Kansas City, Mo. Danny Tartabull fears the worst.
"I just hope it's not as serious as I think it is," said the Royals' rightfielder after injuring his right calf muscle chasing fly balls during pre-game warmups Wednesday night.
"It felt like a true pull," Tartabull said. "I took a step forward to catch a fly and it felt like a ball hit me in the back of the leg."
Tartabull was helped off the field and received treatment before heading home. He was scheduled for a further examination today.
Tartabull, content at last after signing a one-year, $1.65 million contract during the off-season, homered and singled on Opening Day.
"Everything was in place," Tartabull said.
Royals manager John Wathan can't imagine a key injury this early in the season.
"I'd rather not discuss it until we get all the tests," Wathan said. "It would be premature. I'm very concerned."
HE WAS pleased, however, that KC's bench was able to overcome the loss of Tartabull on Wednesday night. Opening Day centerfielder Jim Eisenreich moved to rightfield, while Willie Wilson took over in center. Bo Jackson remained in left.
Wilson responded with a double and single in three at bats. He also stole a base and scored a run.
"Improving the bench is what we talked about all winter and spring training," said Wathan. "We have a key injury to Danny Tartabull and Willie gets two base hits and a stolen base. That's a pretty good substitute there."
Wilson was only too happy to contribute.
"This is my role, what I have to do," Wilson said. "I don't mind this role at all. When Danny recovers, I'm sure he'll be back in and I'll go back to the bench. I like this team. I like this city. I'm a wine list man. I like the restaurants here."
Mark Davis' save was the first by a Royals' lefthander since Israel Sanchez closed out Seattle on Sept. 21, 1988. . .
Bob Boone is the Royals' only regular to go hitless through the season's first two games. . .
The series continues at 7:35 tonight. Storm Davis, 19-8 last year with the Oakland A's, will be opposed by the O's Pete Harnisch (5-9). . .
Toronto arrives Friday for a three-game series. Cleveland will close KC's homestand with games Monday through Wednesday. . .