Notes: Sweeney returns to lineup

Notes: Sweeney returns to lineup

KANSAS CITY -- The Royals activated Mike Sweeney from the 15-day disabled list on Friday, but not before a fair amount of deliberation.

Manager Buddy Bell wanted to be absolutely sure that the All-Star first baseman's left wrist and elbow were fully healed before he made official Sweeney's activation and Justin Huber's ensuing demotion to Double-A.

"He took about 10 minutes of batting practice and felt fine," Bell said. "We're going to take him through BP and make sure everything is fine before we make a move. We've got a lineup right now and he's in it, but we don't want to make a move until after BP."

Well, Sweeney made it through BP, spraying balls to all fields, and the Royals made the roster move about one hour before game time. He was penciled into the No. 3 spot in the team's lineup as the designated hitter, where he will remain at least for a few days, if not longer.

"We're not going to have him in the field for at least a couple of days, and it could be longer than that," Bell said. "The thing that's probably bothering him more than hitting is catching the ball, so we're going to try to keep him away from that for a little while.

"It might not be until after the All-Star break that he plays first base, but you might not want to tell him that."

In Sweeney's absence from the field, Tony Graffanino and Matt Stairs will continue to man first base.

As for Sweeney, who has been sidelined since a June 15 collision at first base with the Dodgers' Jayson Werth, he's just happy to be off the bench and back in the lineup with his teammates. And he's not the only one happy that he's off the bench.

"It's actually nice to have Sweeney out of the dugout," Bell said. "Golly, he was driving me crazy."

Sweeney's explanation?

"When I can't play and I'm on the bench, the only way I'm able to use that energy is to verbalize it," Sweeney said. "Buddy would say, 'Gosh, Mike, I want you in the lineup but you're driving me nuts.'

"I'm passionate, I love the game of baseball, I've loved playing it since I was 3 years old, playing catch with my dad. That being said, it's in my heart, it's a burning desire, to go out and enjoy the game and play it the way it's supposed to be played."

And that thought took very little deliberation at all.

Huber remains upbeat: As a result of Sweeney's return to the 25-man roster, someone had to be demoted. That turned out to be Huber, who will return to Double-A Wichita.

Despite his return to the Minors coming a little earlier than he would have liked, Huber's smile never disappeared from his face. His time in Kansas City, after all, was a learning experience.

"I'm feeling pretty good about this experience," he said. "It's a positive. I'm not going back there with my tail between my legs wondering about the big leagues. I've got a purpose to work on some stuff and get better.

"I worked on my swing path with Andre [David], I worked on my hands and my fielding skills at first base. But more than anything, I've taken the wonder of the Major Leagues out of my head because I've seen it, been a part of it and I know I can do it. That's huge. I don't have to wonder if I can, just when I can."

Huber saw action in five games, and batted .250 (3-for-12) with three RBIs.

Trivia question: The Royals made the first trade in team history on Dec. 12, 1968. With what team did they execute the trade, and what players were involved? (See answer below)

Sweeney shrugs off trade rumors: Despite missing 13 games with a bruised left wrist and elbow, Sweeney had to listen to trade rumors, and will likely have to listen to them for the rest of the month.

In Sweeney's mind, though, that's all he'll be doing.

"I don't think I'm going to be traded, I don't bank on being traded, I don't hope to be traded," he said. "I just hope that God will show me where he wants me to go or if he wants me to stay. Right now, I'm a proud Kansas City Royal. I don't think about being traded, it's not even a thought in my mind."

Sweeney is one of a number of Royals who are rumored to be on the trading block. That list also includes veterans Graffanino, Terrence Long and Stairs, among others.

The trade deadline is July 31.

   Scott Sullivan  /   P
Born: 03/13/71
Height: 6'3"
Weight: 210 lbs
Bats: R / Throws: R

Injury update: Right-hander Scott Sullivan returned to Kansas City a little earlier than planned, but no, he's not ready to move back to the Royals bullpen

"He had a little bit of a setback. I think he's going to see Dr. Watkins -- the back surgeon out of Los Angeles -- on Wednesday," Bell said.

Sullivan has been on the DL all season with a back strain.

Meanwhile, left-hander Brian Anderson threw another bullpen session Friday and continues to feel very good and on schedule.

Farm report: Left-hander Jeremy Affeldt made his rehab appearance at Triple-A Omaha Thursday, but probably won't remember it very long. Affeldt worked just one-third of an inning and gave up two runs and two hits while walking one as the O-Royals lost to Albuquerque, 6-2.

Double-A Wichita pulled out a 5-4 win over Midland when Brett Groves hit a bases-loaded single in the 10th inning. Brian Bass pitched six shutout innings and struck out eight. ... Class A High Desert pounded out 13 hits in 10-7 win over Lancaster. Alan Moye went 3-for-5 and hit two homers. ... Class A Burlington pulled out a 9-8 win over Peoria. ... Rookie league Idaho Falls lost to Ogden, 10-8, while rookie level Arizona collected 17 hits in a 15-7 win over the Arizona Brewers. Second-round draft pick Jeffrey Bianchi was 2-for-3 to raise his average to .586.

Trivia answer: The Royals made their first trade with none other than the Angels. The Royals sent Hoyt Wilhelm to the Halos for Ed "Spanky" Kirkpatrick and Dennis Paepke.

On deck: The Royals will continue their three-game weekend set with the Angels at 6:10 p.m. CT on Saturday. Right-hander Jose Lima (1-6, 7.81 ERA) will start for the Royals, while righty Bartolo Colon (10-4, 3.02 ERA) will take the mound for the Angels.

Matt LaWell is a contributor to This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.