Notes: Costa gives Sweeney a rest
Young outfielder hits cleanup for first time, serves as DH
KANSAS CITY -- Shane Costa is fairly new to being a designated hitter, so perhaps he's just not dialed in to the nuances of the role. Isn't the DH supposed to have some mysterious method of preparing himself between at-bats?
There's not much mystery in Costa's approach.
"[I] eat some gum, chew some seeds, watch the game," he said before Saturday night's game against the Philadelphia Phillies.
Costa was inserted into the Royals' lineup as DH and cleanup hitter, a spot normally filled by captain Mike Sweeney. Manager Buddy Bell decided to give Sweeney a night off against right-hander Jon Lieber and play him Sunday against left-hander Jamie Moyer.
Mark Teahen, the No. 3 hitter, was to be rested Sunday, and Bell didn't want both him and Sweeney out of the lineup at the same time. Also, Sweeney could use the rest for his sore right knee, a lingering malady.
"If he was completely healthy, he'd be playing tonight," Bell said.
So how did Bell decide on Costa as his cleanup hitter, a Major League first for the outfielder?
"Really, there are not a lot of options and, if we need to pinch-hit late in the game for Costa, Mike's right there in the middle between Teahen and [Alex] Gordon, so that's kind of how I figured it," Bell said.
"We might prefer to have a different option, but that's kind of the way it works out."
So Costa, who had one previous start this season as DH and only did it a handful of times in the Minors, is low-keying the situation.
"You never want to overthink," he said agreeably. "You might hurt the team, or hurt your brain."
When the 4-0 loss to the Phillies was over, Costa at least could claim one of just three hits off Lieber -- a bunt single in the fourth. A bunt? Perhaps Costa was doing some thinking after all.
Bunts: Pitching coach Bob McClure was absent again because of illness and was undergoing tests at a hospital. "He hasn't been feeling very well for the last few days," Bell said. ... Phillies pitcher Freddy Garcia, who left in the Royals' six-run second inning Friday night with a sore shoulder, went on the disabled list. The injury was listed as a right shoulder strain. The Phillies signed reliever Jose Mesa to take his roster spot. Mesa, recently released by the Tigers, was with the Phillies in 2001-03. ... On this date in 1979, Willie Wilson's inside-the-park home run gave the Royals a 9-8, 13-inning victory over the Yankees. George Brett was 4-for-5 and John Wathan with 3-for-6; each had a triple and a double. ... Sweeney's home run Friday night was the 99th of his career at Kauffman Stadium. Overall, he's three from the 200 mark.
Royals rundown: Triple-A Omaha's Craig Brazell was named Pacific Coast League Player of the Month for May. He had 13 home runs and 24 RBIs in 22 games after joining Omaha on May 9. A season-high crowd of 13,698 saw the O-Royals' 8-2 loss to Nashville on Friday night at Omaha. ... Jared Sandberg, nephew of Hall of Famer Ryne Sandberg, played his first game at third for Double-A Wichita, a 6-3 loss at Arkansas. Sandberg played in the Majors with the Devil Rays. ... Left-hander Matt Campbell, a first-round pick in 2004, had a successful first start for Class A Wilmington. He held Winston-Salem to three hits and two runs in seven innings of a 4-2 victory. Campbell was 4-2 with a 3.47 ERA in seven games for Class A Burlington. ... Starter Mario Santiago was removed from Burlington's game when he was struck on his pitching hand in the fourth inning of a 7-3 loss to Beloit. Santiago's record fell to 1-5. Midwest League All-Star berths went to Bees pitcher Tyler Chambliss (3-0, 1.62 ERA) and first/third baseman Michael Thompson (.218, 11 homers, 27 RBIs).
Coming up: The Royals wrap up the Interleague series against the Phillies at 1:10 p.m. CT on Sunday at Kauffman Stadium. In a matchup of left-handers, the Royals will send Jorge De La Rosa (4-6, 4.60 ERA), against Jamie Moyer (5-4, 4.08 ERA).
Dick Kaegel is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.