Right-hander Luis Mendoza is now tentatively slotted to start Friday for the Royals after recovering sufficiently from strep throat to throw a light workout Wednesday afternoon at Kauffman Stadium before returning home for further rest.
By BOB DUTTON
The Kansas City Star
He looked better and sounded better, manager Ned Yost said. He threw a light side (session). He went out and played catch. We wanted to keep his arm going, but we sent him back home to conserve his energy.
If Mendoza pitches Fridays series opener against Cleveland, that puts rookie right-hander Jake Odorizzi on track to make his major-league debut in Sundays homestand finale against the Indians. Lefty Will Smith would start Saturdays game.
The Royals realigned their rotation after Mendoza, who had been scheduled to start Wednesday against Chicago, was diagnosed Tuesday with strep throat. That left it uncertain when Odorizzi, promoted last Sunday, would make his major-league debut.
Veterans Bruce Chen and Jeremy Guthrie each moved forward one day although last Mondays open date permitted both to do so and remain on their standard five-day cycle. Chen started Wednesday; Guthrie will start tonight.
All plans following tonights game depend on Mendozas recovery.
Interest is keen in Odorizzi, who is generally viewed as the organizations top pitching prospect after going 15-5 with a 3.03 ERA in 26 games at Class AAA Omaha and Class AA Northwest Arkansas.
Its his first major-league start, Yost cautioned. You let him throw it and see what it is. You cant put too much expectation on it.
Even so, Yost said Odorizzi, 22, could get a second start prior to the end of the season.
Well see what happens, Yost said. Wed go to six (starters). With that last off-day (next Monday in Detroit) now being a game day (because of a rescheduled rainout), theres no break from here on out.
So it would be like having a break if we decide to go that route. We havent decided yet, but thats what I would do if we go that route. Im not shutting anybody down.
If the Royals opt for a six-man rotation to include Odorizzi, his slotted second turn would be a week from Saturday in Cleveland.
41 and counting
Mike Moustakas, who leads all third basemen with 429 total chances, is now on a 41-game errorless streak. His last error occurred 131 chances ago on Aug. 1 in the second inning against the Indians at Kauffman Stadium.
Moustakas also leads all third basemen with 301 assists and 117 put-outs and leads all American League third basemen with a .974 fielding percentage. His involvement in 39 double plays is a club record and also the most by a third baseman in either league.
The Royals bullpen remains on a club-record strikeout rate at 8.72 per nine innings after getting three in 2 1/3 innings in Wednesdays victory. The current club record, set last year, is 8.13.
Leading the K-charge are closer Greg Holland, at 12.4 strikeouts per nine innings; lefty Tim Collins, at 12.1; and right-hander Louis Coleman at 10.8.
Collins leads the bullpen with 91 strikeouts (in 67 2/3 innings), followed by Holland at 86 (in 62 1/3 innings).
Right-hander Kyle Smith was identified by Baseball America as the Royals prospect to keep an eye on after going 5-3 with a 2.86 ERA in 14 starts at short-season Idaho Falls and Class A Kane County.
Smith, 20, was the clubs fourth-round pick in 2011 but signed late and didnt make his pro debut until June 19, when he struck out 11 while pitching five scoreless innings in his only start at Idaho Falls. He was promoted immediately thereafter to Kane County.
The magazines two other selections, best player and best pitcher, were outfielder Wil Myers and Odorizzi, who were teammates at Class AAA Omaha and Class AA Northwest Arkansas.
New affiliate needed
The Royals are now officially looking for a new low Class A affiliate after Kane County of the Midwest League announced on its website that it is now affiliated with the Chicago Cubs.
The likelihood of Kane Countys switch to the Cubs leaked out about a month ago. The Cougars are located in Geneva, Ill., which is located only about 35 miles from Chicago.
The Royals switched two years ago to Kane County after a 10-year affiliation with Burlington (Iowa) of the Midwest League. The Royals previously indicated a preference to have their low Class A affiliate located in the South Atlantic League.
It was five years ago today Sept. 20, 2007 that the Royals posted the 3,000th victory in franchise history by beating the Chicago White Sox 3-0 at Kauffman Stadium.
Zack Greinke yielded two hits while working the first eight innings before Joakim Soria pitched a one-two-three ninth. Greinke also struck out 10 then a career high and walked none.
The Royals entered Wednesdays home game against the White Sox with a 3,347-3,627 record in their 44-year history.
• Alcides Escobars single in the first inning was his 165th hit of the season, which established a club record for a shortstop. Angel Berroa had 164 in 2005.
• Escobar also got his 30th steal when he swiped second base in the fifth. He is the third shortstop in club history to reach that milestone. Fred Patek did it five times; U.L. Washington did it once.
• Alex Gordons 49 doubles are the third-highest total in franchise history. Hal McRae had 54 in 1977, and Billy Butler had 51 in 2009.
• The Royals hold an 11-6 edge in the season series, which concludes tonight.
• Greg Holland has six of his 14 saves against the White Sox. That matches the Royals record for saves in one season against Chicago. Joakim Soria has six in 2009.
• Butler had an RBI on a sacrifice fly, but his hitting streak ended at 10 games when he went zero for three.