Moose thrilled with Derby, All-Star experience

Moose thrilled with Derby, All-Star experience

KANSAS CITY -- Royals third baseman Mike Moustakas knew there was a chance he might face relievers Greg Holland or Wade Davis, former teammates and playing for the National League in Tuesday's All-Star Game presented by Mastercard.

As it turned out, Moustakas, a reserve for the American League squad, batted against both. He flied out to right field in the eighth inning against Holland and struck out against Davis in the 10th. Facing the former Royals pitchers was a memorable moment, but for Moustakas, the whole experience -- from hitting in the T-Mobile Home Run Derby to playing in the All-Star Game -- was fun.

"The whole trip, the whole experience was a highlight," Moustakas said.

Moustakas, who appeared in his second All-Star Game, was voted in through the Esurance MLB All-Star Game Final Vote. Despite hitting 10 home runs in the Derby, the most by a Royals participant in the event's history, Moustakas did not make it out of the first round as Twins third baseman Miguel Sano hit 11. Still, Moustakas enjoyed watching the rest of the Derby.

"What those guys did was pretty cool to watch," Moustakas said. "It's definitely tiring. Adrenaline is definitely flowing, but it was definitely a lot of fun."

Moustakas also spent time getting to know Blue Jays first baseman Justin Smoak and Tigers outfielder Justin Upton.

Though he fondly remembers his time in Miami, Moustakas said his focus shifted to the final portion of the regular season, which started on Friday against the Rangers, as soon as the final out in the All-Star Game.

Moustakas and the Royals will try to play their way into the postseason for the third time in four years. They entered Friday three games out of first place in the AL Central and 1 1/2 games back in the Wild Card standings.

"Where we're at right now, we think we got a chance to go pretty far in this thing," Moustakas said. "This team definitely performs better in the second half, and we have all the pieces to do that again."

Wilson Alexander is a reporter for MLB.com based in Kansas City. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.