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."
"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
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
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
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 MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.