KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Mike Sweeney was eager for a chance to play against the Kansas City Royals, who he spent his first 11½ seasons with. He'll have to wait another day.
Sweeney signed with the Oakland Athletics just before the start of spring training after spending his entire career with Kansas City. He was activated Wednesday off the disabled list, but the game was rained out and has been rescheduled as a doubleheader Thursday.
Brian Bannister (7-14), 0-8 in his past 11 starts, will start the opener for the Royals against Dana Eveland (8-8, 4.21). In the second game, the A's will start Dan Meyer (0-3), who was recalled Tuesday from Double-A Midland, while the Royals will pitch Kyle Davies (5-6).
"I don't know if I'll ever play again in Kansas City, so I'll enjoy it," Sweeney said.
Bad knees have limited Sweeney to 40 games this season, hitting .292 with two home runs and 12 RBI. He went on the disabled list May 29 and had surgery on both knees on June 11.
"It's been a frustrating season," Sweeney said. "I worked hard, but didn't get to see the fruits of my labor. It's been tough."
Sweeney faces more knee surgery, but opted to postpone it until after the season for the chance to play again at Kauffman Stadium.
"I really wanted to make this trip to Kansas City," he said. "I had these three days in Kansas City circled all season."
Sweeney spent his entire professional career with the Royals, who drafted him out of high school in 1991, before signing with Oakland on Feb. 11. Sweeney, a five-time All-Star, was a career .299 hitter with 197 home runs and 837 RBI in 1,282 games with Kansas City.
"I've never been in the visitor's clubhouse before Tuesday," Sweeney said. "I didn't know where the trainer's room or anything was. I've spent enough time in the trainer's room, so I don't want to be going in there. It was weird watching the game (Tuesday) from the third-base dugout instead of the first-base dugout."
Manager Bob Geren had Sweeney bring out the A's lineup card to the umpires at home plate before the game Tuesday. Sweeney was one of the most popular players to play in Kansas City in the past decade.
"Stepping on that field again was awesome," Sweeney said. "The fans have been great. I've seen signs with No. 29 and No. 29 jerseys"
Sweeney, who wears No. 5 with the Athletics, has been plagued by knee and back injuries in recent seasons. This will be the third consecutive year he has played in 74 or fewer games. He has not played in more than 126 games in a season since 2001. This is the seventh year in a row he has spent time on the disabled list.
At age 35, Sweeney knows this could well be his last season.
"This last month could be the end of my career," Sweeney said. "I'm taking the approach the next 30 days could be the last 30 days of my career and enjoy it. If it is, I plan to sprint to the finish line. You never know what the future is going to hold."
Sweeney, however, stops short of saying he is retiring. He said if his knees feel good next year after more surgery, he'll see if his heart is into playing another year.
But this could be his September swan song.
"If so, I have no regrets," he said. "I've been blessed."