then, that Los Angeles-area newspapers trotted out the Sweeney possibility. The first baseman-designated hitter even allowed that he might consider dropping the contract clause that adds $1.5 million to his $11 million salary if he's traded.

"I'd consider anything," Sweeney said. "I'm not begging to get out but, if a trade was imminent, then it'd be something I'd have to pray about. But right now I'm a Kansas City Royal."

Sweeney's contract stipulates eight clubs to which he could be traded without his consent -- the five California teams, Seattle, Arizona and the Chicago Cubs.

"Yeah, definitely, of the eight teams that are on my limited no-trade clause, the Angels are one of them," Sweeney said. "I'm a West Coast guy and even though with my wife and son, we live in Kansas City, this is where my love is -- all my family and close friends live out here."

Despite the Royals' woes this season, team captain Sweeney hasn't lobbied for a trade. That remains in the hands of Baird and Royals' ownership.

And, judging by Baird's statement Sunday, that's not about to happen.

Managerial search: Baird said the interview portion of the search for a permanent successor to Tony Pena as manager has ended.

The Royals have talked to former managers Art Howe, Buddy Bell, Jerry Manuel and Terry Collins about the job.

"We have completed all the interviews," he said. "Hopefully, by the middle or the end of the week, we'll solidify things."

Baird plans no formal interview with interim manager Bob Schaefer, who is the fifth candidate.

"We don't think there's a need for that at this point. We know Schaef very well, but we'll be talking to him."

Long leaves game: Left fielder Terrence Long was taken out of Sunday's game after five innings because of tightness behind his left knee.

Long was 1-for-2 Sunday, and went 6-for-13 on the road trip.

Royals trivia: How many former Yankees are on the Royals' roster? (Answer below.)

Bright in bullpen: So far, so good for right-hander Steve Stemle. In his first two outings for the Royals, Stemle has worked 5 1/3 scoreless innings, allowing two hits and a walk with six strikeouts.

He saved the bullpen in Saturday night's 14-1 loss to the Angels with 2 1/3 innings.

"He was a starter all through the Minor Leagues, built up his arm strength and learned how to pitch," interim manager Bob Schaefer said. "He might be a little short as a starter, but he can come in and pitch in the middle."

Farm report: Third baseman Chris Truby is hitting .271 since joining Triple-A Omaha after recovering from a bone chip in his elbow. He doubled in an 8-3 loss to Albuquerque on Saturday night.

Right-hander Kyle Middleton improved to 6-4 with a 2.59 ERA as he worked seven innings, allowing one unearned run, in Double-A Wichita's 6-1 win over San Antonio on Saturday. Second baseman Brett Groves (.232) had three hits.

Designated hitter Billy Butler's two hits raised his average to .358 in Class A High Desert's 15-6 loss to Inland Empire on Saturday. ... Also on that day, center fielder Alan Moye hit his third homer in Class A Burlington's 4-3 win over Dayton.

Trivia answer: One. Catcher Alberto Castillo played in 15 games for the Yankees in 2002.

On deck: The Royals are off Monday. They open a three-game series against the Yankees at 7:10 p.m. CT Tuesday at Kauffman Stadium.

Dick Kaegel is a reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.