MINNEAPOLIS -- Second baseman Chris Getz will begin an injury rehabilitation assignment at Triple-A Omaha on Saturday night against Albuquerque.

Getz is out with a lateral strain in his lower left leg and could return from the disabled list as early as Tuesday. He is hitting .290 in 36 games.

Shortstop Escobar doing well in clutch

MINNEAPOLIS -- All those times that shortstop Alcides Escobar was allowed to bat in clutch situations last year instead of using a pinch-hitter seems to have to paid off.

Escobar, going into the series at Minnesota, had a .315 average to lead all Major League shortstops. In fact, he ranked seventh in American League hitting overall.

Manager Ned Yost drew some criticism last year for not pinch-hitting for Escobar at crucial times but never wavered.

"Last year in a lot of tough situations, in the last three innings in a tie game or we're down by one run and the team needs a hit, he let me hit and he gave me confidence," Escobar said. "That was great because I learned more about situations like that and right now I feel like I've been much better this year."

The thin Escobar added about seven pounds in weight, and perhaps some muscle, because this year his 23 extra-base hits total (19 doubles, two homers) is only 10 shy of what he had all last season.

"But I just trust in my hands. I know I can hit because I always hit in the Minor Leagues and I feel like I can hit in the big leagues," he said. "I got a little more patient in the last year. I see the ball better and I've been hitting the ball harder."

Escobar is one of the Royals likely to get serious consideration for the All-Star Game at Kansas City. The squads will be announced on Sunday.

"I want to go to the All-Star Game, I'm waiting for that," he said. "I'd like to have a chance to make the team. Maybe they'll pick two or three guys from the team, and I'd like to [be] one of them."

Hottovy to be 26th man for doubleheader

MINNEAPOLIS -- Left-handed reliever Tommy Hottovy will be the Royals' 26th man for Saturday's day-night doubleheader against the Twins.

Under the new Basic Agreement, teams are permitted to add an extra player for doubleheaders. Manager Ned Yost felt that a 13th pitcher probably would be of more use than a position player.

This will be the third time Hottovy has been called up from Triple-A Omaha, where he's 2-0 with seven saves and a 1.63 ERA in 21 games. The sidewheeler also has 38 strikeouts and only six walks in 27 2/3 innings.

Hottovy was picked for the Triple-A All-Star Game, which will be played July 11 at Buffalo.

"He won't miss the All-Star Game, he'll just be here a day," Yost said.

Perez 'scared' by slide into knee

MINNEAPOLIS -- Catcher Salvador Perez admits he had some uncertain moments last Wednesday when the Rays' Ben Zobrist slid into his left knee in a play at the plate.

It was the first hard collision at the plate since Perez returned to the Royals a week ago after surgery on that knee.

"No bruise, just a little cut where he hit me with the spike," Perez said. "My shin guard broke a little bit and that's where he caught me."

There were a few tense moments when Perez was slow getting to his feet and waited for a trainer to check him out.

"I was scared because it's the first time it hurt a little bit but I came up, did a squat and everything and I was fine," Perez said.

Friday night against the Twins, Perez started the fifth game since his return from surgery.

Starling makes debut for Rookie Royals

MINNEAPOLIS -- Bubba is in the books.

The long-awaited pro debut of outfielder Bubba Starling, Kansas City's first-round draft pick of 2011, came on Thursday night for the Rookie Royals of Burlington, N.C. He missed the first nine games because of a hamstring injury.

Starling played center field, batted third and went 0-for-5 with a walk and one run in the Royals' 14-2 loss to the Cardinals at Johnson City, Tenn.

Starling, who's from the Kansas City area, signed a $7.5 million deal last year too late to play last summer. He prepared for his debut in extended Spring Training at Surprise, Ariz.

Catcher Cam Gallagher, who was the Royals' second-round pick in 2011, returned from a hand bruise in the same game and went 2-for-6. Gallagher had played in five games and was 4-for-18 (.222) prior to his injury. He broke in last year with Rookie teams at Surprise and Idaho Falls.