Lorenzo Cain spent seven seasons with the Kansas City Royals, winning two American League pennants and a World Series title while growing accustomed to the cheers of their adoring fans.
The jersey has changed. That love for Cain has not.
The affable outfielder homered and reached base four times in his return to Kauffman Stadium on Tuesday night, sending the Milwaukee Brewers to a 5-2 victory over the Royals. And on several occasions, including his homer in the seventh inning, Cain was given a standing ovation.
“He should get a treatment like that. They had some special times here for sure,” said Brewers manager Craig Counsell, whose team has won seven straight. “Just a solid game setting the tone for us.”
“We’re going to wear a boot to take pressure off of it the next 12 hours,” Kennedy said. “It’s a tiny little bone, but it means a lot. I’ve learned my lessons in the past, pitching through things that can affect your movements or your balance that makes a difference especially down the road.”
Cain walked and scored in the third and fifth before going deep off Burch Smith. He also made a couple of nifty grabs in center field, that familiar patch of turf he presided over for so many seasons.
Cain parlayed his success in Kansas City into an $80 million, five-year contract in free agency, returning to the club that drafted him in 2004 and eventually traded him in a deal for Zack Greinke.
“I’ve grown a lot,” Cain said. “Gotten a little older. Won a World Series, went to two. A lot happened since they traded for me. I’ve been thinking about this day for a while now.”
“You try to find ways to eliminate injuries. But the minute you step on the field, you’re bound to get hurt somewhere. That’s just the nature of the beast. And I think taking that out of the game is big. I don’t like to see it happen.”
Hester and running back Matt Forte both signed one-day contracts with their original team Monday at Halas Hall so they could retire as Bears, and an emotional ceremony capped careers rich in highlight-reel material for the former second-round draft picks.
For Hester it might mean a spot someday in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
“Every athlete wants to be in the Hall of Fame,” Hester said. “If there’s one out there that says they don’t really care about it, then they’re playing the wrong sport.”
No other player is in the Hall based solely on returns, but Hester’s league record of 20 touchdown returns could make him a candidate. He had 14 punt return TDs, five on kickoffs and one on a missed field goal.