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Indians focused on game -10/2/2014, 10:22 AM

Area prep football district standings -10/2/2014, 10:21 AM

Chiefs' Donald Stephenson eager to get on field -10/2/2014, 10:21 AM

McFarland to start at QB for Monarchs -10/2/2014, 10:20 AM

Royals step up big -10/2/2014, 10:20 AM

Wild, wild win in K.C. -10/1/2014, 10:23 AM

Jones didn't wait to impact Kansas State -10/1/2014, 10:23 AM

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Tiger golfers finish 10th on home course -10/1/2014, 10:23 AM

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Chiefs' Smith in a groove -10/1/2014, 10:23 AM

Late surge pushes Dodge past TMP -10/1/2014, 10:22 AM

Monarch XC sweeps titles at Lyons -10/1/2014, 10:22 AM

Tigers' Cole earns MIAA soccer honor -9/30/2014, 3:10 PM

Royals' playoff appearance years in the making for some fans -9/30/2014, 10:34 AM

Chiefs offense gets rolling in rout -9/30/2014, 10:31 AM

California has four teams in the playoffs for the first time -9/30/2014, 10:31 AM

TMP golf finishes third at Hoisington meet -9/30/2014, 10:35 AM

Monarchs move to 14-10 -9/30/2014, 10:30 AM

Big 12 coaches react to firing -9/30/2014, 10:21 AM

HHS volleyball goes 2-3 in Newton -9/29/2014, 10:27 AM

HHS tennis places third at Garden City Invitational -9/29/2014, 4:16 PM

Tiger tennis finishes fall season 5-2 -9/29/2014, 10:27 AM

MNF for Chiefs -9/29/2014, 10:27 AM

Royals' starters rest in win -9/29/2014, 10:26 AM

KU shows Weis the door -9/29/2014, 10:26 AM

Jayhawks take the conservative route in their loss to Texas -9/28/2014, 9:43 AM

FHSU soccer cruises past SW Baptist -9/28/2014, 7:03 PM

Victoria takes advantage for close win at Ness -9/28/2014, 1:14 AM

Plainville grabs first win, beats TMP -9/28/2014, 7:02 PM

Area prep football roundup: Otis-Bison, Kinsley set record -9/28/2014, 7:02 PM

Wildcats roll -9/28/2014, 7:02 PM

Delton, HHS run past Garden City -9/28/2014, 7:02 PM

Tiger women's soccer picks up 1-0 win at Southern -9/28/2014, 7:02 PM

Tiger women's XC wins at Emporia State -9/27/2014, 7:12 PM

Kansas City clinches first playoff berth since 1985 -9/27/2014, 7:02 PM

Tigers take down No. 8 Pitt State -9/27/2014, 6:53 PM

Kansas linebacker Jake Love lives on instincts -9/26/2014, 11:06 AM

Like old times, Kansas State takes pride in stuffing the run -9/26/2014, 10:57 AM

FHSU women fall 2-1 -9/26/2014, 10:23 AM

Big win for Tiger soccer -9/26/2014, 10:46 AM

Tough test for Tiger football -9/26/2014, 10:23 AM

Hays High, TMP move to 4A -9/26/2014, 10:24 AM

One more win and Royals are in -9/26/2014, 10:47 AM

HHS XC second at McPherson meet -9/26/2014, 10:25 AM

Indian soccer snaps skid -9/26/2014, 10:47 AM

HHS golf clinches share of WAC title -9/26/2014, 10:48 AM

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Prep basketball

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Atwood 76, St. Francis 65

Dighton 62, Oberlin 47

Hillsboro 50, Goodland 47

Lakeside 42, Lincoln 32

Minneapolis 68, Russell 35

Rock Hills 42, Natoma 37

Salina Central 62, Andover 58

Salina South 62, Sacred Heart 47

Sharon Springs 75, Leoti 38

St. John's Beloit-Tipton 57, Osborne 34

Sylvan-Lucas 61, Thunder Ridge 48

Girls

Dighton 44, Atwood 11

Dodge City 71, Hays High 28

Hesston 51, Goodland 18

Hoisington 60, Victoria 46

Hoxie 65, St. Francis 13

Lincoln 33, Lakeside 26

Minneapolis 47, Otis-Bison 24

Osborne 59, Wilson 34

Sharon Springs 63, Oberlin 42

Sylvan-Lucas 43, Natoma 41 (ot)

