NEW YORK — Veteran lefty Bruce Chen is already running Clevelands projected lineup through his head as he prepares for his return Friday to the Royals rotation.
By BOB DUTTON
The Kansas City Star
Thats part of the game I missed, he admitted. When youre in the bullpen, you cant put that much stuff in your head. You just want to know the basics, and then be ready to go attack them.
You know youre only going to face these guys once or twice. But now, I want to be ready to face them at least three times. So you need to know what other pitches you need against certain hitters.
Manager Ned Yost announced Monday that Chen, after serving all season as the bullpens long reliever, will replace struggling Luis Mendoza in the rotation.
Yost cited a rested Chen just 33 2/3 innings so far as a potential benefit in coming weeks.
Bruce is completely fresh, Yost said, and, now, hopefully he stays completely strong in the second half.
Chen agrees up to a point.
I feel good, he said. Obviously, I dont have the innings that the other starters have. I do feel good. I see some of my teammates, and theyre achy from the wear and tear of the season.
Its been hard for them because I feel the starters have not had a break. But Im feeling good. Its not that Im rested, but I dont have 110 innings. I feel I can help this team.
Its not as if Chen seemed to wear down in previous seasons. He is a combined 18-11 with a 3.71 ERA in 36 post-Aug. 1 starts over the previous three years.
Usually, toward the end of the season, he said, I have my best games. I dont know if thats because I throw so much that my command gets better. I dont know why. I just feel better.
Lough on tour
Monday was David Loughs first game at Yankee Stadium and, after getting two hits in the Royals 5-1 victory, initially shrugged off the idea that the place possesses any special aura.
I really didnt get the jitters or anything like that, he said. Its just another park. You just go play every day. You cant let that stuff get to you.
Lough then paused before adding sheepishly.
But look at me, he said. Im going to Monument Park to check it out. So, obviously, its something that I think about.
The Royals season-long offensive struggles have been well-documented. They entered Tuesdays game averaging 4.07 runs per game, which ranked 11th among the 15 American League clubs.
But this stat from Bill Chuck of BaseballAnalytics.org might surprise you: The Royals been held to fewer than two runs on just 13 occasions.
That just is justified because only four AL clubs are better: Baltimore (seven), Boston and Detroit (10) and Texas (12).
The Yankees, for comparison purposes, have failed to score more than two runs on 17 occasions. Only Houston, at 18, is worse among AL clubs.
Wednesday is a big day for birthdays in the Royals family, starting with former DH and manager Hal McRae, a 1989 inductee into their Hall of Fame. He turns 59.
Also marking the occasion: second baseman Johnny Giavotella (26), left-hander Will Smith (24) and left-handed prospect John Lamb (23).
Add right-hander Bryan Brickhouse to the Royals list of Tommy John victims. He recently underwent the procedure, which replaces an elbow ligament.
Brickhouse, 21, was the clubs third-round pick in the 2011 draft and entered the season ranked by Baseball America as the organizations No. 17 prospect.
That ranking was based largely on potential, but Brickhouse showed signs this season of blossoming. He was 4-4 with a 2.25 ERA in 11 starts at Lo-A Lexington when his elbow blew out.
The recovery period for Tommy John surgery is typically about one year. Danny Duffy and Felipe Paulino are currently working their way back from the procedure.
The Royals released three minor-league players: right-hander Edwin Carl (from Class AA Northwest Arkansas) and catcher Josiah Atkins and right-hander Jesu Ortiz (Rookie Surprise). Carl, 24, had 237 strikeouts in 203 innings in 92 career appearances, but he also had 5.60 ERA this year in 25 games at Northwest Arkansas.
It was 23 years ago Wednesday July 10, 1990 that Bret Saberhagen was the winning pitcher in the American Leagues 2-0 victory over the National League in the All-Star Game at Wrigley Field in Chicago.
Saberhagen worked two innings the fifth and sixth and became the pitcher of record when Julio Franco (then with the Rangers) drove in the games only runs with a double in the seventh inning.
To reach Bob Dutton, send email to firstname.lastname@example.org . Follow his updates at twitter.com/Royals_Report.