KANSAS CITY -- The Royals do not expect big crowds for this midweek series against a National League team, even if that team is the one that knocked them out in 2014. Madison Bumgarner drew a crowd on Tuesday, though.
Bumgarner was surrounded by 14 local reporters and cameramen just before batting practice, and he certainly enjoyed looking back at the biggest night of his career.
"Obviously those are some of the best memories of my career," he said, smiling. "It's a pretty special place to come back to. I love the city, the field, playing those guys. I'm not good at ranking stuff, but if you force me to, I do think (Game 7) has got to be number one for me."
If you missed it, I wrote an oral history of the moment Bumgarner jogged out of the visiting bullpen here. He went out early Tuesday to do some stretching and running, but he stuck to left field, never crossing over to go see the spot where he sat for four innings.
Bumgarner spent some time talking to Royals players after he did his work, and he'll see another familiar face this week. Whit Merrifield, a 28-year-old infielder, was called up by the Royals. He grew up in North Carolina, playing with and against Bumgarner, who did not remember any specific battles. Merrifield did; he told local reporters that Bumgarner hit him in the head with a pitch when they were 11 years old.
"I did?" Bumgarner said. "Geez, I don't remember that. I'm sure it was an accident."
--- A couple other "we're back in KC" notes: Hunter Strickland is a bit curious to see what kind of reaction he gets if he pitches. Remember, Strickland had a heated moment with Sal Perez early in the series. He said the two spoke the next day and all was good. Also, Johnny Cueto is back two years after helping them get a title here. He spent a lot of time with Royals on Tuesday.
--- Ned Yost was not in the mood for questions about the Giants or Bumgarner. "It's just another series," he said.
--- Buster Posey will likely DH both games, Ron Wotus said. Posey is cleared to catch, however, and he said he feels good and did three or four days after getting hit.
"I'm very grateful that I felt well as quickly as I did," Posey said. "Obviously, we've seen where something like that lasted longer for certain guys."
--- Here's the latest on Bruce Bochy, who underwent what is being described as a minor heart procedure in San Diego. And here's Ray Ratto with a big-picture look. This is the third heart-related scare for Bochy in three years.
"We just want him to take care of himself, take his time, and make sure he's cleared," Posey said. "What we do (on the field) is secondary to other things in life."
--- Jeremy Affeldt will make his broadcast debut tonight. He's fired up about it, and he walked around the clubhouse Tuesday saying he now has authority to set the lineup. (He does not.)