04/13/2013 2:20 AM ET
Gibbons returns to face formidable Royals
Blue Jays manager served as bench for KC skipper Yost from 2009-11
By Robert Falkoff / Special to MLB.com
KANSAS CITY -- Blue Jays manager John Gibbons saw a lot of friendly faces and got a lot of enthusiastic handshakes when he walked into Kauffman Stadium on Friday. As the bench coach for the Royals from 2009-11, Gibbons saw the seeds being planted for a blossoming Kansas City ballclub, and isn't the least bit surprised that the Royals are off to a strong start.
"It's a great bunch over here," Gibbons said. "They have some of the best young players in baseball. The thing that was always missing was the depth of the rotation. They have one of the better bullpens and, I think, the best defense in all of baseball. They get after you."
The Royals bolstered their rotation in the offseason by trading for James Shields and Wade Davis, and signing Ervin Santana. As the first lieutenant for Royals manager Ned Yost, Gibbons had only a few occasions when he guided the team due to a Yost ejection or absence.
"I don't think anybody knew who I was here," Gibbons said with a chuckle. "I kind of wish it was that way now."
Left fielder Melky Cabrera also returned to a ballpark in which he had some good times. Cabrera had 201 hits and batted .305 for the Royals in 2011, and was the Most Valuable Player in the 2012 All-Star Game at Kauffman Stadium as a member of the San Francisco Giants.
Dickey eager to get going against Royals
KANSAS CITY -- R.A. Dickey had a productive side session, has no fingernail issues, and is ready to get after the Royals when he makes his third start for the Blue Jays on Saturday.
With an 0-2 record and 8.44 ERA through 10 2/3 innings, Dickey is eager to start flashing the Cy Young Award form he showed for the Mets last season.
"The first couple of times through the rotation, sometimes you're trying to find your way and find your release point," Dickey said. "I'm not panicked. But I know I've got some work to do. I'm anxious to get back on the hill."
Dickey can understand both from an individual and team aspect that fans want results, given the high expectations for Dickey and the entire Blue Jays club.
"A lot of us are starting slow and it's going to level out," Dickey said. "If I'm a fan, I get it. Who doesn't want their team to win? I got booed off the field the other day. I wish I had performed better, and I certainly understand the boos, because there is such a high expectation.
"That speaks volumes about the people we have in here. If we were a bad team, they would expect us to lose, so they wouldn't boo. So, keep expecting us to do well. And when we don't and if you want to boo, then boo. But when we win, make sure you are there."
Ballboy catches Davis off-guard on foul fly
KANSAS CITY -- Blue Jays outfielder Rajai Davis won't be surprised if he sees himself on a blooper reel. That kind of thing happens when you're battling a Royals ballboy for a foul fly.
"If you are in this game long enough, I guess you see everything," Davis said. "He didn't say, 'I got it.'"
In the seventh inning of Friday's series opener, won 8-4 by the Blue Jays, Royals shortstop Alcides Escobar hit a foul fly ball down the right-field line. The ballboy came out of his seat, camped under the ball far from the railing and missed making the catch with Davis by his side.
"All I know is, I was trying to make the play and couldn't," Davis said.
Interference wasn't called and Escobar wound up grounding out.
Blue Jays hope Wells can be tough on lefties
KANSAS CITY -- Blue Jays newcomer Casper Wells joined the club in time for Thursday evening's team dinner. With all the introductions out of the way, the 28-year-old outfielder reported to the ballpark on Friday feeling comfortable and confident.
The Blue Jays claimed Wells after he was released by Seattle and feel that Wells can make a contribution, primarily against left-handed pitching.
"It's a great ballclub and I know my family is happy," Wells said. "I'm from upstate New York, so they will be able to see a lot of games."
Wells owned a .237 career average in 194 at-bats entering Friday's series opener against Kansas City. He has played parts of the last five seasons for the Tigers and Mariners.
"He has always had success hitting left-handed pitching," Blue Jays manager John Gibbons said. "He can play all three outfield positions and is a good baserunner. He's just a good baseball player."
Izturis recovering after fouling ball off foot
KANSAS CITY -- Maicer Izturis fouled a ball off his foot on Thursday in Detroit, and Blue Jays manager John Gibbons said he doubted that Izturis would be available in any role for the opener of the Kansas City series on Friday.
Emilio Bonifacio started at second base.
"He [Izturis] is hobbling around pretty good today," Gibbons said. "Hopefully, he'll be all right in a couple of days."
Robert Falkoff is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.