Rotation changes appear likely for the RoyalsBy BOB DUTTON
The Kansas City Star
Changes appear imminent in the Royals’ rotation after a disastrous weekend sweep by the St. Louis Cardinals at Kauffman Stadium. Even a dominant outing Monday by Luke Hochevar, in an 8-0 victory over Tampa Bay, doesn’t change that.
First up figures to be lefty Everett Teaford, who is likely to be recalled from Class AAA Omaha in time to start Wednesday afternoon’s series finale against Tampa Bay.
Veteran lefty Doug Davis is also under consideration along with two of the organization’s top prospects: right-hander Jake Odorizzi and lefty Mike Montgomery.
One club official cited the “need to do something” after the Royals saw Vin Mazzaro, Luis Mendoza and Jonathan Sánchez surrender a combined 17 runs in 11 1/3 innings in three losses to the Cardinals.
Manager Ned Yost previously identified Mendoza as a better fit as a long reliever, and Mazzaro was assigned Sunday to the bullpen to serve in a similar role. Yost said Sánchez, for now anyway, will remain in the rotation.
Recalling Teaford will require a corresponding space-clearing move on the 25-man roster. That move probably will be made Wednesday morning.
There is a concern in promoting Teaford and Davis in tandem because both are finesse lefties, and the Royals already have one of those in veteran Bruce Chen, who starts Tuesday against the Rays.
Club officials say Odorizzi and Montgomery remain back-burner options at present, but one or both are viewed as increasingly likely alternatives after the All-Star break.
Teaford, 28, is 4-0 with a 1.09 ERA in seven games at Omaha, including 2-0 while allowing just two runs in 16 innings over four appearances after returning to the Storm Chasers on June 7, initially on a rehab assignment and later on an optional assignment.
Davis, 36, was picked Monday as the Pacific Coast League pitcher of the week after yielding just one run in 12 innings while winning his last two starts at Omaha. He is 3-1 with a 3.08 ERA in seven games since signing a minor-league contract on May 12.
More significantly, perhaps, is Davis has walked just six batters in 26 1/3 innings. Command was often a problem in a 13-year career that saw him go 92-108 with a 4.44 ERA in 306 games for Texas, Toronto, Milwaukee, Arizona and the Chicago Cubs.
Teaford was 0-1 in three games earlier this season for the Royals while allowing seven runs and 11 hits in 11 innings. He went 2-1 with a 3.27 ERA last season in 26 games, including three starts.
Colón to Omaha
Right-handed reliever Roman Colón accepted an outright assignment to Class AAA Omaha by the Royals after clearing waivers. He had the option of refusing the assignment and becoming a free agent.
Colón, 32, permitted six runs and 12 hits in eight innings over three games after arriving June 14 from Omaha. He was designated for assignment on Saturday.
Starling nears debut
Outfielder Bubba Starling, the organization’s first-round pick in 2011, should make his pro debut Tuesday or Wednesday at short-season Burlington (N.C.), according to general manager Dayton Moore.
Starling is recovering from a minor hamstring injury.
A multi-sport standout from Gardner Edgerton High School, Starling turned down a scholarship to play quarterback at Nebraska by agreeing last August to a club-record signing bonus of $7.5 million.
That deal came too late for him to play last season in the minors, and he remained this year in extended spring training before being assigned to Burlington.
Right-hander Kyle Smith, 19, began his pro career last week by achieving a remarkable double honor: He was selected as the pitcher of the week in the short-season Pioneer League and the Class A Midwest League.
Smith made his pro debut last Tuesday by yielding one run and three hits over five innings in Idaho Falls’ 11-4 victory over Orem. He also struck out 11 while walking one.
Promoted to Kane County, Smith pitched six hitless innings on Sunday but settled for a no-decision in a 4-3 victory at Clinton. He struck out six and walked one.
Smith was the Royals’ fourth-round pick in 2011.
Right-hander Sugar Ray Marimon yielded just one run and four hits in six innings Monday while making his Class AA debut in Northwest Arkansas’ 3-2 victory over Arkansas.
Marimon, 23, was positioned for a victory before Ryan Dennick blew a save in the ninth. The Naturals walked off with a victory on Alex McClure’s two-out RBI single in the bottom of the inning.
The Royals promoted Marimon after he went 4-2 with a 2.12 ERA in 14 games, including nine starts at Class A Wilmington. He was also the winning pitcher when the Carolina League All-Stars beat the California League All-Stars.
Center fielder Lorenzo Cain returned to action by going one for three with a homer in Northwest Arkansas’ victory. He is four for 15 through four games of his rehab assignment for a torn left hip flexor.
Cain missed the last few games because of some leg stiffness.
Catcher Manny Piña joined Surprise in the Arizona Rookie League to begin his minor-league rehab assignment. He is recovering for torn cartilage in his right knee, which occurred Feb. 22 in spring training.
Jordan Carlson of Council Grove, Kan., is one of three national finalists in the 11-12-year-old girls division of Major League Baseball’s Pitch, Hit and Run competition.
She will join 12 boys and 11 other girls in four age-group categories in the national finals on July 9 at Kauffman Stadium prior to the All-Star Game Workout Day.
More than 685,000 youths, ages 7 through 14, participated in more than 4,000 competitions across North America to determine the finalists.
It was 38 years ago today – June 26, 1974 – that Paul Splittorff matched a franchise record by pitching 12 innings in a 2-1 victory over the Chicago White Sox at then-Royals Stadium. The game ended on Hal McRae’s RBI single against Goose Gossage.
Splittorff was the third of five pitchers in club history to pitch 12 innings in a game. The last to do so was Steve Busby, who went 12 innings exactly 37 years ago Monday – June 25, 1975 – in a 6-2 victory at California.
But that’s not the record.
Larry Gura worked 13 innings on May 21, 1980, while getting a no-decision in a 4-2 loss to Oakland in 14 innings at Royals Stadium.
The only Royals starter to pitch beyond the ninth since 1981 is Kevin Appier, who went 10 scoreless innings on July 23, 1992, before settling for a no-decision in a 1-0 loss at Cleveland in 14 innings.
The game lasted just 2 hours, 17 minutes. It was the Royals’ quickest nine-inning game of the season.
Luke Hochevar’s complete-game shutout was the first by a Royals pitcher since Bruce Chen did it against the Rays in a 7-0 victory on Oct. 1, 2010 at the K.
Hochevar was 0-4 this year at home prior to Monday’s victory.
Shortstop Alcides Escobar raised his average to .307 by going three for three. He is 22 for 55 (.400) in his last 15 games.
Rays starter Alex Cobb is the first pitcher to work a complete game while giving up at least eight runs since July 5, 1998 when Randy Johnson did so in Seattle’s 8-4 loss at Texas.
Birthday wishes today to catcher/coach Jason Kendall, who turns 38.