What May Be

Royals catcher takes unexpected route to the majors





KANSAS CITY—This is not how Lucas May envisioned making it to the big leagues.

"I always dreamed of making it to big leagues as a shortstop," May said. "I didn't as a catcher."

May, who grew up in St. Louis and idolized Cardinals shortstop Ozzie Smith, was drafted as a shortstop in 2003 by the Dodgers in the eighth round. They later moved him to the outfield for a year and a half before transferring him to catcher in 2007.

"But when I converted to catching, I definitely took to it, and I'm glad it happened," May said. "This is my fourth year doing it. For the first two or three years, it's really about being able to do all the fundamentals, blocking balls, throwing, but then last year and this year it's been more about how to call a game, learning hitters and doing homework."

The Royals acquired May as part of a July 28 trade for Scott Podsednik.

"I've been waiting for this day for seven years," May said. "I was traded over here and I was all smiles. I felt like it was a better opportunity. Now that it's finally come true, it's a feeling I can't explain. It's awesome."

May hit .275/.362/.516 with seven doubles, five homers and 13 RBIs in 24 games with Triple-A Omaha before he was called up. In 104 games overall in the minors, he hit .285/.351/.485 with 16 homers and 59 RBIs.

When the Royals acquired May, they thought he would have a year to be tutored by Jason Kendall, who has caught more than 2,000 games. But Kendall had surgery in September to repair a torn right rotator cuff, sidelining him for eight to 12 months.

May's role could be increased next year unless the Royals acquire a veteran catcher in the offseason.

"May's a converted guy, so he's not going to be extremely polished, but he's a guy that has a chance to be a pretty decent receiver," manager Ned Yost said.

ROYALTIES

• Third baseman Mike Moustakas and lefthander John Lamb were selected as the Royals' minor league player and pitcher of the year.

• The Royals extended their player-development contract with Omaha, which is moving next April into a new stadium in suburban Sarpy County. Omaha has been a Royals affiliate since the franchise's inception in 1969, and the latest deal extends the contract through 2014. A crowd of 23,795 witnessed the final game at Rosenblatt Stadium on Sept. 2 as Moustakas homered in the first inning in a 6-2 victory over Round Rock.