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Notes: Musser sent back to Minors

Notes: Musser sent back to Minors

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BOSTON -- Left-hander Neal Musser is gone -- again -- but not forgotten.

Musser has had an up-and-down existence for the Royals this season, no more so than in a 72-hour period that began on Saturday, when he was optioned back to Triple-A Omaha. He was nudged off the roster as lefty John Bale came off the disabled list.

Back in Omaha on Sunday, Musser got a call that he was needed again by the Royals -- to fill in for a day. Pitcher John Thomson was going on the DL and the bullpen was a bit short for Monday night.

Musser came out of the bullpen against the Red Sox and worked two scoreless innings in Monday night's 4-0 loss. Then he was sent off again to join Omaha (for the fourth time this season), this time at Albuquerque.

His Fenway outing gave Musser a 2.13 ERA in his last seven games for the Royals. In just one of them did he allow runs -- three to the Milwaukee Brewers on June 22. That was a huge improvement over his previous 10.80 ERA in six early-season games.

"He did a great job, a terrific job," manager Buddy Bell said.

Musser was called up from Omaha for the third time on June 14, and after faltering badly in May, he returned with a different attitude.

"He told me it just ended up being another game for him," Bell said. "When he first came up, he treated it different. This time he just treated it like another game -- which eventually happens. You just don't know how soon or how long it'll take."

Musser could figure as part of the Royals' bullpen in the future.

"He's a lot more ahead of the game than the second time we sent him down. He's opened some eyes," Bell said. "Before, honestly, we were kind of cold on the idea."

Bell said that longtime scout and senior advisor Art Stewart was Musser's biggest supporter after he was signed as a Minor League free agent in May 2006.

"Art kept pushing him and said he was going to be OK. And he was," Bell said.

Sanders gets a start: Reggie Sanders was in left field on Tuesday night. No surprise there because he was the only Royal in the clubhouse who had homered against knuckleballer Tim Wakefield.

Just blind luck, perhaps.

"With a knuckleball, you can't even think about it because there's so much movement," Sanders said. "So you just want to get up there and go from there."

Sanders pinch-hit (and singled) and played an inning in right field (two catches) on Monday night. But this was his first start since May 2 against the Los Angeles Angels.

Was the veteran charged up?

"I try not to be. I'm just trying to contain myself and not get too hyped," he said.

Bunts: Scott Elarton is scheduled to make another rehab start on Wednesday night for Omaha. "He can stay down there for another one or two starts," Bell said. ... From the Royals' June 18 stop in St. Louis through Monday night in Boston, the Royals had averaged 41,701 fans for 13 road games. They played in front of 542,117 fans, posting a 6-7 record. ... On this date in 1990, Bo Jackson hammered three home runs against Andy Hawkins at Yankee Stadium. Then Jackson suffered a shoulder injury diving for a catch and missed more than a month. When he came back on Aug. 26, he banged another home run in his first at-bat against Seattle.

Royals rundown: Omaha starter Tyler Lumsden gave up seven runs and seven hits in just 1 1/3 innings but had a no decision in a 9-8 loss at Albuquerque. Reliever Roberto Giron had seven strikeouts and gave up one run in 5 2/3 innings. Catcher Paul Phillips hit his first home run. ... Jeff Nettles drove in four runs and hit two homers in Double-A Wichita's 11-7 win over Arkansas. Geraldo Valentin's three hits boosted his average to .313. ... Reliever Justin Barnes retired all six batters he faced for Class A Wilmington in a 5-3 loss to Myrtle Beach. ... Derrick Robinson stole his 22nd base and Kurt Mertins his 21st in Class A Burlington's 4-3 victory over Great Lakes. ... Manni Juan hit two solo home runs but Advanced Rookie League Idaho Falls lost to Missoula, 9-6. ... Kyle Martin hit a grand slam and a two-run homer as Rookie League Burlington, N.C., beat Johnson City, 12-8.

Coming up: The Royals finish their three-game series against the Red Sox at 6:05 p.m. CT on Wednesday. Left-hander Odalis Perez (4-8, 5.68 ERA) will start for Kansas City. Right-hander Julian Tavarez (5-7, 5.15 ERA) will start for Boston.

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

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