Right-hander Jake Odorizzi sees a benefit to a weeklong wait for his major-league debut Sunday following his promotion from Class AAA Omaha.
By BOB DUTTON
The Kansas City Star
“I think it was good to come up here and get adjusted to things,” he said. “I got to see everybody throw, and now it’s my turn. I got to see the (Indians in two games), and I think I’m ready to go.”
Odorizzi, 22, is generally viewed as the organization’s top pitching prospect after going a combined 15-5 with a 3.03 ERA in 26 games at Omaha and Class AA Northwest Arkansas.
The Royals promoted Odorizzi after Omaha completed its season in part because he required protection this winter to avoid eligibility for the Rule 5 Draft, i.e., he would need to be added to the 40-man roster prior to the November deadline.
Doing so permitted the opportunity for Odorizzi to get one or two starts in the season’s closing days. In contrast, outfielder Wil Myers, the consensus minor-league player of the year, was not promoted largely because he does not yet require protection from the draft.
“What I want him to do,” manager Ned Yost said of Odorizzi, “is go out and get his feet wet. I want to get him some experience so that next year, coming in, he knows a little bit about what to expect when you start a big-league game.”
Odorizzi hasn’t pitched since a rocky outing Sept. 11 against Reno in the first game of the Pacific Coast League championship series. He figures to benefit by being teamed with catcher Adam Moore, who was also promoted last Sunday from Omaha.
“That definitely helps,” Odorizzi said. “I pitched to him pretty much every time after he got there (in early July). I think it’s going to be a good thing. We should be on the same page. He knows what I’ve got, and I know what he’s usually thinking.”
Yost sought to minimize expectations surrounding Odorizzi’s debut.
“This is not make-or-break that he’s going to be on our team next year if he has a great start,” he said. “I’m looking for him to just go out and compete. Hopefully, he can get us through five or six or even into the seventh inning with a lead.
“But making your first major-league start, there’s a lot of variables. You want to just get it out of the way.”
Dyson: ‘Good enough’
Jarrod Dyson made his second straight start Saturday in center field but admits he isn’t completely recovered from a strained lat muscle in his back. The ailment limits his ability to throw with normal strength.
“I’m good enough to go out there and play with it,” he said. “I guess it serves a need. So I’ll go out there and do what I’ve got to do. What I’ve got to do is be smart.”
What that likely means is Dyson won’t be cutting loose on any throws. The Royals, on Friday, appeared to extend their cutoff men in an effort to compensate for Dyson’s limited throwing ability.
• Left fielder Alex Gordon returned to the starting lineup after missing the first seven innings of Friday’s game because of a swollen right hand. He entered Friday’s game as a defensive replacement but did not bat. He suffered the injury Thursday on a slide at the plate in a 4-3 victory over the White Sox.
• Catcher Brayan Peña started for the second straight game because Salvy Perez continues to nurse two bruised hands. Moore is expected to start Sunday afternoon’s series finale, but Perez should return Monday night at Detroit.
Lot of losing
The Indians entered Saturday’s game with just 12 victories in their last 52 games.
Some perspective: When the Royals lost 19 straight games in 2005 (en route to a franchise-worst 56-106 record), they never lost 40 times in a 52-game span.
Wood on mend
Reliever Blake Wood said he remains on pace, in his recovery from reconstructive elbow surgery, to begin light throwing activities on Oct. 12.
That represents a quicker recovery than the usual six-month gap following the procedure, which is commonly known as Tommy John surgery. Wood underwent surgery on May 25 by Dr. Lewis Yocum in Los Angeles.
Wood, 27, suffered the injury on March 17 while pitching against the Padres in Peoria, Ariz. He was 6-6 with a 4.30 ERA in 106 relief appearances in 2010-11.
Left-handed pitcher Danny Duffy, who is also recovering from Tommy John surgery, will lead a contingent of club personnel Monday on visit to Joplin, Mo., as part of the Royals’ ongoing support for the city’s recovery from a May 22, 2011, tornado.
Former Royals John Mayberry, Willie Aikens, Brian McRae, Greg Pryor and Shawn Sedlacek are also scheduled to join Habitat for Humanity volunteers in working on five homes in the “Royals neighborhood.”
The Royals open their 23-game Instructional League schedule Monday against Seattle in Peoria, Ariz. Instructional League workouts began last Monday for 86 players at the club’s year-round complex in Surprise, Ariz.
The Instructional League schedule runs through Oct. 19.
It was 32 years ago Sunday — Sept. 23, 1980 — that Willie Wilson went three for four in a 7-3 loss at Seattle. That boosted Wilson’s season total to 216 hits, which broke the club record of 215 by George Brett in 1976.
Wilson finished the season with 230 hits, which remains the franchise record.