KANSAS CITY -- A position player taking the mound and throwing pitches is typically an unusual, once-in-a-career event.
But for Mitch Maier, it's becoming routine.
With the Royals trailing, 13-5, against the Indians on Sunday, Maier moved from center field to the mound and pitched a scoreless ninth inning. It was the second career pitching appearance for Maier, who recorded a scoreless inning last July against the Red Sox.
"We were obviously running thin in our bullpen," Maier said after the game. "[Luke Hochevar] got hurt the other night, we needed our long guy that night. And then last night and today. It happened to me last year in Boston, the same situation. Just go out there and eat an inning for the team."
Maier did more than just eat an inning. He faced the minimum three batters, giving up one hit, which was quickly erased on an inning-ending double play.
Maier's appearance could almost be classified as necessary after the workload the bullpen had in the series against Cleveland.
In three games, no Royals starter recorded an out past the fourth inning. Two relievers pitched five innings on Friday in relief of Hochevar, and six men combined for 7 1/3 innings on Saturday after Jonathan Sanchez made an early exit. Sunday's starter, Luis Mendoza, was pulled early with none out in the fifth inning, leaving plenty of work for the Kansas City bullpen.
"Rather have me throw than burn another bullpen guy," Maier said. "We've got another series coming up [Monday against the Tigers], so we need everyone fresh."
Royals, fans pay homage on Robinson's day
KANSAS CITY -- There was no shortage of No. 42s at Kauffman Stadium on Sunday.
With the annual celebration of Jackie Robinson Day came an omnipresence of the Hall of Famer's number, both on the field and off. Players and coaches from both teams sported a No. 42 on their jersey tops, and a promotional T-shirt giveaway meant many fans were wearing it as well.
Pregame festivities featured a video tribute, and the man who broke baseball's color barrier was on the minds of everyone before the Royals took on the Indians in the series finale.
Prior to the game, Royals manager Ned Yost commented on the significance of honoring Robinson.
"He was a pioneer, and baseball does a great job of saluting their pioneers," Yost said. "I think it's a cool thing, a neat gesture that everybody salutes that. Everybody in Major League Baseball is wearing No. 42 today. I think that's a special, special thing."
Earlier in the season, Royals outfielder Lorenzo Cain was asked to sign a Jackie Robinson jersey in Anaheim. He said it meant a lot to him.
"He definitely opened eyes for African-Americans in baseball," Cain said on April 7. "It's definitely a privilege to get to sign his jersey and to get to celebrate this special moment for him. ... It's definitely a great moment, a great day."
Every Royal wore the No. 42 on their backs Sunday, but it was the everyday number of eight Kansas City players since 1969. The last to wear 42 for the Royals was outfielder Tom Goodwin, who gave it up when it was retired league-wide in 1997.
Coleman thrown right into fire vs. Tribe
KANSAS CITY -- Louis Coleman hasn't had much time to catch his breath.
The Royals reliever made his first appearance of the season in Sunday's 13-7 loss to the Indians, but he wasn't even on the 25-man roster the previous day.
After nearly emptying their bullpen on Saturday, the Royals called up Coleman for Sunday's game, and he entered the game in the sixth inning. He went three innings, giving up three runs on three hits and two walks.
Coleman held the Indians, who had already put nine runs on the board, scoreless through his first two innings of work before surrendering home runs to Casey Kotchman and Jason Kipnis on back-to-back pitches in the eighth.
"Some good things and some bad things, positives and negatives," Coleman said after the game. "A couple bad pitches. You can't get them back. Just learn from mistakes and try to move on."
Coleman said he was alerted during extra innings of Triple-A Omaha's game in Albuquerque on Saturday night that he'd be heading to the big league club the next day. The right-hander woke up Sunday morning, flew to Kansas City and came right to the park, arriving right as the Royals were wrapping up batting practice.
Manager Ned Yost said after the game that Coleman's outing was important for his bullpen moving forward.
"Coleman saved us today," Yost said. "We got through that game without having to use [Kelvin] Herrera, [Tim] Collins, [Aaron] Crow, [Jonathan] Broxton and [Greg] Holland on back-to-back days. If I had to use one of those guys, they'd be unavailable for [Monday's game], so we should have a fairly stocked bullpen."
Getz makes most of starting opportunity
KANSAS CITY -- In a game dominated by Cleveland's bats, there was an offensive star from the other dugout on Sunday.
Chris Getz isn't an everyday starter for the Royals, splitting time with Yuniesky Betancourt at second base, but that didn't stop him from capitalizing on his start in the Royals' 13-7 loss to the Indians.
In his first home start of the year, Getz loaded up the stat sheet, going 3-for-5 with a triple, a run scored, two RBIs and a stolen base.
"I hadn't played in a few days," Getz said after the game. "I felt like we'd been struggling a bit, so I just thought maybe I'd try to put some good at-bats together for myself that would help the team, maybe be a little bit of a spark plug if we needed one. I was fortunate to get some hits to fall in there."
Getz drove in a pair of runs on a single in the second inning, and he led off the bottom the fourth with a triple to right field. He scored on a groundout by first baseman Eric Hosmer.
"It was a 3-2 count, and I'd seen a bunch of pitches," Getz said. "I was banking on him throwing a fastball there ... and I was just able to put a good swing on it and kind of just started running."
Getz made a sparkling defensive play as well, ranging far up the middle to keep Michael Brantley's ground ball from rolling into center field, and then completing a throw to first base, but Brantley was ruled safe on a close play at first.
Brayan Pena also had a big day at the plate in the loss, collecting the first four-hit game of his career.
Royals pitchers Hochevar, Paulino on mend
KANSAS CITY -- A pair of banged-up Royals starters are on their way back to the mound.
Royals manager Ned Yost gave a favorable review of Luke Hochevar's health.
Hochevar took a line drive off his ankle in Friday's game against the Indians. He left the game, and it is unclear whether he will make his next start. But, he threw on Sunday, and Yost was pleased.
"Hoch went out and threw [Sunday] and actually is OK," Yost said before Sunday's series finale against the Indians. "Still sore, a little bit, but making great progress. We're kind of going day to day with him."
Yost also announced the immediate future of another injured hurler, Felipe Paulino.
Paulino has been on the disabled list since the end of Spring Training with a right forearm strain. The right-hander will head to Arizona for extended spring training and compete in some games so he can get his pitch count up.
"We're going to right now keep him in Arizona, where we can control the innings," Yost said. "Make sure to get all the pitches that we want him to get. You get him in a Minor League game, and it makes it a little more difficult. He has a big, long inning. This way, you can control the innings, you can control his pitch count and make sure he gets done exactly what we want him to do."
Entering play on Sunday, only one team had more doubles this season than the Royals. Boston entered the day with 24 doubles, and the Royals had 21.
Staying on the doubles front, Billy Butler entered Sunday tied for the Major League lead in two-baggers -- joining the Rockies' Michael Cuddyer and the Mets' Ruben Tejada. Butler's teammate, Mike Moustakas, was tied for fourth place with four doubles.
Vinnie Duber is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.