Bale, who was out with shoulder tightness, was almost ready to return about a month ago after rehabbing with Triple-A Omaha. Through June 5, he had thrown six scoreless innings but, while playing long-toss, he pulled a glute muscle.
"I've played long-toss thousands of times in my career, but I landed wrong and tweaked it," Bale said.
So he was out until June 29, when he rejoined Omaha. He was deemed fit after pitching back-to-back games at Round Rock, Texas, last week. In a total of eight games for Omaha, Bale was 0-1 with a 2.84 ERA. In 12 2/3 innings, he had 12 strikeouts and one walk, allowing four earned runs on 13 hits.
When Bale appears in a Major League game, it will be his first since 2003 when he was with the Cincinnati Reds. He started a game at Pittsburgh and was hurt while at bat.
"In about the third inning, I swung and hit a ball to the second baseman and tweaked my hamstring and that's how my season ended," he said.
The hamstring healed, and Bale signed with the Hiroshima Toyo Carp. He spent three seasons in Japan, pitching as both a starter and a closer.
"It helped me mature a lot," said Bale, 32. "Not having a pitching coach who spoke English, you had to make your own adjustments. You watched your own video and learned from that."
When Bale is activated, the Royals are expected to return left-hander Neal Musser to Omaha.
On the beach: Reliever Joakim Soria had a busy All-Star break. On the day of the game, Soria was married to Karla Palazuelos in a beachfront ceremony at San Carlos, Sonora, Mexico.
The Royals granted Soria permission to miss last Sunday's game in Kansas City. Now he's back at work. The honeymoon?
"I guess the honeymoon will be all the road trips," Soria said with a smile.
Bunts: Infielder Jason Smith joined the Royals at Jacobs Field for a full-squad early afternoon workout. He was assigned uniform No. 26. "I was 68 in Spring Training, 4 with Toronto, 21 with Arizona and now 26," he said. His favorite? "Any number that allows me to be in the big leagues," he said. ... Manager Buddy Bell, who underwent surgery for a cancerous growth behind his left tonsil last September, was checked by doctors during the break. "They said I was doing really good," Bell said. ... Outfielder Reggie Sanders told Bell he expects to be ready to come off the disabled list when the club gets to Boston next week. ... Pitcher Brandon Duckworth threw for the first time since going on the disabled list with a left rib cage strain June 14. He is expected to be ready for a rehabilitation assignment in two or three weeks. ... With Scott Elarton still pitching on rehab with Omaha, Bell said that John Thomson would be the starter next Tuesday at Boston.
Royals rundown: Paul Phillips' RBI single in the 11th gave Omaha a 4-3 win over Iowa on Thursday. Derek Wathan's three-run homer tied the game in the eighth. ... Carlos Rosa gave up just one run in five innings and struck out six, but Double-A Wichita lost to Springfield, 6-3. ... Tyler Chambliss, who had won his five previous decisions in two leagues, finally took a loss as Class A Wilmington lost to Potomac, 8-2. ... Eduardo Paulino struck out eight in five innings of rookie level Burlington, N.C.'s 5-3 win over Bristol. Brett Amyx hit a two-run homer. ... Infielder Andres Blanco, rehabbing with the rookie Royals in Arizona, was hitless in two at-bats during a 10-8 loss to the Rangers.
Coming up: Right-hander Gil Meche (5-6, 3.54 ERA) will make his first start since his All-Star selection against Cleveland at 6:05 p.m. CT Saturday at Jacobs Field. The Indians will start left-hander C.C. Sabathia (12-3, 3.58 ERA).