Storm Chasers outfielder Brett Phillips has found a home away from home in Omaha

Brett Phillips is batting .240 after hitting safely in 30 of his last 34 games. Heading into Thursday’s game at Nashville, he led the PCL in walks (72), was tied for first in triples (13) and was fifth in stolen bases (22).

Brett Phillips found a home away from home.

He’s not referring to Werner Park, either.

While most baseball players find an apartment when they’re assigned to a team, the Storm Chasers’ right fielder has spent this season living in Bill and Brenda Roach’s basement in Papillion, about five minutes from the ballpark.

“They’re awesome,” Phillips said.

Former Kansas City Royals outfielder Terrance Gore stayed with the Roaches the past couple of seasons while playing for Omaha. Gore suggested Phillips connect with them.

“They’ve been a blessing. Unbelievable family,” Phillips said. “We’ve had some cookouts; some of the guys have been over. I’m thankful they’ve opened up their house to me.”

The feeling is mutual for the Roaches, who are regulars at Werner Park for games.

Brenda called Phillips their “summer son.” Bill, a longtime master’s tennis player and member of the UNK athletic hall of fame, said Phillips gave Brenda flowers on Mother’s Day.

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“There’s not a nicer guy in the world than that guy right there,” he said. “He is so stinking nice, it blows me away. He’s polite; he’s considerate; he cares about people.”

This sort of living arrangement is nothing new for the 25-year-old Phillips, who turned pro in 2012 after being drafted out of high school.

“I’ve stayed with five different host families in my career,” he said. “I’m probably the only one throughout professional baseball (to do that).”

Phillips played 51 games in the majors last season with Milwaukee and Kansas City, coming to the Royals in a midseason trade for Mike Moustakas.

But he struggled this spring. He was playing every day, but a 0-for-20 stretch dropped his average to .165 on May 24.

Now he’s batting .240 after hitting safely in 30 of his last 34 games. Heading into Thursday’s game at Nashville, he led the PCL in walks (72), was tied for first in triples (13) and was fifth in stolen bases (22).

“He’s a guy who always works hard, even when he’s struggling,” Chasers manager Brian Poldberg said. “(The slow start) affected him, but it didn’t affect how he went about his business. He continued to hustle and never said never.”

With two more home runs, Phillips can become the fourth player in franchise history with at least 20 homers and 20 steals in a season. Five of his homers have come in August.

Phillips said a small change in his mechanics has turned things around.

“It’s a minor adjustment, but it was major for my statistics,” he said. “It was the way I was gripping the bat. I think it was May 25 or 26 that I made that adjustment, and since then I’ve played some pretty good baseball.

“I’m glad the Royals have been patient with me through my struggles.”

Phillips, who is on the Royals’ 40-man roster, is hoping for another call-up in September.

Call-up or not, he already has one date he’s looking forward to this fall. His wedding is Nov. 9 in Austin, Texas. Bill and Brenda Roach already are planning to be there for the ceremony.

“I feel like they’re family, you know,” Phillips said. “They’ll be longtime friends forever.”