KANSAS CITY -- Backup catcher George Kottaras is proving to be the epitome of patience. Not only in waiting for his rare chances to play, but at the plate as well.
When he finally got his first at-bat of the season last Saturday at Boston, he drew a ninth-inning walk to keep a potential rally going in a 4-3 loss. He started a game the next night in a doubleheader sweep and went 1-for-4 with a home run.
Kottaras' next chance came on Thursday at Detroit. In a 3-3 game, starting catcher Salvador Perez was lifted for a pinch-runner and Kottaras was catching. And he came to bat in the 10th inning with the bases loaded and one out.
"I just try and stick with the situation," Kottaras said. "The situation kind of dictates what you're going to go up there looking for. With bases loaded, one out, the last thing I want to do is hit a weak ground ball. So I kind of zoned within myself, where I could hit a fly ball at least or hit the ball hard somewhere. I didn't get a pitch to do it with, so I just kind of was patient."
Left-hander Phil Coke's first three pitches to the left-handed-hitting Kottaras weren't close so the count was 3-0. Then came a called strike on a marginal pitch.
"It got to 3-1, I was up there ready to hit," Kottaras said. "The last thing I want to do is take a strike and get to 3-2, because then I'm in more of a defensive count. So 3-1 is a more aggressive count for a hitter and I was ready to hit if it was close. If I thought I could've put a good swing on it, I would've."
But Coke's pitch was ball four and Kottaras' walk forced in the go-ahead run. One out later, Alex Gordon's grand slam cemented an 8-3 victory over the Tigers.
Gordon error-free after league scoring change
KANSAS CITY -- Alex Gordon's Gold Glove Award trophies got an extra dab of polish from Joe Torre, the ex-manager who is now Major League Baseball's executive vice president of baseball operations.
An error charged against Gordon in the fourth inning of Sunday's second game at Boston was removed after a review by Torre. The Boston official scorer gave left fielder Gordon an error on a play in which he collided with center fielder Lorenzo Cain as they chased a fly ball hit by the Red Sox's Mike Carp and the ball fell safely. Instead, Torre's change gave Carp a triple.
That wiped Gordon's error slate clean for the season and added one hit to pitcher Jeremy Guthrie's total. No runs scored in the inning.
Gordon won a Gold Glove Award as the American League's top defensive left fielder in 2011 and '12.
Yost trying to get Tejada, Johnson into mix
KANSAS CITY -- Before rain caused a postponement of Friday night's game, Royals manager Ned Yost had written two different names into his lineup for the scheduled game against the Indians: Miguel Tejada at third base and Elliot Johnson at second base.
They replaced a couple of left-handed batters, Mike Moustakas and Chris Getz respectively, to give a more right-handed slant against the Indians' lefty starter, Scott Kazmir. Although Moustakas has a .154 average, that's not the primary reason that he was taken out of the lineup.
"If I had my druthers, I wouldn't want Moose sitting today, because I thought he had a real good day yesterday and he's starting to get where he needs to be," Yost said. "But with the lefty going today it gives us an opportunity to get Tejada and Johnson some at-bats."
Kazmir was held over as Saturday's starter, but no word on if Yost would alter his lineup.
Previously, Tejada had played in just five games, going 2-for-9. In his prime, he played all 162 games in six seasons. Now it's entirely different.
"I prepare every day for any moment that they might need me," Tejada said. "Right now, the team is doing real good. We're in first place and everything has been good. I'm trying to help the other guys in the dugout, but when the manager needs me, I'm prepared."
Johnson had appeared in eight games, going 2-for-13, but coming off the bench is something he's done most of his career.
"It's hard to be exactly perfect game-ready, to feel you haven't missed a beat," Johnson said. "It doesn't happen a whole lot like that."
During a game, the reserve players can keep ready by taking swings in the batting cage behind the dugout. But that's not like being in the game.
"It's 100 percent different," Johnson said. "You don't know what's coming and they throw harder, the ball's not straight, etcetera, etcetera. But we've done it plenty; you just want to get a strike and put it in play."
Yost didn't utilize Tejada in Thursday's 10-inning, 8-3 victory at Detroit, but came close to pinch-hitting him for Jarrod Dyson, then the designated hitter, in the ninth inning with two outs and two on. But with the score, 3-3, and extra innings looming, he decided against it.
"Because then I'm totally out of players," Yost said. "I thought, 'Well, can I do it? And then if something happens, I can insert him into the game and have my pitchers hit?' I almost went that way but, you know what? I had a little feeling -- [Dyson] has really been swinging good in early BP, really swinging good. I felt like he was going to get a hit."
As it turned out, Dyson flied out to left.
Quote to note
"I like the fact that he's staying back, his swing's shorter, he's crisper to the ball, he's behind the ball better, he's hitting balls to all fields, barreling balls up. He looks good. He's getting there."
-- Royals manager Ned Yost on Eric Hosmer's four-game hitting streak (7-for-15) that raised his average to .288 entering Friday.
Dick Kaegel is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.