Then Shealy got hurt and, a few days later, so did Gload. He missed 42 games. Oddly enough, when Gload was ready to come off the disabled list, the luckless Shealy was ready to go back on.
So pretty much since June 30, Gload has been the guy.
"You kind of just adapt to your role. I mean, I'm not supposed to be an everyday player here. I'm just trying to fill a need right now. I've been backing up players who have been hurt or whatever," Gload said.
"So you just kind of play a role and, if you do your job, they'll find a spot for you."
That Royals manager Buddy Bell has done. In fact, even though Shealy is ready to be activated from his latest injury, the Royals decided to option him to Triple-A Omaha instead.
"Gload just plays and competes and is good for the team. He plays the outfield, he plays first, he knows where he's at on the field all the time. He can hit, he can run," Bell said. "He's never hit with a lot of power and guys like that can be under appreciated. I've seen this kid for a long time and I've never really seen him have a bad game in terms of him not knowing what he's doing."
Gload is a standout defensive player at first base.
"I've been a first baseman since I was 9 and I've been an outfielder since I was 24," Gload said.
"I grew up in New York, watching Don Mattingly and Keith Hernandez, being able to switch from Channel 9 to Channel 11, and learning from those guys is pretty exciting. And even Will Clark was a guy I watched."
Gload increased his versatility and his value by learning to play the outfield after turning pro.
"I'll always be a first baseman that can play the outfield," he said.
Sweeney delay: Although Mike Sweeney hoped to head for an injury rehabilitation assignment by Monday, he's been delayed by increased soreness in his right knee.
Now Sweeney will accompany the club to Texas and, he hopes, leave for rehab on Thursday. That, he said, is the six-week mark from his surgery and the return date originally set by team physician Dr. Steve Joyce.
The soreness occurred after he got off the treadmill and was running on the field.
Rehab report: Pitcher Roman Colon has a right forearm strain and was called off his injury assignment with Omaha and sent to the Royals complex at Surprise, Ariz. He's supposed to resume throwing in seven to 10 days ... Pitcher John Thomson, who has been rehabbing in Arizona, is scheduled to start Saturday night for Wichita at Frisco. He's on the disabled list because of back spasms ... Brandon Duckworth, in his second rehab appearance with Class A Wilmington, gave up four runs on four hits in 1 2/3 innings on Friday night against Frederick.
In Buck's seat: Frank Diskin, recently retired athletic director of Rockhurst University, was in the Buck O'Neil Legacy Seat on Friday night. Diskin expanded the school's athletic department from four sports and 65 athletes to 11 sports and more than 240 athletes. He also helped form the Heartland and Great Lakes Valley conferences and was instrumental in getting Rockhurst membership in NCAA Division II.
Going mobile: Now you can have your Royals tickets delivered to your cell phone via text message.
The Royals announced the introduction of Mobile Phone Tickets technology at Kauffman Stadium. Fans can purchase tickets at royals.com and have them zapped to their phone. Each text message will include a unique bar code that can be scanned from the phone screen for entry. The fan will receive a printed receipt of the ticket with seat location info to be retained throughout the game. Fans with such tickets will enter through Gates A and B.
The Royals are one of five Major League clubs with this technology, joining the Nationals, Pirates, A's and Rangers.
Royals rundown: Starter Carlos Rosa gave up just two unearned runs in six innings but Double-A Wichita lost to Midland, 5-4, on Thursday. Left fielder Jorge Padilla, a .291 hitter in 56 games for Triple-A Omaha, is batting .356 in 50 games for Wichita ... Rowdy Hardy (2.33 ERA) pitched three perfect innings before rain stopped Class A Wilmington's game against Winston-Salem ... Jason Godin pitched six innings and winner Henry Barrera one inning of Class A Burlington, Iowa's 1-0 victory in a doubleheader split with Fort Wayne ... Shortstop Yeldrys Molina was 4-for-4 and first baseman Jake Lane had two doubles and three RBIs as Rookie Burlington, N.C., beat Princeton, 9-7 ... Third-round pick Daniel Duffy struck out nine and gave up just three hits in six innings as the Rookie Royals took the Brewers, 7-0, in Arizona. Duffy's ERA is 0.40 in 22 1/3 innings.
Coming up: Right-hander Leo Nunez, 1-0, 1.93 ERA, will make his third start for the Royals against Blue Jays right-hander Dustin McGowan, 8-5, 4.11 ERA, at 6:10 p.m. CT Saturday at Kauffman Stadium.
A Cookie Rojas bobblehead, honoring the Royals Hall of Fame second baseman, will go to the first 20,000 fans. Rojas will sign autographs near the first-base dugout just after the gates open.