KANSAS CITY -- The Major League Baseball Players Alumni Association honored Royals outfielder Jeff Francoeur with the Heart and Hustle Award in a pregame ceremony before Friday's game against the White Sox.
Francoeur is one of 30 Major Leaguers to win the award this season. One player from each team is recognized with a preliminary award and the final winner will be announced Nov 13.
"It shows, hopefully, that you play the game the right way, you play hard, show up every day ready to go," Francoeur said. "It's cool when it's voted by your peers and older guys that have played the game, because they're the ones that pick it. So it's definitely an honor for me."
Former Royals pitcher and current broadcaster Jeff Montgomery presented Francoeur with the award, something that made the moment more special for Francoeur.
"He obviously had a great career here and is a great guy off the field and does great things. So to have him present it to me is really special," Francoeur said.
Getz fractures thumb, out for rest of season
KANSAS CITY -- Royals second baseman Chris Getz sustained a broken left thumb on Friday night, was scheduled for surgery on Saturday and is expected to miss the rest of the season.
Getz was attempting to bunt in the fifth inning when a pitch from White Sox left-hander Chris Sale struck his thumb. Getz stayed in the game and struck out but did not take the field for the sixth inning.
To replace Getz at second base, the Royals will recall Johnny Giavotella from Triple-A Omaha where he had a .323 average with 10 home runs and 71 RBIs in 89 games.
"There was about five minutes of me feeling bad for myself but I'm kind of over that," Getz said, his thumb encased in a black brace. "I got the news they'll do the surgery in the morning, knock it out and everyone's pretty optimistic they'll be able to put it back into place, get it cleaned up and go forward and work toward next season."
The surgery will be performed by Dr. Bruce Toby at the University of Kansas Medical Center.
It's a bitter blow for Getz, who had just taken over as full-time second baseman after the Royals dropped Yuniesky Betancourt on Aug. 5. Getz was on the disabled list twice previously this season, once with a left rib cage contusion and later with a lateral strain in his left leg.
He was playing in his 64th game and was batting .275 with 13 extra-base hits and 17 RBIs.
Tony Abreu led off the Royals' fifth with a single and Getz was attempting to bunt him over when Sale's second pitch, a 93-mph fastball, hit his thumb on the barrel of the bat. The ball went foul.
"With hindsight, I probably wouldn't have bunted at all," Getz said. "But with Sale, obviously, the way he throws and the velocity he has, you don't have that much time to react. Left on left, it just kind of rides up in on you. There wasn't much I could do."
After being looked at by athletic trainer Nick Kenney, Getz got back in the box and struck out.
"When we saw it," manager Ned Yost said, "I figured his thumb was broken and he's such a tough kid and he said, 'I'm all right, I'm all right,' but after those two swings, I knew he wasn't all right."
"I'm surprised he stayed in the game," teammate Alex Gordon said. "With a shattered thumb, that's impressive."
Giavotella, after being called up last season on Aug. 5, finished 2011 as the Royals' regular second baseman but hit a modest .247 in 46 games after dominating the Pacific Coast League with a .338 average. Following the season, he underwent surgery for a labral tear in his right hip.
In Spring Training, he failed to keep the second-base job and was returned to Omaha while Getz and Betancourt shared time at second. While Betancourt was out with an ankle sprain, Giavotella was called up May 9 and played 21 games but batted just .217 and was optioned back to Omaha where he's been since.
"He'll play five, six days a week to start with," Yost said. "Depending on production and everything else that goes into it."
Getz batted leadoff in Friday night's 4-2 victory over the White Sox and was to be in that mix after Gordon was moved down to the No. 3 spot on Thursday. Yost wasn't sure how he'd handle the leadoff spot but said that Gordon would not return to it.
Getz was coming off hernia surgery when he was obtained by the Royals from the White Sox on Nov. 5, 2009, in the deal that sent infielder-outfielder Mark Teahen to Chicago. Near the end of the 2010 season, he sustained a concussion when struck on the helmet by a throw while stealing second base in Chicago.
