MINNEAPOLIS -- The Royals on Thursday announced the signing of seven of their 50 selections in this week's First-Year Player Draft.

Those signed were: seventh round, pitcher Eric Cantrell, George Washington University; 11th round, shortstop Alex McClure, Middle Tennessee State; 26th, pitcher Gates Dooley, Henderson State; 27th, outfielder Jose Rodriguez, Miami Dade Community College South; 28th, first baseman Murray Watts, Arkansas State; 30th, pitcher Chad Blauer, Point Loma Nazarene U., and 46th, catcher William Robertson, Middle Tennessee State.

Also signed was undrafted pitcher Kyle Kreich, a left-hander from Jacksonville U.

Podsednik's useful play open to interpretation

MINNEAPOLIS -- What's a bunt and what's a swing?

Pretty simple answer, most of the time, except when the Royals' Scott Podsednik is in the batter's box. One of his tactics is a little poke that bounces or rolls into the infield, hopefully for a base hit.

The kicker is that when he does it with two strikes, if that poke goes foul and it's considered a bunt, Podsednik is out. If it's considered a swing, it's just a foul ball. When the Angels were in Kansas City, manager Mike Scioscia was contending it was a bunt, but the umpire wasn't buying.

Podsednik said he's never been called out on that play yet.

"I'm obviously aware that the more I do it, the more managers are going to question it," he said. "I look at it this way: If a hitter tries to swing and checks his swing and the bat decelerates through the zone, that's called a swing. So I'm basically doing the same thing as a check swing."

Royals manager Ned Yost believes it's not a bunt unless a batter separates his hands on the bat. What about what he calls a "little hack" by Podsednik?

"I think it's a swing," Yost said. "It's basically very simple. If he splits his hands, then it can be interpreted as a bunt. But he doesn't split his hands, he comes set and it's like a little swinging bunt but with two strikes, it's a swing. It's not a bunt."

Oddly enough, as an expert on umpiring pointed out, a bunt is defined in rules -- "a batted ball not swung at, but intentionally met with the bat and tapped slowly within the infield" - but there is no definition for a swing. It apparently falls under good old Rule 9.01 (c) that states: "Each umpire has authority to rule on any point not specifically covered in these rules."

And umpires, the expert said, have the authority to make a ruling based on their judgment of the batter's intent.

Yost had this interesting take on that: "The umpires need to get together, then, because half of them will tell you, 'If he splits the hands, it's a bunt.' The other half will tell you, 'If he doesn't split the hands, it's a swing.'"

Hmm, two different ways of saying the same thing.

Anyway, Yost continued: "So I'm going under the assumption -- which I think I'd have a real argument -- if he doesn't split his hands, it's a swing. If he splits his hands even a little bit, it can be considered a bunt, and I can see that."

So keep your eyes on that, if Podsednik someday takes his little hack with two strikes, the ball rolls foul, the umpires decides it's a bunt and he's out. There just might be an on-field scholarly debate.

Podsednik's approach to it all is quite simple.

"The bottom line is that I'm just trying to use my legs more to reach base," he said. "That's what it boils down to."

Butler takes first off-day in finale

MINNEAPOLIS -- Royals first baseman Billy Butler, who started the first 60 games for the Royals, was not in the starting lineup on Thursday night against the Twins.

Manager Ned Yost decided that not only did Butler deserve a break but also noted that he was just 2-for-25, .080, against Twins starter Scott Baker.

"The third reason is was we're going to start Interleague Play tomorrow against National League teams and we'll give Wilson Betemit four at-bats," Yost said. "He and Willie [Bloomquist] will be the two main guys off the bench. Willie has been getting some at-bats."

Chris Getz also came off the bench to play second base in place of Mike Aviles.

Start time changed for Sept. 13 game

MINNEAPOLIS -- The start time for the Royals' Monday, Sept. 13, game against the Oakland Athletics has been changed to 2:10 p.m. CT, five hours earlier than originally scheduled.

The first pitch was shifted from 7:10 p.m. CT to accommodate the neighboring Kansas City Chiefs, who will play the San Diego Chargers that night at Arrowhead Stadium.

Fans who want to exchange previously purchased tickets can contact the Royals Ticket Services Department at 816-504-4040, option 3, or by emailing ticketservices@royals.com, or by visiting the Kauffman Stadium box office.

The club said that a special ticket offer and parking details for Sept. 13 will be announced soon.