Callaspo draws Kareem comparison

Callaspo draws Kareem comparison

Alberto Callaspo might be the first baseball player to do something to draw comparisons to basketball legend Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.

Callaspo's Kareem-like move happened in the sixth inning of Friday's 12-3 Royals victory over the Rangers, after he made a diving stop to his right on a sharp ground ball hit by Josh Hamilton. Callaspo did the only thing he could do from his stomach, a backed-handed flip to shortstop Mike Aviles, for the force out at second.

"We were talking and it looked like a Kareem sky hook," Royals manager Trey Hillman said. "He went two or three feet to make that play. I've never seen him be able to go that far and stretch that much for a ground ball. He has better lateral range, even since mid-Spring Training."

Royals fans can expect to see Callaspo a lot at second base with Mark Teahen shifting over to third for the injured Alex Gordon, who is out 10 to 12 weeks with a hip injury. When asked if that's the plan, Hillman had a one-word answer.

"Sure," Hillman said.

Callaspo has taken advantage of the extra playing time. He tied a career high with three hits Friday, and he's batting .360 for the season.

"Alberto's always been able to hit," said shortstop Mike Aviles, who played against Callaspo when his new double-play partner was coming up with the Angels.

The biggest question about Callaspo has been his defensive range, because he hit .316 lifetime in the Minors and batted .305 last year for the Royals in 213 at-bats.

He still doesn't get to some balls you would expect, like a ground ball to his left that went under his glove for a hit Friday night, a play that Hillman said could have just as easily been scored an error.

Aviles said from where he's watching, Callaspo makes most of the plays.

"I've never really thought he had limited range," Aviles said.

Pitching matchup
KC: RHP Kyle Davies (1-0, 2.13 ERA)
Coming into the season, the Royals needed a solid third starter behind Gil Meche and Zack Greinke, and thus far, Davies has delivered. Davies, who has a 2.13 ERA with 13 strikeouts in two outings, battled through 5 2/3 chilly innings in his last start, giving up three runs on seven hits to the Indians. He earned his first win, striking out five and avoiding a big inning. His best effort of the season came in his first start on April 13, when he went seven scoreless innings and struck out eight in a no-decision against the White Sox.

TEX: RHP Vicente Padilla (1-1, 10.00 ERA)
Padilla allowed seven runs on 11 hits and a walk in 3 1/3 innings Monday in a 10-9 loss to the Orioles. Right now, left-handed hitters are having a lot of success against him, with 12 hits in 27 at-bats (.444). Right-handed hitters are just 3-for-16 (.188) against him. He is 16-14 with a 4.63 ERA in 41 starts at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington. He is 2-1 with a 4.79 ERA in four career starts against the Royals. Coco Crisp is 6-for-12 off him in his career.

Tidbits
Hillman said he's not set on right fielder Jose Guillen going on a rehab assignment when he's ready to play in a game again. Hillman said Guillen's rehab is going well. Guillen is with the team in Texas. ... Hillman said No. 5 starter Horacio Ramirez will make his next scheduled start Wednesday at home against the Angels, though the Royals could skip him with an off-day Monday. Hillman said he wants to give all of his starters an extra day's rest. Ramirez, who was skipped the last time around in the rotation, allowed a solo home run in the ninth inning Friday night to Rangers catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia. Ramirez was hit hard for six runs in 4 1/3 innings against the Yankees in his only start this season.

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Up next
• Monday: Off-day
• Tuesday: Royals (Sidney Ponson, 0-1, 4.50) at Indians (Aaron Laffey, 0-0, 3.38), 6:05 p.m. CT
• Wednesday: Royals (Gil Meche, 1-0, 2.25) at Indians (Cliff Lee, 1-2, 6.75), 6:05 p.m. CT

Todd Wills is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.