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 KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) -Billy Butler, Kansas City's first-round draft pick of 2004, was recalled from Triple-A Omaha on Tuesday and told he would start immediately in left field.
One of the Royals' top hitting prospects in years, Butler was batting .337 in 25 games for the Omaha Royals. He turned 21 on April 18 and will be the 12th-youngest player, and seventh-youngest position player, to make his major league debut with Kansas City.
The Royals also placed first baseman Ryan Shealy on the 15-day disabled list. Shealy strained his left hamstring while trying to score from second base Monday night.
Manager Buddy Bell, whose team started the night with the worst record in the majors at 8-18, said he hoped Butler would bring ``a spark'' to a lethargic offense.
``Really, he was our best offensive player in spring training and you have to consider this kid's got a real good feel for the strike zone,'' Bell said. ``He's very disciplined, which is uncharacteristic of a young hitter to begin with.''
Butler said he first thought somebody was kidding him when he got the call about 10 a.m. Monday to head for Kansas City.
``I'm nervous,'' he said. ``It's one of those things. You start thinking a lot of stuff. I made it to the big leagues. You've just got to step on the field like it's another game.''
Butler won the Texas League batting title at Double-A Wichita last year with a .331 average and will join two other rookies in the starting lineup, third baseman Alex Gordon and shortstop Tony Pena Jr.
``I'm going to do the best I can. Hopefully, it's a good transition,'' he said. ``I've heard that if you're not nervous, it's time to hang it up. Well, I'm nervous right now.''
The Los Angeles Angels were slated to start former Cy Young winner Bartolo Colon (2-0) in Butler's first game Tuesday night.
``I remember reading about him when I was about 10 or 11 years old,'' Butler said.
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