Butler's hot start going virtually unnoticed
First baseman entered Thursday second in AL in batting
BOSTON -- Check the American League leaders on MLB.com on Thursday and there he is -- the Royals' Billy Butler second in batting average at .348. Not that anybody seems to be making a fuss about it.
"I don't know if it's because I play in Kansas City or something that they don't take any notice, but hopefully we start winning some more ballgames and people take notice of how good we all can hit," Butler said.
Butler was trailing Justin Morneau by a good margin -- the Twins slugger was at .369 -- but he's an old hand at winning batting titles. Butler led the Pioneer League at .373 in 2004 and the Texas League at .331 in '06.
"I've been very impressed with Billy," manager Ned Yost said. "But what impresses me more than anything is his consistency, day-in and day-out, with his approach and the way that he studies the game from the bench. I mean, he never takes his eye off the pitcher, he's always asking questions, he's always noticing things. He's got a great idea of what he's doing."
Butler was tied for the Major League lead with 64 hits and jumped into the batting average heights by hitting safely in 13 of 15 games at a .379 pace going into Thursday night's game against the Red Sox.
"If you ask me if I'd finish second in the league in hitting or get in the playoffs, you know which one I'd choose," Butler said.
Wood quite fond of Fenway
BOSTON -- Rookie pitcher Blake Wood was in a Royals uniform here for the first time, but it wasn't his first time on the field at Fenway Park.
"I actually came here when I played here in the Cape Cod League in '05," Wood said. "It was like a Cape showcase thing and we took BP and guys threw bullpens and we watched the game. They actually played the Royals that day."
And what does he recall about that game?
"Runelvys Hernandez started for the Royals and the Royals lost," Wood said. "That's all I remember."
All the Fenway nostalgia isn't lost on the rookie.
"I like it just because of all the history, how long ago it was built  and how many people have played here," Wood said. "The new parks are nice, too, because it's like state-of-the-art, but I think most of the guys say this is their favorite park, their favorite place to play."
It wasn't long before Wood got his Fenway initiation. He was summoned to pitch the eighth inning, and did so without a wobble, retiring Kevin Youkilis, J.D. Drew and Adrian Beltre in order to set up the save situation for Joakim Soria.
"Blake Wood hasn't shown any wobbles from the first pitch that he's thrown here. He's just come here banging strikes with good stuff," manager Ned Yost said. "He hasn't been intimidated by any of this. That's why you see him pitching in the eighth inning against the best hitters in their lineup."
Betancourt remains out of lineup
BOSTON -- Shortstop Yuniesky Betancourt was out of the Royals' lineup for the second successive game on Thursday night as he recovers from a mild concussion suffered in a home-plate collision with Rangers catcher Matt Treanor.
"We knew that going in, we knew were going to give him two days," Royals manager Ned Yost said.
"He's feeling fine, he thinks he's ready to play today and he probably is, but when you go through something like that, it's better to give him one more day and we'll re-evaluate him [Friday], and if he feels as good as he does today, we'll probably play him."
Mike Aviles was back at shortstop in Betancourt's place, with Chris Getz playing second base.
DeJesus back after birth of son
BOSTON -- Right fielder David DeJesus rejoined the Royals on Thursday and was back in the lineup after being with wife Kim for the birth of their son in Kansas City.
"I was up closer and personal with 'Spidey' at a really, really young age," said DeJesus, who had referred to the boy as "Spiderman" in his prenatal days. "He's healthy and it's just great to see how tiny and he just relies on you for totally everything. It's funny, he'll start crying and I'll look at Kim and she looks at me and it's like, 'What'll we do now?'"
The boy was named David Kingston DeJesus Jr., even though his father's middle name is Christopher.
"He's awesome. I miss him so much," DeJesus said. "I just want to be around him."
In the Royals' 4-3 win over the Red Sox -- which his wife was watching on TV with their newborn son -- DeJesus drove in a pair with a single and a double.
Wind at Fenway plays role in opener
BOSTON -- Royals pitcher Brian Bannister, a winner over the Red Sox for the first time in the 4-3 victory on Thursday night, thought the wind was a big factor in the game.
Mostly the wind seemed to be blowing in from right field at Fenway Park.
"It really kept the left-handed hitters at bay, they couldn't pull the ball, and a lot of those deep fly balls hit by both teams to right and right-center just stayed in the park," Bannister said.
David DeJesus, who along with the Red Sox's Jason Varitek hit a RBI double off the Green Monster in left field, thought the capricious wind must have blown the ball in that direction.
"I didn't and Varitek didn't hit it very well, and the next thing, it's ripping off the wall," DeJesus said.
Billy Butler, a right-handed hitter with good power to center and right field, twice had long drives hauled in by center fielder Bill Hall.
"I know the wind was blowing in from right, and there were balls hit by both sides that were cranked, and it's hard to tell, if there was no wind, who would have had more," Butler said.
Yost doesn't expect Sox to be woozy
BOSTON -- The Red Sox didn't arrive in Boston until about 3 a.m. ET on Thursday morning after concluding a three-game sweep at Tampa Bay and a 5-1 road trip.
While the Royals played an afternoon game and arrived in Beantown much earlier, the Red Sox had to play at night before traveling. So it was suggested that the Royals might catch them a bit woozy on Thursday night.
"It's always been my experience that you catch 'em woozy the day after," Royals manager Ned Yost said. "The first day, they always seem to play good -- all teams do when you get in real late.
"But, yeah, I was surprised. When we got in [Wednesday] night, I got to watch the last two innings of their ballgame and I thought it was like a tape delay. But when I got to thinking about it, it could be a bad thing, because they're hot, too, so we'll see."
Dick Kaegel is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.