OAK@KC: Kottaras puts Royals on board with solo shot

TORONTO -- Getting the opportunity to play at Rogers Centre is something George Kottaras looks forward to every season.

The catcher was born and went to high school just outside of Toronto, so his annual visits to the city give him a chance to catch up with his family. This weekend series in Toronto was no exception.

Kottaras had his parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins -- pretty much his entire family, he said -- in attendance for the three-game set. After Saturday afternoon's game, a 4-2 Blue Jays win, Kottaras took advantage of having his family close by.

"I went home and my mom cooked, we had a bunch of people over, and it was a late gathering," said Kottaras. "It was pretty cool.

"It's something to look forward to. I'm trying to do as much as I can to spend some time with them. First things first, though, I'm coming here for work."

Work over the first two games of the series consisted of pinch-hitting duties for Kottaras. The 30-year-old entered each contest late, and recorded a single in Saturday's game. It's a difficult role for any player, as one doesn't know when his name is going to be called and it usually means facing some of the opposition's top relief arms.

At Rogers Centre, specifically, the batting cages are situated on the other end of the stadium, so Kottaras said it's tough to get swings in during the game. There is a tee and net outside of the visitors' clubhouse, so he can take some hacks. But he said the main goal is just getting himself mentally prepared.

"At home, we have our cage. At some places, as a visiting team, there is a cage on our side, too, so you can definitely take some swings," said Kottaras. "You can't really work on things, it's just kind of get loose and go.

"When I'm coming in, it's usually to face their closer or setup guy. So you're not in a good spot to start off with."

Kottaras hasn't seen much playing time -- he has appeared in 41 games this season and accumulated 114 plate appearances -- but he's still found ways to be a helpful contributor on the offensive end.

The six-year veteran sports an impressive .360 on-base percentage and has a .325 mark for his career.

"He gives you professional at-bats," said manager Ned Yost. "You know he's not going to go out there and swing at balls outside of the strike zone. He's a guy you can count on to get on base."

Kottaras said not chasing pitches is a big part of what he tries to do and, to his credit, he is swinging at fewer pitches outside of the strike zone than ever before, according to Fangraphs.com. In fact, he is swinging at fewer pitches altogether, and he said that's because he's not going to take a cut on a pitch he knows he can't do damage with -- even if it's called for a strike.

"[Getting on base is] important to me, and it's something I have gotten better with over time," said Kottaras. "[It's about] understanding myself, and what I can and can't do.

"If I come in to pinch-hit, I know [the pitcher] is going to try to use my aggressiveness against me, and try to make me swing at bad pitches. So I have become a little bit more patient."

Royals plan to recall Davis on Tuesday

TORONTO -- The Royals will recall right-hander Wade Davis for Tuesday's contest against the Mariners, manager Ned Yost said on Sunday.

Davis, who was recently optioned to Class A Wilmington on Aug. 28, will be used out of the bullpen upon his return -- at least temporarily ending his season-long experiment in the rotation.

The right-hander struggled adjusting back to a starter's role with Kansas City this season, going 6-10 with a 5.67 ERA and 1.76 WHIP over 24 starts. Davis, acquired from Tampa Bay in the offseason, pitched in both roles during his career with the Rays, and was a big weapon out of the bullpen for them in 2012.

Davis had a 2.43 ERA and 87 strikeouts in 70 1/3 innings over 54 appearances last season, and Kansas City is hoping he can rediscover that form.

"He had some struggles, but he also had some very good games," said Yost. "Transitioning again from starter to reliever, I think he learned a lot. It's just getting consistent and having a solid approach every time he goes out."

Yost thinks it's important that Davis understands the mental differences between starting and relieving.

"The stuff is definitely there, but it's a tough transition," Yost said. "As a reliever, you are coming in and blowing it out for two innings. As a starter, there is more strategy involved in the way you command your pitches and throw the ball.

"I think, at times, he [was] caught between the two mentalities. But I think he is going to be fine."

The Royals will also recall righty Louis Coleman from Wilmington on Tuesday. Coleman has spent the majority of the season at Triple-A Omaha, and sports a 1.54 ERA with 56 strikeouts in 46 2/3 innings across the two levels.

In 20 appearances with the Royals this season, Coleman has a stingy 0.39 ERA with 24 strikeouts and four walks.

Royals recall Bueno, Hayes from Omaha

MIN@KC: Hayes doubles in first start for Royals

TORONTO -- The Royals took advantage of the ability to expand rosters on Sunday, calling up left-hander Francisley Bueno and catcher Brett Hayes from Triple-A Omaha for their series finale against the Blue Jays.

Bueno gives the Royals another option out of the bullpen, while Hayes will act as the third-string catcher behind Salvador Perez and George Kottaras. Both Bueno and Hayes briefly spent time with Kansas City earlier this season.

Hayes was 3-for-11 with the Royals when he was first up, and at Omaha hit .233 with 17 homers and 44 RBIs.

"We have had some problems with Salvador getting some balls [hit] off his head -- he had the concussion -- and Kottaras has also taken some balls off his head," said manager Ned Yost. "It's important to have some protection up here for both of those guys."

Bueno, meanwhile, has made one Major League appearance this season, picking up a win after throwing 2 1/3 innings of relief against the Red Sox earlier this month.

In 36 games with the Storm Chasers, Bueno was 3-3 with a 2.66 ERA. He struck out 56 batters, while walking 24 over 67 2/3 innings.

"He's another left-hander we can match up with lefties," said Yost. "He gives us other matchup opportunities."