KANSAS CITY -- Justin Maxwell's family was headed back home to Union Bridge, Md., after Friday night's game, so he wanted to give his 4-year-old son Jaidon a night to remember.
Maxwell arranged for Jaidon to participate in a hitting contest in the Little K, a miniature playing field at Kauffman Stadium, which was shown on the scoreboard during the game. Jaidon knocked a ball deep into the outfield with his proud father watching the screen.
"I thought it was pretty great," Maxwell said. "I knew he would do well, too, just because of how much he loves the game. He practices all the time."
Jaidon is the oldest of Maxwell's three children, followed by Leiana, who is 3 years old and Jett, who is 2. All three children frequently accompany Maxwell's wife, Loren, to the games, but he said that Jaidon is the only one who really understands what their dad does for a living.
"I had a strikeout or something when we were on the road one time and he told my daughter, with a serious face, 'That's why I always keep my eye on the ball, Leiana, so I don't strike out,'" Maxwell said. "He knows what's going on. My daughter and my younger son like to come to the ballpark because they have a family room here and they are friends with all the other guys' kids."
The kids are even allowed into the clubhouse when the Royals win. Maxwell said he's grateful for the opportunity to share his career with his kids.
"It's a pretty neat lifestyle that we get to live, and I thank God for it every day, for all the experiences my kids get on and off the field," Maxwell said.
Maxwell is also grateful for the opportunity to be in a playoff race with the Royals following his July 31 trade from the Houston Astros, who have the worst record in baseball.
"The energy that I got coming over here in the beginning of August was night and day," Maxwell said. "With the Astros, we were just learning to win, just learning the subtleties of the game and whatnot, but here, every game counts and they have mattered since August. You just have a different mindset going into each game, and you want to do your best with any opportunity that you get."
Entering Saturday's game, Maxwell had batted .292 with four home runs through 27 games with the Royals.
Guthrie gives Royals trio of 200-inning hurlers
KANSAS CITY -- Jeremy Guthrie became the third Royals pitcher this season with more than 200 innings pitched, joining James Shields and Ervin Santana, on Saturday night. He pitched six innings in the Royals' 3-1 loss to the Rangers, giving him 204 2/3 on the season.
It's the first time the Royals have had three pitchers with 200 or more innings pitched since 1997, when Kevin Appier, Tim Belcher and Jose Rosado finished with 253 2/3, 213 1/3 and 203 1/3 innings, respectively.
"Going into Spring Training, our goal was to have 1,000 innings from our starting rotation," manager Ned Yost said. "It's extremely important for your starters to do that. It keeps them strong. It keeps them sharp, and it keeps the bullpen strong and healthy."
A year ago, Royals starting pitchers contributed just 890 innings, so general manager Dayton Moore made it his goal to go out and get a group of starters who could boost their numbers.
Guthrie was acquired from the Colorado Rockies on July 20, 2012, while Shields and Santana were acquired in the offseason from the Tampa Bay Rays and Los Angeles Angels, respectively.
With eight games to go, this year's starters have 937 1/3 innings. Shields leads the way with 213 2/3, Santana follows with 205 and Guthrie is right behind him. So far, the Detroit Tigers are the only other team with three pitchers who've thrown 200 or more innings.
"I don't think we'll quite get there, but to have three guys over 200 innings means we've stayed healthy, we've pitched well enough to get deep into games," Guthrie said. "What Dayton was looking for, I feel like the starters for the most part have done what he asked, and when you do that, you can look up in September and hopefully have a chance to fight for a playoff spot."
For Guthrie, this is the fourth time in five seasons that he's passed the 200-inning mark. He has career high in wins with 14 to go along with a 4.09 ERA in 32 starts.
Jirschele may have brought Omaha's luck to KC
KANSAS CITY -- The Royals figure that maybe Omaha manager Mike Jirschele has brought some Storm Chasers luck with him to the Major League dugout.
Jirschele, who guided Omaha to the Pacific Coast League title and then victory in the Triple-A Championship Game, joined the Royals to serve as co-bench coach with Double-A Northwest Arkansas manager Brian Poldberg. They are filling in for bench coach Chino Cadahia, away because of a family concern.
Omaha actually entered the PCL playoffs with less than a .500 record at 70-74 and then went 7-1 in postseason play to finish 77-75. How did Jirschele pull that off?
"First of all, our pitching did well all year. But the key was, once we lost those guys up here -- [Pedro] Ciriaco and [Johnny Giavotella] and all those guys -- that the young kids that came up from Double-A did an outstanding job," Jirschele said. "[Rey] Navarro had a great playoff. Those guys stepped in and did an outstanding job. We never missed a beat."
Navarro, a third baseman, hit .409 with five RBIs in the seven PCL playoff games.
"We got hot at the right time. You've got to have some luck," Jirschele said. "Considering we had to win the last two games of the regular season and Memphis had to lose two, to almost not getting in, to winning everything -- yeah, it's very satisfying."
The Royals are counting on Jirschele having that horseshoe in his back pocket.
"You can be good but you've got to be lucky, too," Jirschele said. "Salt Lake City, the night we clinched, we hit two balls off the pitcher's foot and both of 'em rolled away from guys. Where when things are going bad, that ball goes right to somebody and they get a double play or get the third out of an inning."
Dick Kaegel is a reporter for MLB.com. Kathleen Gier is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.