Notes: Sweeney set for All-Star break

Notes: Sweeney set for All-Star break

KANSAS CITY -- What will be best about the All-Star Game for Mike Sweeney? Schmoozing with Alex Rodriguez? Renewing acquaintances with Carlos Beltran?

Well, as pleasant as the clubhouse and on-field doings might be, that's not the best part for Sweeney.

"The thing I'm looking forward to most is spending a few days with my dad and my two brothers. It isn't often we get to go on a trip together," Sweeney said.

"Last year we went on a fly-fishing trip at the Green River in Utah and that was one of the best experiences in my life and now we get to do it at the All-Star Game."

Yep, his pop, "Big Mike" Sweeney and brothers Richard, 29, and Tim, 20, will be joining the Royals' lone All-Star representative for the festivities and Tuesday night's game in Detroit.

Sweeney's wife, Shara, and son "Mini-Mike," won't make the trip for a good reason. The Sweeneys are soon expecting their second child, a daughter.

"The day I get home from the All-Star break and that road trip is when we're going to deliver little McKara -- on the 22nd, on my birthday," Sweeney said.

McKara is a name derived from Mike and Shara and she will be the ninth grandchild for Sweeney's parents.

"My mom can't make the trip because my younger sister, Katie, is going to have her first baby girl the day before the All-Star Game, on Monday," Sweeney said.

"So we'll have a very exciting month."

In his three previous All-Star appearances, Sweeney got one at-bat in each game and made an out. In 2003, he attended the game in Chicago but couldn't play because of an injury. Naturally, he'd like to snap out of his All-Star hitting drought.

"I want to get out there and mix in a couple of hits. It'll be fun," he said.

And Sweeney can't wait to meet up with his pop and brothers in Motown.

"I'm looking forward to spending time with them and hanging around good, old Detroit for a week," he said. "I've never been so excited about going to Detroit."

Royals trivia: George Brett played in 10 All-Star Games. Did he ever hit a home run? (Answer below.)

Surgery possible: Athletic trainer Nick Swartz said surgery has been recommended to correct pitcher Scott Sullivan's back ailment.

Robert Watkins, a back specialist in Los Angeles, suggested that option after examining Sullivan last week.

"We've exhausted every avenue to get me back on the field," Sullivan said. "The organization has been tremendous in their support."

Sullivan said he was especially appreciative of treatment and help from Swartz and assistant athletic trainer Frank Kyte.

Although he has not pitched this season and might have surgery, Sullivan said retirement is not in his plans.

"No," he said. "I'm thinking about getting better."

Farm report: Shawn Camp pitched 4 2/3 scoreless innings and was credited with Triple-A Omaha's 8-3 win Saturday night over Oklahoma. ... Donnie Murphy had four hits and upped his average to .296 in Double-A Wichita's doubleheader loss to Arkansas.

Class A High Desert's John Gragg III went seven innings of a 6-3 win over Lancaster and improved his record to 8-2. Kila Kaaihue had four hits and his 12th homer. ... Patrick Hicklen held Beloit to two runs in eight innings and got his fifth victory in Class A Burlington's 6-2 win. ... Outfielder Matt Diaz, rehabbing with the Rookie League Arizona, was 5-for-9 in two games.

Trivia answer: Brett hit one All-Star home run, connecting off Montreal's Charlie Lea on July 10, 1984, at Candlestick Park in San Francisco. The second-inning sock was the American League's only run in a 3-1 loss.

Going indoors: Manager Buddy Bell has decided to have the Royals do their pre-batting practice stretching inside the clubhouse, a practice he also followed in Detroit and Colorado. It has nothing to do with the hot weather.

"I feel like it's more confined and if we need to do some housekeeping, we can discuss it there," Bell said. "Once we're on the field, I like to do just baseball stuff. I'm old school, I guess."

On deck: After three off-days for the All-Star break, the Royals will play the Tigers at Comerica Park at 6:05 p.m. CT Thursday. Right-hander Zack Greinke (1-11, 6.20 ERA) will make the start in Thursday's game and will be opposed by Detroit right-hander Jeremy Bonderman (11-5, 3.99 ERA).

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