Holland ready to be Royals’ new closer
With Broxton headed to Cincinnati, Yost selects right-handed reliever to close out games for KC.By PETE GRATHOFF
The Kansas City Star
Relief pitcher Greg Holland just wants to help the Royals in whatever way he can.
But Jonathan Broxton’s trade Tuesday to Cincinnati left the closer’s role vacant. Is he interested?
“If you’re a relief pitcher, at some point in your career you want that opportunity,” Holland said. “But you can’t dive into that too much. Just go out there and pitch. When the phone rings, be ready to go regardless of the situation.”
Holland, who is 4-3 with a 3.63 ERA and 56 strikeouts in 392/3 innings, better be ready in the ninth inning from now on. Manager Ned Yost picked Holland as the new closer.
It’s quite a turnaround for Holland, who landed on the disabled list because of a rib-cage injury on April 21. His 11.37 ERA at that time was painful, too. But since May 23, Holland has 25 scoreless appearances in 29 games, and in that span, he’s had a 2.10 ERA with 42 strikeouts in 30 innings.
Throw out two dreadful appearances (at the Angels on July 23 and against the Cardinals on June 23) and Holland’s ERA drops to 0.62 in that span.
“It was pretty obvious for me,” Yost said on picking Holland to close. “He’s been really pretty consistent. We feel like his stuff is all the way back to where it was last year when he was really successful and we’ll give him the opportunity to close things out.”
Last year, Holland had a 1.80 ERA and four saves.
Third baseman Mike Moustakas was back in the lineup Tuesday. He sprained his right knee in the first inning Saturday while making a diving stop on a ground ball.
“I was really nervous when he did it. I thought it could be a tearing of his meniscus,” Yost said. “When we found out that wasn’t the case … I figured the chances of him being back Tuesday was very, very good.”
Moustakas is batting .262 with 16 homers and 50 RBIs.
Francoeur sits again
Yost has no timetable for returning right fielder Jeff Francoeur to the lineup. Francoeur is batting .239 with nine homers and 30 RBIs. A year ago, he hit .285 with 20 homers and 87 RBIs.
“We need to get him back (being) productive,” Yost said.
“The reason that we’re where we are at is because we are not getting production out of Jeff, and Hosy (Eric Hosmer) has been struggling.
“Alex (Gordon) has done a great job averagewise and hitting doubles, but we don’t have power production in our lineup outside of Moose and Billy (Butler), and that’s the production we counted on going into this season. We need to find ways to get some of that back.”
Jarrod Dyson started again in center field and Lorenzo Cain shifted from center to right. Yost thought Cain, who suffered a torn hip flexor earlier in the year, could benefit from playing in right every now and then.
“Cain is still a little ginger on his legs,” Yost said, “so we put him in right field on days that Dyson is playing to give his legs a bit of a break.”
Myers’ big day
Class AAA Omaha outfielder Wil Myers was selected by Baseball America as its Prospect Hitter of the Day for Monday after going three for four with two homers and four RBIs in a 7-6 victory at Oklahoma City.
Myers, 21, leads the minors with 32 homers, including 19 in 66 games at Omaha since his promotion from Class AA Northwest Arkansas.
He is seven for 12 with three homers and eight RBIs in his last three games after a five-for-35 skid.
“I had been struggling a little bit this road trip,” Myers told MiLB.com.
“I was just trying to do too much with the trade deadline creeping up, trying to hit the ball out of the park. These last couple of days, I’ve just been trying to stay relaxed. I really had to lock back in and do what I’ve been doing all year.”
• Tuesday: 18,569
• 2012 season (through 48 games): 1,115,874
• 2011 season (through 48 games): 939,624
• Ahead: 176,250
• 2012 average: 23,247
• 2011 average: 19,576