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Royals Players Weekend nicknames explained

KC players offer stories behind monikers, tribute patches
MLB.com @FlannyMLB

KANSAS CITY -- The inaugural Players Weekend is almost upon us, and you may be wondering about the stories behind the nicknames that Royals players will be wearing on their jerseys this weekend.

Players also will be wearing a special white patch to denote the people in their lives who had a significant impact on their baseball careers.

View Full Game Coverage

KANSAS CITY -- The inaugural Players Weekend is almost upon us, and you may be wondering about the stories behind the nicknames that Royals players will be wearing on their jerseys this weekend.

Players also will be wearing a special white patch to denote the people in their lives who had a significant impact on their baseball careers.

View Full Game Coverage

Here's a look at the stories behind the nicknames and patches that Royals players will be wearing this weekend in Cleveland:

• Shop Royals Players Weekend gear

Danny Duffy: "Bear"
Duffy said his Mom began calling him "Bear" at an early age. Duffy also was known to wear a bear suit during the 2014 postseason in postgame celebrations.
Tribute patch: Mom and Dad, Jon Cope -- Duffy's mom, Deanna, used to catch him up until high school, when his fastball reached 90 mph. She said she still has a divot in her right shin when one of his fastballs skipped into the plate. Jon Cope was Duffy's Little League coach.

Salvador Perez: "El Nino"
Perez said his nickname means young boy or young baby in Spanish. He added that it was teammate Eric Hosmer who first tagged him with the nickname in a friendly manner when Perez was called up to make his Major League debut in 2011.
Tribute patch: Gracias Dios y Mama, Gracias Mom -- "My mom means everything to me. I thank her every day," Perez said.

Video: COL@KC: Perez discusses his return to action in win

Melky Cabrera: "Melk Men"
The tradition of a set of fans who show up in white pants and white shirts with white-capped hats has continued in Kansas City.
Tribute patch: Mom -- "She used to pitch to me when I was growing up," Cabrera said.

Alcides Escobar: "Esky"
"Esky"is a variation of Escobar.
Tribute patch: Mom --  "She's always been my best friend," Escobar said.

Jorge Bonifacio: "El Boni"
"It's just The Boni, like the true one," Bonifacio said.
Tribute patch: Dios -- "My faith is everything," he said.

Whit Merrifield: "Whit Bird"
"It's just something my dad started calling me when I was young," Merrifield said. "It doesn't really mean anything. Just my nickname."
Tribute patch: Mom and Dad -- "My dad was my coach growing up and my mom was kind of the team mom. She's who I went to when my dad got on my nerves," Merrifield said.

Video: COL@KC: Merrifield tallies four hits against Rockies

Drew Butera: "The Don"
"Honestly, I was watching 'The Godfather' when they asked me what nickname to use," Butera said. "And I'm Italian. So it fit."
Tribute patch: Mom and Dad, Sal Lombardo -- "Sal was one of my coaches growing up. We still keep in touch," he said.

Scott Alexander : Using last name
Tribute patch: Dick Adams, Mom and Dad --"[Adams] was a local scout and he was kind the guy who helped players get better. He was the first one who really looked at me and thought I might have some talent," Alexander said.

Ian Kennedy: Using last name
Tribute patch: Jesus -- Faith and family are first in Kennedy's life.

Lorenzo Cain: "Lo Cain"
Just a variation of his first and last name. Players began calling him that in the Minors.
Tribute patch: Mom -- "She was always there, supporting me, and she helped me get into baseball," Cain said.

Mike Moustakas: "Moose"
A variation of his last name, "Moose" is a familiar chant at Kauffman Stadium.
Tribute patch: Mom -- Moustakas lost his mom, Connie, to cancer two years ago. He still honors her by sketching her initials in the dirt outside the batter's box.

Video: CWS@KC: Fans at Kauffman Stadium root on Moose

Eric Hosmer: "Papo"
Hosmer said former teammate Brayan Pena and former coach Eddie Rodriguez used to use that term around him when he first got to the big leagues in 2011. "It's just kind of a Latin thing, like saying, 'What's up?'" Hosmer said.
Tribute patch: Mom and Dad -- Hosmer's father was a fireman and his mother was a Cuban refugee, who helped teach Hosmer the meaning of sacrifice and determination.

Jason Vargas: "Vargy"
Around the clubhouse, Vargas is known as Vargy.
Tribute patch: Amy Vargas -- Vargas chose to give tribute to his sister, Amy, whom he has always been close to.

Alex Gordon: "Gordo"
While many fans call him "A1," around the clubhouse, Gordon is known as "Gordo."
Tribute patch: Mom and Dad -- Gordon's parents raised three sons who all were skilled baseball players.

Jason Hammel: "Hammer"
Hammel goes by "Hammer," a variation of his last name.
Tribute patch: Dad and Coach GVT -- "My dad got me out of football and into baseball, and Gary [Van Tol] was my college coach who taught me how to give my fullest effort at all times," Hammel said.

Peter Moylan: "Sledge"
Moylan chose the nickname from his days growing up following Australian cricket. "Sledging is just trash talking in cricket, and there's an art to it," Moylan said. "Sledging is not personal, but it's really funny."
Tribute patch: WBC, Mum and Dad -- Moylan's career in the Major Leagues never would have happened had he not been noticed by scouts while pitching for Australia in the World Baseball Classic in 2006. He signed with the Braves soon after.

Video: KC@DET: Moylan induces groundout to escape big jam

Brandon Moss: "Moss Dogg"
Moss was given the nickname by his high school football coach, who died shortly after Moss' senior season. "He was a special person," Moss said.
Tribute patch: Todd Milligan, Jeff Segars -- Milligan is Moss' father. Segars was his high school baseball coach.

Cheslor Cuthbert: "Piri"
"I really don't know what it means," Cuthbert said. "Everyone called me that when I was little [in Nicaragua]. I think it was because I was skinny."
Tribute patch: Mom and Dad

Kelvin Herrera: "H"
"H" is a variation of his last name.
Tribute patch: Mi Madre and El Mello -- Tribute to Herrera's mother and a nickname for twins.

Brandon Maurer: "Maurer Power"
"Maurer Power" actually was his father's nickname, and Brandon began using it on his glove about two years ago as a tribute.
Tribute patch: Mom and Dad

Ryan Buchter: "Book"
It's the phonetic pronunciation of the first half of Buchter.
Tribute patch: Thank you.

Kevin McCarthy: Using his last name
Tribute patch: Thank you

Eric Skoglund: Using his last name
Tribute patch: Thank you

Jake Junis: Using his last name
Tribute patch: Thank you

Mike Minor: Using his last name
Tribute patch: Mom and Dad -- "They were always there for me," Minor said.

Jeffrey Flanagan has covered the Royals since 1991, and for MLB.com since 2015. Follow him on Twitter @FlannyMLB.

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