Paulino credits workload for shoulder stiffness
Right-hander set to throw again on Monday while eyeing return to Royals
KANSAS CITY -- It's been just over a year since Royals right-hander Felipe Paulino underwent Tommy John surgery. He's got his elbow in shape, but now it's his shoulder holding him back.
After one rehabilitation start with Double-A Northwest Arkansas on June 11, Paulino was brought to Kansas City for evaluation by team doctors for stiffness in his back. Now, he says the elbow and back are fine, but he's struggling with stiffness in his right shoulder.
"My elbow has been shut down for a year and then this thing happened to my shoulder. It's like the same thing," Paulino said. "I've been throwing a lot in the Minor Leagues, it's not only Arkansas, but I threw in Arizona before my first official rehab start in Arkansas. I've thrown 32 or 35 innings so that is a lot after one year. I think that's why my shoulder is tight, because of the work."
Paulino threw 65 pitches in a simulated game on June 25 and received cortisone shots about a week later. This Monday, he's set to test his progress again when he faces a batter for two innings in another simulated game.
"It feels all right, not great, but all right, so we will keep moving forward," Paulino said. "We've got a simulated game Monday and we will see what's going on after that."
Paulino was originally slated to return this month, but says he's listening to his body's cues and only schedules his work a week at a time.
"Hopefully, I will be back soon," Paulino said. "I don't want to expect too much, but I will be back soon. That's my deal right now."
Runners go at own risk against Salvy's arm
KANSAS CITY -- All-Star catcher Salvador Perez's ability to thwart basestealers was on display again in the Royals' 1-0 victory over the Tigers on Friday night. He cut down Andy Dirks with an on-target throw to end the fifth inning.
That, according to the Royals' statistics, gave Perez 12 runners thrown out, third most in the American League. That's in 39 attempts, a 30.8 percent success rate.
Baserunners really steal on the pitchers, which makes it important for the pitcher to have a quick delivery to the plate.
"If Sal's given the opportunity, nine times out of 10 he's going to throw you out. But you have to have the opportunity," manager Ned Yost said.
Pitchers try to have a release time of 1.3 seconds or lower.
"Yesterday, [Ervin] Santana was 1.26, Sal was 1.84 -- which is spectacular. The Major League average is right at 2-flat," Yost said. "So even the best throwing catchers are in the mid-1.9s or the low-1.9s and when Sal gets off a throw like he did yesterday, it's in the mid-1.8s."
In short, Perez's lightning-fast release on throws is a great help to the pitcher. It's also a deterrent for other teams to even attempt a steal.
Last year in a season shortened by knee surgery, Perez caught 15 runners in 40 attempts and his 37.5 percent led AL catchers who were in at least 70 games.
Yost secures 700th victory against Tigers
KANSAS CITY -- Ned Yost notched the 700th victory of his managerial career when his Royals beat the Tigers, 6-5, on Saturday night. Now let's take a glimpse at his first win.
That came on April 8, 2003, his first season as manager of the Milwaukee Brewers. Remember?
"I think I do, but we went like 0-6 before we won," Yost said. "We didn't have a very good team."
Indeed, Yost's Brewers lost six in a row -- three at St. Louis and three to San Francisco at Milwaukee -- before getting a 5-3 victory at Pittsburgh. There were 36,003 fans -- it was the Pirates' home opener.
Ex-Royal Glendon Rusch pitched the victory for the Brewers and Scott Podsednik, who would later join the Royals, had two RBIs. The three Pirates runs came on a home run by catcher Jason Kendall, now on Yost's staff as a part-time instructor for the Royals.
"I hit a bomb. I hit three bombs the first week of the season and ended up with four," Kendall said.
Kendall exaggerated a bit; he finished that season with six home runs.
But the homer against the Brewers came against reliever Luis Vizcaino, which reminded Yost of a story.
"I had the kid for three years and he didn't know my name," Yost said.
Then-Brewers pitching coach Mike Maddux had a habit of giving all his pitchers nicknames and Vizcaino, who resembled movie star Lou Gossett Jr., was called "Chappy" after the actor's character in "Iron Eagle."
"So he became Chappy. So every day I'd say, 'Hi, Chappy, how you doing?' and he'd say 'Hey, good, Chappy,' back," Yost recalled. "So in the third year, he was out in the bullpen and Billy Castro, my bullpen coach, said, 'He doesn't know your name.' I didn't believe him so Billy says, 'Luis, what's his name?' And Luis says, 'Chappy.' 'No, what's his name?' And Luis looks at me [sheepishly] and says, 'I'm sorry, Chappy.' "
And, in the small world of baseball, Kendall wound up playing for Yost's Brewers in 2008-09. Then, he signed with the Royals for the 2010 season and has remained with the team in a part-time coaching capacity.
"I was there for his first win and, hopefully, tonight I'll be there for his 700th," Kendall said before Saturday night's game.
Sure enough, he was.
Royals to host Ban Johnson All-Star game
KANSAS CITY -- The Royals will host the Ban Johnson All-Star game on Sunday morning at Kauffman Stadium before the finale of their series with the Tigers.
The game is slated to start at 9 a.m. CT and conclude by 11:30 a.m. The contest will feature top college ballplayers from the area who play in summer wood bat leagues. The Royals have hosted the event since 1969.
Dick Kaegel is a reporter for MLB.com. Kathleen Gier is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.