Royals battling injury and illness

Royals battling injury and illness

PHOENIX -- First baseman Billy Butler reported in and right fielder Jose Guillen checked out of the Royals' sick bay on Saturday.

Second baseman Mark Grudzielanek returned from Kansas City, where he had a back examination. And catcher Miguel Olivo was being treated for a right groin strain.

Butler was the latest to battle an apparent case of the flu, which has plagued clubhouses throughout the Cactus League. Guillen, who missed the last two days, felt well enough to resume practice.

Both stayed in Surprise, Ariz., while the Royals went to Phoenix to play the Milwaukee Brewers.

So did Grudzielanek, who was being treated for a lower back strain.

"Just a little bit, it's just soreness," Grudzielanek said when asked if he was in pain. "Typical stuff like I've had in the past. It's not a big deal."

He believes the soreness came from twisting and turning on double plays and the grind of everyday workouts.

"When you've had previous problems, sometimes it flares up a little bit because you're doing too much," he said. "No question I feel better right now, and we're going to move forward and get rolling."

Grudzielanek is being cautious, though, remembering that he returned too quickly last spring after having knee surgery. He'll be examined again by team physician Steve Joyce, who is returning to Surprise on Sunday.

"We've got two weeks, plenty of time," he said. "I've got no worries at all."

Butler had a fever and battled illness all night and reported to camp at 6 a.m. on Saturday and was given medicine.

"This is my day off, too," Butler said, noting he wasn't scheduled for the trip to Phoenix. "Good way to spend it, huh?"

He had planned to take batting practice, but, given his condition, he skipped that to rest instead.

Guillen returned to the clubhouse with his son, Jose, and ate a hearty breakfast. He had been sent home the previous two days with the flu.

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"I feel much better," Guillen said. "I've got to get some work done. I'm trying to get ready again."

Given permission for a late start in the Cactus League, Guillen has played just three games, going for 1-for-8.

Olivo was injured while backing away from an inside pitch in Friday's game against the Texas Rangers.

"He was good this morning," manager Trey Hillman said. "He said he felt a lot better, but that was before he went out and moved around."

There was no guess on how long Olivo might be out.

"We're hopeful of two to three [days]," Hillman said, "but we don't know."

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