Butera now a powerful spring force for Royals

Veteran catcher leading club in homers, including inside-the parker

Butera now a powerful spring force for Royals

SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Don't look now, but guess who is leading the Royals in home runs this spring?

None other than backup catcher Drew Butera, with two.

Butera got his second spring homer on Thursday, an inside-the-park job, if you can believe that.

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"I think a couple of people must have fallen down or run into each other," Butera said. "I hit the ball in the gap and kept running. I really thought I was going to stop at third, but [third-base coach Mike Jirschele] kept waving me around."

Butera's inside-the-park homer

White Sox outfielders had trouble retrieving the gapper. The relay throw wasn't accurate, either.

Even Jirschele was a bit incredulous about the development.

"I was holding my breath all the way until he got home," Jirschele said. "He came around third and I was yelling, 'Run, Forrest, run!'"

Butera didn't know he had that kind of speed. As the Royals say, that's what speed do.

"My locker is next to [Jarrod] Dyson's," Butera said. "Maybe that's rubbing off on me."

Butera will take any edge he can get. The Royals brought in veteran catcher Tony Cruz to compete for the backup job behind Salvador Perez.

Cruz, though, has options, and that would seem to give Butera, who is out of options, the edge.

Butera is taking nothing for granted.

"I always feel that in baseball nothing is given," Butera said. "Even if I had a seven-year, $150 million contract, I would still come to Spring Training the same way and feel I have to earn a spot."

Jeffrey Flanagan is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @FlannyMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.