HOUSTON -- Outfielder Bubba Starling, the Royals' first-round pick in the 2011 First-Year Player Draft, did not play for the Burlington Royals in their season opener on Tuesday in the Appalachian League.
Starling, the Royals' top-ranked prospect by MLB.com, injured his hamstring in the first inning an exhibition game on Sunday and was questionable to play on Tuesday. Terrance Gore started in center field for Burlington, which beat the Pulaski Mariners, 8-1 in 10 innings.
After giving up a scholarship to play football at the University of Nebraska, Starling signed a $7.5 million bonus with Kansas City last August. He has still not made his professional debut after signing late last season and starting this season at extended spring camp.
Burlington plays two more games against Pulaski (Va.) before returning home on Friday.
Quintero faces Astros, Wandy for first time
HOUSTON -- Royals catcher Humberto Quintero was Wandy Rodriguez's batterymate dozens of times from 2005-11, when Quintero and Rodriguez were with the Astros.
Quintero got a chance to face Rodriguez in the batter's box for the first time in Tuesday's middle game.
"I know what he throws," Quintero said. "He's got the ball. I've got the bat. We'll see what's going on."
Rodriguez won the battle with Quintero, who went hitless in all three at-bats. Quintero did get a hit off reliever Brandon Lyon to finish 1-for-4 in the Royals' 2-0 win.
Quintero and Rodriguez actually didn't work together all that often in the last few years. The last time Quintero started behind the plate with Rodriguez pitching was June 18, 2010.
Making his first trip back to Minute Maid Park since being traded on March 21 with Jason Bourgeois to the Royals for prospects Kevin Chapman and D'Andre Toney, Quintero noticed some Astros fans yelling his name on Monday.
"I played here for seven years, so the fans appreciate it," Quintero said. "I was always working hard. I appreciate what the fans do for me."
Quintero, 32, enjoyed his time in Houston but is also relishing the opportunity to play for the Royals. Entering Tuesday's game, he was batting .231 in 130 at-bats with a homer and 19 RBIs.
"We've got a lot of young guys that are working hard every day to win," Quintero said. "I like it. I love it here."
Royals looking to further strengthen 'pen
HOUSTON -- The Royals' bullpen may not be at full strength quite yet, but manager Ned Yost acknowledged that it was in much better shape on Tuesday than on Monday.
"If we get through today, we'll be in real good shape [Wednesday]," Yost said before Tuesday's 2-0 win over the Astros.
Royals relievers Tim Collins, Kelvin Herrera, Jonathan Broxton and Greg Holland were unavailable on Monday after extensive work last weekend. All were set to pitch if needed on Tuesday. Broxton was the only one to see action -- tossing a scoreless ninth for his 17th save.
Yost said the Royals could add a position player and demote a pitcher before Wednesday's series finale at Minute Maid Park.
Kansas City is currently carrying 14 pitchers and 11 position players.
Royals extend contract with Triple-A affiliate
HOUSTON -- The Royals extended their player development contract with Triple-A Omaha through the 2016 season on Tuesday.
Omaha has been a Royals' affiliate since 1969. The Storm Chasers also announced their new ownership group, Alliance Baseball Omaha LLC, on Tuesday.
Martie Cordaro, Omaha president and general manager since October 2011, said there was never any doubt that the clubs would extend the contract.
"In my 14 years of Minor League Baseball, I have never personally experienced such a great relationship with a Major League affiliate," Cordaro said. "We are excited to extend our partnership with the Royals."
In 2011, the Storm Chasers won the Pacific Coast League championship. They are currently in first place in the American North division with a 44-27 record.
Disney's Unger to appear at Kauffman Stadium
HOUSTON -- Billy Unger, star of the Disney XD series "Lab Rats", will meet fans and throw out a ceremonial first pitch at Kauffman Stadium before Sunday's I-70 Series finale with the Cardinals.
Fans can interact with Unger from 11:30 a.m. to noon CT near the Outfield Experience stage. His first pitch will come a little before the game, set for a 1:10 start.
Unger has also appeared in Disney XD's "Kickin' It", Disney Channel's "Sonny with a Chance," and the film National Treasure 2: Book of Secrets.
He currently plays Chase Davenport, the youngest of three bionic teen siblings, on "Lab Rats."
Yost said Eric Hosmer would probably start at first base in Wednesday afternoon's series finale against Astros right-hander Jordan Lyles. Billy Butler started the first two games of the series at first base.
Hosmer entered Tuesday's game batting .228/.300/.409 against righties this season and .194/.256/.278 against lefties.
Clark Goble is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.