After missing the end of that season, he was the regular season baseman in 2011 until Giavotella arrived. But he reported to Spring Training in February in great shape and stronger.
"I came in feeling good, confident, made some adjustments in my game and I was able to execute a lot of these adjustments and I felt like I was really putting things together for myself and the team," Getz said. "You get these tough breaks along the road. It is part of the game and it's unfortunate. You work through it and it's another obstacle to get around."
This year, he missed 36 games with the previous injuries but, with Betancourt's departure, finally was getting a chance to re-establish himself as the regular season baseman.
"I was given more opportunity and I felt like I was taking advantage of it," Getz said. "So it's a tough break -- no pun intended."
His teammates expressed sympathy.
"It was unfortunate for him, he'd been playing well of late. He was hitting the ball the better and he was all the way around doing a lot of things better," Billy Butler said. "It's a bad deal because he's a great teammate and a great second baseman."
"A lot of guys have been through that so we know how he's feeling right now," Gordon said. "He just hasn't had a consistent time where he's been healthy on the field for a long period of time. He's a good guy to have out there. You know he's going to do his job."
"We're going to miss him, that's for sure," said Jeff Francoeur. "Hopefully, he can get it sewed up and get back next spring ready to go."
Abreu comes off bench to make home debut
KANSAS CITY -- Tony Abreu, called up to the Royals on Aug. 6, made his Kauffman Stadium debut in Friday night's series opener against the White Sox.
After not playing in a Major League game since October 2010, Abreu started three straight games in his first three days back in the big leagues against the White Sox from Aug. 6-8. He went 3-for-10 with two doubles, an RBI and a run scored.
But he hadn't appeared in a game since.
That changed Friday when he started at third base, again with the White Sox in the opposing dugout.
Are there challenges to not getting into a game for more than a week then jumping back into things? Abreu's fellow infielder and one-time bench player Chris Getz thinks so.
"There's always a challenge in that," Getz said. "That's the tough part if you're going to be a bench guy is to stay sharp. You have to find a way to stay sharp, whether that's extra hitting. Just your routine so you mentally feel like you've got the same confidence when you're not playing versus playing.
"It's definitely tough, but he's a talented player. I've played against him since he was in Double-A, and I saw him a lot in Spring Training and down in Triple-A when I was rehabbing. He's a really good baseball player."
Yost wants to give Moustakas extended break
KANSAS CITY -- First baseman Eric Hosmer and third baseman Mike Moustakas were out of the starting lineup Friday with Chicago's tough lefty, Chris Sale, on the hill, but Moustakas was called in to replace an injured Chris Getz in the sixth inning.Before the game, Royals manager Ned Yost indicated that Moustakas might get more time off, due in part to his slumping bat. After going 1-for-2 in Friday's 4-2 win, Moustakas is hitting .153 in his past 17 games.
"He's been grinding. He's been playing hard. He's just gotten to a point where his bat's slowed down a little bit, been struggling a little bit," Yost said. "It's a good time to take a little bit of a break and get back on track."
Yost added that the Moustakas' right knee, tweaked a few weeks back in Seattle, is feeling better.
"It's kind of gotten better. He still feels it a little bit, but it's definitely something he can play through," Yost said.
J.C. Sulbaran, the Double-A pitcher acquired from the Reds in the Jonathan Broxton trade, allowed 11 runs on nine hits -- including a pair of grand slams -- and five walks in Northwest Arkansas' 13-3 loss on Thursday. First-round Draft pick Kyle Zimmer, meanwhile, picked up a win for Class A Kane County.
Saturday, when the Royals host the White Sox, the first 20,000 fans in attendance will receive an Eric Hosmer bobblehead. Hosmer, by the way, is quite pleased with the representation.
Dick Kaegel is a reporter for MLB.com. Vinnie Duber is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.