Shields set for action after throwing session
Royals ace reports bruised elbow is fine, will face White Sox on Friday
SEATTLE -- Royals right-hander James Shields tested the bruised elbow on his pitching arm in a bullpen session on Tuesday and reported that he's ready to start as scheduled on Friday night at Chicago.
"Pencil me in," he said after tossing 26 pitches. "I threw about 94 [mph] in the biullpen so I'm good to go."
A minute later, he had a facetious amendment to his report: "No, I threw 102, trying to keep up with 'Ace' Ventura."
That was an allusion to Yordano Ventura, who lit up the radar gun with 100-mph fastballs during his start against the Mariners in Monday night's 6-5 win in 12-innings.
Shields was drilled by a line drive in the third inning on Sunday, but he continued to pitch eight shutout innings in the Royals' 10-inning, 4-0 victory.
"It's going great, man, it's real good," he said. "It's a little swollen, but it's actually gone down pretty good."
It also turns out Ventura developed a fingernail crack on his pitching hand early in Monday night's game.
"He kind of cracked his nail a little bit in the third inning, which is the reason why I got a little nervous," manager Ned Yost said. "But they got it all trimmed up. It was just a little crack, not earth-shaking news."
Ventura is on track to make his third and last start on Saturday night at Chicago.
Maxwell's slam rates among elite company
SEATTLE -- Justin Maxwell's walk-off grand slam on Sunday in the Royals' 10-inning, 4-0 win over Texas has kept the figure filberts working overtime for some interesting findings.
"It's flattering. Considering the history of this game, it's great," Maxwell said.
Some of the tidbits dug up by the Elias Sports Bureau:
It was the franchise's fourth game-ending grand slam. The others were by Joe Randa, May 16, 2001, against Tampa Bay; Rey Palacios, May 14, 1990 (10th inning) against Boston, and Cookie Rojas, May 28, 1974 (11th inning) against Baltimore.
In the Majors, Maxwell had the first walk-off slam to end a scoreless tie since Don Buford pulled the White Sox over Cleveland on Sept. 14, 1967.
Maxwell, who also had a game-ending slam for Washington in 2009, is the third active player to have at least two walk-off slams, joining Alex Rodriguez (3) and Ryan Zimmerman (2).
"This one was a little more special, based on what we're playing for," he said.
Going even deeper, since 1988 there have been just six walk-off slams with two outs and a 3-2 count on the batter, and Maxwell has two of them. The others were by Alan Trammell (1988), Tino Martinez (1995), Brad Wilkerson (2003) and Zimmerman (2011).
And it was just the fifth time in history that a player's walk-off slam ended his team's home half of the schedule. In addition to Maxwell's two -- yes, the Washington blast was a game-ender as well -- the others were Nomar Garciaparra, Dodgers vs. Arizona, 2006; Johnny Pramesa, Cincinnati vs. St. Louis, 1951, and Hall of Famer Ralph Kiner, Pittsburgh vs. Cincinnati, also 1951.
"That's pretty cool," Maxwell said. "Ralph Kiner's on there. That's sweet."
Gordon's recent assists gems are favorites
SEATTLE -- Two-time Gold Glove Award left fielder Alex Gordon has reached the 17 mark in outfield assists this year, sharing the Major League lead with Arizona's Gerardo Parra.
Does he have any favorites among them?
Gordon pointed to his last three assists.
On Sept. 14 at Detroit, he dug a ball barehanded out of the corner and threw to shortstop Alcides Escobar, whose peg to catcher Salvador Perez nailed Prince Fielder to end the game.
On Sunday, Gordon nailed the Rangers' Alex Rios at third base for a crucial double play, aided by Mike Moustakas' terrific tag.
On Monday night, it was his heave to Perez that doubled up Kyle Seager to keep the Mariners from winning in the 10th.
The Royals won all three of those games.
"Any of those is pretty big," Gordon said.
"Two of them were my infielders making a great play for me. I've got to make a good throw but, at the same time, they've got to make a great play and they've done that throughout my career when I've been in the outfield."
Gordon was the Royals' third baseman in 2007-09 before being switched to the outfield and the infield experience is credited with helping his throwing.
"You see it more with infielders that moved to the outfield. They're used to having a quick release," manager Ned Yost said. "But I haven't seen anybody as good as him."
Royals FanFest two-day affair at Bartle Hall
SEATTLE -- The 2014 Royals FanFest will be held on Friday, Jan. 31, and Saturday, Feb. 1, and, for the first time, at the Kansas City Convention Center's Bartle Hall.
Bartle Hall was the site of the 2012 MLB All-Star FanFest and was a big success. The downtown facility will provide more room for fans to view exhibits and participate in the festivities, the Royals said. Previous Royals FanFests have been held at the Overland Park Convention Center.
The event, returning to a two-day format instead of 2013's one day, will feature autograph sessions with current and former Royals, main stage programs, interactive games, special activities, merchandise and memorabilia. The Major League club's award winners also will be honored.
Royals 2014 season-ticket holders will have exclusive access on both days before the event opens to the public.
Fans can obtain FanFest tickets at Royals.com/fanfest, by calling 816-504-4040 or by visiting the Kauffman Stadium Box Office from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. CT on Monday through Friday.
Ticket prices for one day are: Adult advance, $13; adult day of sale, $15; youth advance, $7; youth day of sale, $9. Prices for two days are: Adult advance, $19; adult day of sale, $23; youth advance, $10; youth day of sale, $13. (Youth prices are for children 6-17. Children 5 and under will be admitted free.)
Dick Kaegel is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.