Royals feeling loose after big win

Royals feeling loose after big win

PHOENIX -- Nothing like a blowout victory to bring a spark of life to the clubhouse. The Royals were in good spirits before Sunday's game.

Someone made some changes in the lineup posted on the bulletin board. For one thing, the culprit erased AVILES SS from the second spot and wrote in PENA SS.

Later, Jose Guillen was observed walking through the clubhouse muttering about benching a guy who had four hits the day before in the 12-3 romp over the Diamondbacks. Mike Aviles, of course, was really in manager Trey Hillman's lineup.

Clubhouse sources hinted that the guy doing the muttering was also the guy who altered the lineup.

"At least they're having some fun with it," Hillman said. "That's good. You need to have some fun."

With Major League Baseball promoting prostate cancer research for Father's Day, players were given the option of wearing removable blue ribbon tattoos on their faces.

Catcher Miguel Olivo took it to the next step, painting blue war paint on the cheeks of any player who would submit to the decoration.

Hillman peered at the blue-striped Olivo in the dugout before the game.

"It's a good look celebrating Father's Day," Hillman said.

A big win such as Saturday's victory over future Hall of Famer Randy Johnson and the first-place Diamondbacks could have a lasting effect, in Hillman's view.

"From an atmosphere standpoint, yesterday was as good as it can be after a disheartening walk-off home run the night before," Hillman said.

"I think we're starting to develop a little more resiliency. ... We had a little more strut early in the season when we were successful. [Now] guys are starting to realize that we can still actually make some things happen and put a streak together."

A light touch in the clubhouse certainly helps.

"You've got to have a way to find fun with it, even through the frustrating times and struggling times and hopefully keep the atmosphere better," he said.

Guillen and Olivo were doing their part on Sunday.

"There's some characters in there, no doubt," Hillman said.

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