Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Three notable stories from

Lead: For the third month in a row, the Royals continued their dominance of the American League Rookie of the Month award with Brian Bannister picking up the award for the second time this season.

Quotable: "He's somewhat of a rookie," manager Buddy Bell said, "but since I've been managing, he's the best pitcher I've been around."

Notable: The 26-year-old compiled a 2.90 ERA over 40 1/3 innings. He struck out 16 and walked nine.

On Aug. 17 against the A's, Bannister pitched a two-run, four-hit complete game, fueling the talk of a possible AL Rookie of the Year Award.

TALE OF TWO CALLUPS, by Conor Nicholl

Lead: Luke Hochevar's and Craig Brazell's lockers stood on one side of the visitors' clubhouse at Rangers Ballpark, near a big-screen TV. The two players, each with different expectations entering the season, were both smiling.

Quotable: "There wasn't that much I could do except get that [40th] home run. I guess throw a couple more walks in there and maybe a few more RBIs," [Brazell] said. "I think it's just the matter of me getting the opportunity for me getting a chance to play every day again. In '05, I didn't get to play every day and in '06, I didn't get a chance to play the first month and a half every day. Throughout the season, it was off and on.

Notable: For Hochevar, the No. 1 overall pick in the 2006 First-Year Player Draft and one of the best prospects in baseball, Tuesday marked his first time in the Major Leagues after a season of constant changes.

"I have been dreaming about this ever since I was a little kid," he said.

For Brazell, the call up was the culmination of the greatest season "by far" in his career. For the first time in several years, Brazell saw consistent playing time.

He responded with a .308/.339/.612 (batting average/on-base percentage/slugging percentage) line at Triple-A Omaha and hit a Minor League-leading 39 homers at two levels.

Lead: Royals captain Mike Sweeney and his wife, Shara, have helped thousands of people throughout the past 10 years. This year, they presented a new award and most importantly, helped save a life.

Quotable: "[The award] has a heartbeat." --Sweeney, Royals' nominee for the Roberto Clemente Award

POSTSCRIPT: Our hero's chat.

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