CHICAGO — Another day, another debut.
By PETE GRATHOFF
The Kansas City Star
Wednesday afternoon, Ervin Santana will make his first regular-season appearance for the Royals since being acquired in a trade with the Angels last Halloween.
Im pretty excited, Santana said. I cant wait.
Santana, who will take the mound for the 1:10 p.m. game against the White Sox, follows James Shields, who made his first regular-season start with the Royals on Monday.
While Santana, 30, had mixed results in spring training (a 4.70 ERA but 21 strikeouts and just four walks in 23 innings), he expects to be locked in on Wednesday.
Spring training is for getting ready, Santana said. Youre just working on stuff you need to work on. When you get into the season, its serious. Everything counts.
Santana, who spent his first eight seasons with the Angels, is unconcerned about pitching in Royals blue for the first time.
Its not different, Santana said. Its still baseball. When I get my turn, Im always going to give it all Ive got.
Santana by the numbers
Santana has a career record of 96-80 with a 4.33 ERA in 236 career outings (233 starts).
Last year, Santana was 9-13 with a 5.16 ERA. In his last 11 starts of the year, he was 5-3 with a 3.76 ERA.
Santana has 15 career appearances against the White Sox, compiling a 5-4 record and a 3.94 ERA. He got his first complete-game shutout against Chicago on May 23, 2005, at Angel Stadium.
For his career, Santana is 3-2 with a 3.02 ERA in seven outings at U.S. Cellular Field.
A year wiser
The only Royals starter to play in his first opening day game Monday was catcher Salvy Perez, who would have started last year but was out because of an injury.
Our kids now, and I keep calling them kids, but I probably will until the day Im not doing this anymore, these guys all have a year and a half under their belt, which is great experience, manager Ned Yost said.
They went through their first full year last year and they went through a lot of ups and they went through a lot of downs. Theyre all learning experiences. They have matured, they have grown, and continue to grow to be very, very solid major-league performers.
White Sox pitcher Chris Sale, who shut down the Royals on Monday, said he expects a tight race in the AL Central.
The Tigers won the division last year, while Chicago was second and the Royals third.
Sale knows the Royals aim to leapfrog the White Sox.
We dont expect any easy games this year at all, Sale said. Nobody is going to come in and roll over for us.
The Royals pitchers took some swings in the batting cage at U.S. Cellular Field before Mondays game.
On Friday, the Royals begin interleague play at Philadelphia. Wade Davis is scheduled to pitch the opener, followed by Luis Mendoza and Shields.
Shields has absolutely feasted on Phillies pitching, as he carries a .600 career average against Philadelphia into the weekend (three for five). One-third of his career RBIs (three) have come against the Phillies. OK, its a small sample size.
• Shortstop Alcides Escobar is batting .360 in 35 career games against the White Sox.
• The Royals bullpen picked up where it left off. The relief corps, which tossed three scoreless innings on Monday, has tossed 10 1/3 consecutive scoreless innings over the last four games, dating to 2012.
To reach Pete Grathoff, call 816-234-4330 or send email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him at twitter.com/pgrathoff