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Notes: Sweeney homers for sick boy

Notes: Sweeney homers for sick boy

MINNEAPOLIS -- Matt Herndon, the 11-year-old Overland Park, Kan., boy whom Mike Sweeney hit a home run for Wednesday night, underwent surgery Thursday morning in Dallas for a brain aneurysm.

Sweeney, who said he spoke to Herndon's father while Matt was in surgery, remained emotional this morning when recounting the Babe Ruth-like events of the day before.

According to a Royals official, the Herndon family alerted the team of Matt's condition and asked if Sweeney -- the boy's favorite player -- might call him before Wednesday's game. So Sweeney did. The boy asked Sweeney if he could hit a home run for him, and Sweeney said he'd try.

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In the first inning, Sweeney -- who had only one homer in his first 16 games -- homered off Sidney Ponson with a man on.

"I never ran so fast around the bases after hitting a homer," Sweeney said.

David DeJesus, who also talked to Herndon but did not promise a long ball, also connected against Ponson, a two-run homer in the fourth.

Thursday morning, Sweeney almost teared up when describing the postgame phone message he got from Herndon. The boy had called many of his friends in Overland Park to tell them of Sweeney's call.

"He said they couldn't get the game at the hospital, but when I homered, all his friends from Overland Park started calling," Sweeney said. "He said, `You did it, Mike!'

"David said that Matt told him this was the greatest day of his life. That boy's got some courage. He's a hero now."

Hud, Elarton getting closer: Manager Buddy Bell said general manager Dayton Moore watched Luke Hudson's second rehab start for Double-A Wichita on Wednesday. Hudson (right shoulder strain) allowed two runs, one earned, on three hits in 4 1/3 innings. Scott Elarton (right shoulder surgery), meanwhile, was scheduled for his third rehab start overall and second for Triple-A Omaha on Thursday.

Each will likely make one more start before rejoining the Royals.

"We're getting closer to making a decision, but we're not there yet," Bell said. "It's kind of in our minds. We have to have some sort of plan."

Shealy sits again: First baseman Ryan Shealy, off to a 5-for-49 start (.102) with 12 strikeouts in his last eight games, did not start for the second consecutive day. Bell also didn't start Sweeney in a day game after a night game, and went with Reggie Sanders as his designated hitter.

Local hero: The New York Times profiled East Hampton, N.Y., product Ross Gload in its Wednesday editions. Few scouts venture to the east end of Long Island, where Gload grew up, and the story told in part about how Gload got himself noticed enough to land a scholarship to the University of South Florida.

Gload said Thursday morning he still hadn't had time to read the story. The Royals got to their Minneapolis hotel at 3:30 a.m. CT on Wednesday, thanks in part to a lengthy rain delay in Kansas City on Tuesday night. Gload said that so far he had only heard from one person back home about the story.

"I had a real good friend of mine from high school text me at 7:30 in the morning after we got in at 3:30," Gload said with a wry smile.

Up next: The Royals open a three-game series in Seattle on Friday night, with Jorge De La Rosa (2-1, 3.04) opposing the Mariners' Horacio Ramirez (1-1, 6.30). First pitch is scheduled for 9:05 p.m. CT.

Pat Borzi is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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