Pitcher John Lamb can’t survive first inning as Royals lose 7-6 to Brewers

03/08/2014 5:39 PM

03/09/2014 3:09 PM

During the first few weeks of camp, John Lamb emerged as one of the Royals’ reasons for optimism. After a miserable season in 2013, his first full season back from Tommy John surgery, he looked revitalized early on. The team clocked his fastball velocity in the lower 90s during his last outing.

The Royals offered him a chance to start on Saturday. Lamb responded with a distressing effort in a 7-6 loss to the Milwaukee Brewers. He allowed four runs and could not finish the first inning. His pacing was scrambled and his pitches ineffective. One scout clocked his velocity at 86-89 mph.

After the game, Lamb insisted he felt no discomfort with his arm. He blamed faulty mechanics for his trouble.

“It felt good,” Lamb said. “There’s nothing really else that I was dealing with out there. It was just not going where I wanted it to.”

The trouble started early. Lamb served up doubles to the first two batters of the game, then plunked outfielder Carlos Gomez. Aramis Ramirez cleared the bases with a double. Five batters later, with the bases loaded and two outs, manager Ned Yost pulled Lamb.

“Even though it wasn’t a very pretty outing, it was a great experience for him,” Yost said “So it’s good for him.”

The team has not decided on an assignment for Lamb, once rated the No. 18 prospect in the game by Baseball America. The initial hope was he could pitch his way into the Class AAA Omaha rotation. Lamb finished 2013 there after posting a 5.63 ERA in 19 starts with Class A Wilmington.

The Brewers won on a walk-off single by Robinzon Diaz off Franciscley Bueno, who coughed up a two-run lead in his second inning of work.

Arms race

With Luke Hochevar gone for the season, Wade Davis lost his opportunity to make the team’s starting rotation. Manager Ned Yost felt the team needed Davis in the bullpen. So Yordano Ventura and Danny Duffy are the two remaining contenders for the last starting slot.

Medical updates

In his Cactus League debut, Louis Coleman pitched a scoreless inning. He struck out one. Coleman has a good chance to make the club, now that Hochevar is injured, but he missed time early on due to a bruised right middle finger.

Etc.

Saturday marked another opportunity for the Royals to test the new instant replay system. The team has two members of their staff stationed in a television truck watching each play. They communicate with bench coach Don Wakamatsu via walkie-talkie. During the season, they will call a phone line in the dugout.

The Brewers made three challenges on Saturday. They lost all three. Once again, Yost demurred from challenging a play.

Up next

Bruce Chen will start against the Rockies. But more eyes will be concentrated on his replacement on the mound, Danny Duffy, who has struggled with his command this spring. The game is scheduled to start at 3:05 p.m. Central time, and will be broadcast on KCSP (610 AM).

Quote

“I know what I’m doing.” — Ned Yost, on setting his starting rotation.

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