Tescott 41, Rock Hills 33

Trego 56, Leoti 27

Thunder Ridge 33, St. John's Beloit-Tipton 30

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SPOTLIGHT
Butler wants to stay in K.C.

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Butler wants to stay in K.C.

Published on -7/20/2014, 6:44 PM

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By Andy McCullough

McClatchy-Tribune

Billy Butler swung a pair of Mariucci bats inside the visitors' clubhouse at Fenway Park, rotating the lumber from hand to hand, pondering the factors behind his first-half torment.

"Some years, you just have a down year," said Butler, the Royals' designated hitter.

"And you feel the same. For whatever reason, it just happens. I'm not saying you're any less of a player than you were.

"My bat speed's still there. I get to certain pitches. I mean, these shifts are messing with me, too. I hit balls up the middle, and they get to them. They used to be hits. When I came up, there were no shifts."

Butler was smiling. The worst offensive season of his career has not dented his confidence, and has not blemished his faith in his ability. He understands the Royals face a decision on his contract after this season, with a $12.5 million team option that appears unlikely to be picked up.

But in Butler's view, when it comes to that option, his .811 career on-base plus slugging percentage should outweigh his .679 OPS in 2014.

"My numbers throughout my contract suggest they should (pick it up)," Butler said. "Maybe not the way I've necessarily played this year, but that's the reason you play a full 162 games. The evaluation is there. That's the reason why you have a track record.

"If you want to go off 90-something games, you can say, 'yeah, it's not justified.' If you want to go off of other ones, yeah, it probably is. It's all how you want to look at it."

At 28, Butler continued, "my best years are still ahead of me," and he insisted he would like to spend the rest of his career as a Royal. Which is why, if Kansas City does not intend to pick up the option, he said he would be willing to renegotiate an extension at a lower rate than $12.5 million per season.

"I've been in the organization for 10 years, and I've enjoyed every minute of it," he said. "I'd like stay here and win something. It's not my decision."

It is unclear how Butler fits into the organization's long-term plans. It is unclear if he will even finish the season with the Royals. Butler spent his All-Star break on Cape Cod, with trade rumors swirling around him. The talk is still light, as the prospective of a deal is still considered unlikely, but ESPN reported there have been preliminary discussions between the Royals and Seattle.

The Mariners have coveted Butler for years, and were one of the teams who engaged with general manager Dayton Moore about Butler last winter. The Royals entertained the idea, especially as they pursued free-agent veteran Carlos Beltran, but ultimately stuck with Butler.

"If we're giving up Billy Butler, we need to get back a player who can bat fourth in our lineup," one club official said this past spring, when reminiscing on the reasons for keeping him.

But Butler no longer bats fourth for the Royals. He has fallen to sixth in the order, and followed up an encouraging .811 OPS in June with an immediate downturn in the final two weeks before the break. So the Royals must ponder if they can improve their club by flipping Butler, rather than just letting him depart in free agency without compensation this winter.

A few factors reduce the possibility of a trade. Butler's own performance has decimated his value -- few rival clubs are likely to part with major assets for a player who has struggled so much this season. The Royals also lack a viable replacement at designated hitter, as Raul Ibañez has shown little evidence of revival thus far.

At this point in the season, Butler explained there was little reason to discuss his future with his employers. His role is to produce at the plate. In the next few months, the situation will be sorted out.

"They might want me to still be a Royal, and I might still want to be a Royal," Butler said. "It might just not be in the cards. I might not fit into their future plans. I'll fit in somebody's future. But I don't know where, if it's not here."

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