NEW YORK -- Major League Baseball and PEOPLE Magazine on Wednesday announced the 30 winners of the "Tribute for Heroes" campaign, naming Clayton Zupon as the Royals' representative.
Zupon, who was selected by fans to represent the Royals, will join one winner from each fan base in being a part of All-Star Week festivities. The winners will be honored during pregame ceremonies ahead of next Tuesday's All-Star Game at Citi Field.
Zupon originally passed up potential baseball scholarships to join the Marines. During his second deployment to the Middle East, however, doctors discovered a tumor in his brain and later found another in his spine. He was given 12 months to live and was honorably discharged with a medical retirement at 100 percent in 2010.
Now, three years later, the single father with a 2-year old son is still defying the odds while helping give back to the community. He spends his time volunteering with children at the cancer center at a Kansas City children's hospital and also teaches and coaches kids' bowling on weekends.
The "Tribute for Heroes"campaign supports Welcome Back Veterans, an initiative of Major League baseball and the Robert R. McCormick Foundation. The program aids veterans in various areas of need upon their return from service.
Royals let Perez rest tightness in right leg
NEW YORK -- Catcher Salvador Perez was not in the Royals' starting lineup against the Yankees on Wednesday for the second time in a four-game span as he continues to deal with tightness in his lower right leg.
Perez, who also sat out Sunday's series finale against the Athletics, said over the weekend that he has taken numerous foul balls off his right leg over the past week and a half. As a result, the recently named All-Star said he has experienced lingering soreness in the area during that stretch.
"He's got a bone bruise and he's got a muscle bruise in his calf, which results in tightness in the calf," manager Ned Yost said. "So what we're trying to do is monitor his play right now so that we can get that tightness out of there, because if that tightness continues to get tighter, it will result in a strain, which will make him unavailable for a week to two weeks."
With the Royals proceeding cautiously with Perez, George Kottaras once again received the start behind the plate on Wednesday. Filling in for Perez on Sunday, Kottaras went 1-for-2 with a home run and two walks. Entering Wednesday's start, Kottaras had homered in each of his last three appearances, which date back to June 23.
As for Perez, Yost said he plans to keep the same approach going forward until his starting catcher has completely worked any lingering tightness out of his troublesome right calf.
"We're keeping a real eye on him," Yost said. "We're trying to give him a break every couple of days when that thing starts getting a little bit tighter to loosen it up. Over the course of time, it's going to continue to get looser and looser and looser."
Yost willing to pitch Holland a third straight day
NEW YORK -- The situation didn't call for it on Wednesday night, but manager Ned Yost said before the Royals' 8-1 loss to the Yankees that he would have no reservations about calling on Greg Holland to close out a third consecutive game despite Holland's having pitched in three of the last four days entering the game.
Along with recording a save in each of the first two games of this week's series against the Yankees, Holland closed out Kansas City's 4-3 win over the Athletics on Saturday.
The 27-year-old right-hander has converted 15 consecutive saves over a stretch that spans more than two months. Since his last blown save, which he took on May 6, Holland has allowed just two earned runs over 23 innings (a 0.78 ERA), lowering his ERA on the season nearly two runs from 3.75 to 1.80.
"He's dynamite," Yost said. "He's a guy that you can bring into the ballgame and feel real comfortable about that game ending right there. But he was like that last year, too. He just continues to produce."
Last season, Holland went 7-4 with a 2.96 ERA and 16 saves, while making 67 appearances in various roles out of the Royals bullpen. In 2011, his first extended action in the Majors, Holland posted a 1.80 ERA over 46 appearances.
Francoeur may be Giants' next left fielder
KANSAS CITY -- Outfielder Jeff Francoeur, released by the Royals on Sunday, has signed a Minor League contract with the San Francisco Giants, who are eyeing him as their potential next left fielder.
The Giants plan to have Francoeur play a few games with Triple-A Fresno to sharpen his batting eye. He last played in a game for the Royals on June 29 as a pinch-hitter.
"He has a history of outfield duty and has done some good things with the bat," Giants manager Bruce Bochy said.
However, Francoeur has played just two games in left field during his career, most of which has been spent in right field due to his powerful throwing arm. But Hunter Pence is entrenched in right for the Giants, who have a void in left field.
Francoeur, who was designated for assignment by Kansas City on June 30, hit just .208 with three homers and 13 RBIs. That came right after a career-low .235 average in 2012, when he recorded 16 homers and 49 RBIs.
Francoeur earned a two-year contract after a bounce-back season in 2011, his first year with the Royals, when he hit .285 with 20 homers and 87 RBIs along with a career-high 22 stolen bases. The Royals are liable for the remainder of Francoeur's $6.75 million salary for 2013, minus whatever the Giants pay him based on the prorated minimum salary.