KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) - The Kansas City Royals send right-hander Brian Bannister to the mound Friday night against Tampa Bay in hopes of having a better second half to this season.
The Royals have been beset by injury to their closer, center fielder, third baseman and shortstop.
But they do have reason to feel optimistic. Third baseman Alex Gordon is back after having hip surgery. And shortstop Yuniesky Betancourt, acquired last week in a trade with Seattle, is ready to make his Kansas City debut.
The Royals take a 37-51 record into the second half of what many had thought might be the season they challenged for the AL Central Division title.
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