KANSAS CITY -- An extensive salute to the men and women of the military was presented by the Royals prior to Saturday night's game at Kauffman Stadium.
Included was the unfurling of a huge U.S. flag across the outfield, booming cannonades from the Pittsburg (Kan.) State University howitzer, and a flyover of two B-10s from Whiteman Air Force Base.
Representatives of all five military branches were greeted by Royals manager Ned Yost, hitting coach Kevin Seitzer and players Alex Gordon, Jeff Francoeur and Salvador Perez.
A group of young men and women took the oath of enlistment into the Army on the field. Eight disabled veterans were recognized for their sacrifices for the country. Nine veterans represented veterans across the land and those in the crowd were asked to stand.
The playing of taps was followed by a tribute video in memory of soldiers from Kansas and Missouri and lost their lives while serving in Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom. Medal of Honor winner Donald "Doc" Ballard, a hospital corpsman who saved the lives of several Mariners in Vietnam, threw out the ceremonial first pitch. The national anthem was sung by Air Force Tech Sgt. Jennifer Sherman.
Col. Leonard Becicka, 89, sat in the Buck O'Neil Legacy Seat for the game. He served in Patton's 3rd Army Infantry during World War II, the 15th Infantry during the Korean War and in the 12th Corps during Vietnam. He retired from the military in 1970.
"A chance to celebrate our Armed Forces is a great way -- I don't want to say thank you because we should be saying thank you every day -- but it's a nice way to recognize our Armed Forces and a nice way to pay tribute to them," Yost said.
Royals noting current injuries for future reference
KANSAS CITY -- When players like Lorenzo Cain, Jarrod Dyson and Chris Getz have multiple injuries in a season, it's unfortunate but it also figures into a team's planning for next season and beyond.
"Absolutely, it does," Royals manager Ned Yost said. "You better have guys on your roster that are durable and guys that can make it through a 162-game season. Guys that are injury-prone or that have a history of being injured, you've got to know and you have to make decisions based around it in terms of your depth."
Cain and Dyson have shown that they are swift, exciting outfielders and Getz that he's a sure-handed, reliable second baseman. All three hit around .270 this season and swiped a lot of bases. So the talent is there.
"The talent doesn't do you any good unless you're on the field," Yost said. "That's a big thing you have to consider."
Teams want players with durability.
"I don't know how to explain it because everybody's different, but you've got guys that have certain body types that enable them to go 162 games," Yost said. "Knock on wood, but guys like [Alcides] Escobar, [Mike] Moustakas, [Eric] Hosmer, [Jeff] Francoeur have never really had anything that really slows them down. But you get other guys that are really good players like Chris Getz and Cain and Dyson, it seems that one or two things crop up every year. There's nothing you can really do to prevent it. It's just their body types, I think."
Or maybe bad luck, like Getz's broken thumb while trying to bunt.
"When you get to a point where you're competing, you want your best players on the field, you want them to be able to play through stuff," Yost said. "I mean, [the Yankees'] Derek Jeter is a perfect example. The other day he pulls up lame at first base, he's right back in the lineup the next day. You have to learn your threshold to be able to play with certain injuries."
Yost pointed out that Moustakas played through a leg injury this season.
"He didn't miss a game," Yost said. "He knew how to gauge everything, when to turn it up, when to turn it down and get through it. That's an important attribute to have."
Lefebvre will host Gloves for Kids on Monday
KANSAS CITY -- Royals broadcaster Ryan Lefebvre will host his annual Gloves for Kids project from 6 to 8 p.m. CT on Monday at the Rally House-Kansas City North, located at 8650 N. Boardwalk Ave.
Royals players will sign autographs for fans who donate at least $25 for new baseball gloves to benefit underpriviledged youngsters in the area. One group will sign from 6 to 7 p.m., another group from 7 p.m. to 8 p.m. A separate donation is required for each session.
When Billy Butler reached 26 homers on Friday night, it was the most by a Royal since Carlos Beltran's 26 in 2003.
Pitcher Luke Hochevar marked his 29th birthday on Saturday. He shares the date with Hall of Famer and ex-Royal Gaylord Perry, 74.
Sunday's game against the Angels is a recent addition to the Fox Sports Kansas City TV schedule, a makeup for an Aug. 31 rainout.
Dick Kaegel is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.