OAKLAND -- Monday night's lineup inked on the message board in the Royals' clubhouse had an open spot in one very noticeable place -- the No. 4 hitter.
Manager Trey Hillman filled in the blank later: Jose Guillen RF.
Guillen sat out Sunday's game because of a pulled left groin. The ailment bothered him in Saturday night's game and kept him from catching a pop fly in a crucial eighth-inning situation against Tampa Bay.
"He feels a little bit better, he's going to try to play defense and hit fourth," Hillman said.
So Guillen was back in the lineup against the Oakland A's.
That paid off promptly, as Guillen lashed a two-run homer in the first inning off A's left-hander Dallas Braden. Guillen sent the first pitch over the wall down the right-field line.
That was Guillen's first home run in July. He went into Monday night with subpar stats for the month, including a .154 average and just six RBIs.
Dick Kaegel is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.