Two pitches in his latest outing, Brandon Finnegan swiveled his head toward center field. A line drive from Cubs catcher Miguel Montero flew into a space left uncovered by Royals defenders. Montero chugged into second base.
One pitch later, Finnegan spun toward center again. This time, Cubs outfielder Junior Lake had deposited a well-struck hit into center. Montero raced home to represent the first of two runs Finnegan allowed during a 4-3 Royals loss on Tuesday at Sloan Park.
When the day began, the Royals hoped Finnegan could last three frames. He only lasted two.
“Finnegan just wasn’t sharp today,” manager Ned Yost said. “Just one of those days. He threw a couple good breaking balls, but fought command with his fastball and his breaking ball most of the day.”
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Yost declined to reveal what Finnegan’s next assignment would be. He had said after three outings, the club could better determine his role
So Kansas City continues to keep quiet about their intentions with Finnegan, the 2014 first-round pick, who could either join the big-league bullpen or develop as a starter in the minors. During the first few weeks of camp, Finnegan has yet to display the mastery of his form he showed off last September and October.
When camp started, Yost stressed that if Finnegan was one of the team’s best 12 or 13 pitchers, he would break camp as a big-leaguer. The ceiling for Finnegan remains elevated, and his talent in apparent in every outing. But the results have been less impressive. His Cactus League ERA sits at 7.20. Franklin Morales, his main competition for a left-handed spot in the bullpen, has thrown six scoreless innings.
The Cubs dinged Finnegan with three hits and two walks. A second run scored in his second inning. It was ruled unearned when Finnegan uncorked a high fastball that ticked off the glove of Erik Kratz. It was ruled a passed ball and a runner advanced.
“I chalk it up to having a bad day,” Yost said. “Not being sharp.”