Royals reliever Luke Hochevar’s catcher in Omaha says he’s getting stronger

Kansas City Royals pitcher Luke Hochevar
Kansas City Royals pitcher Luke Hochevar The Kansas City Star

Right-handed relief pitcher Luke Hochevar will be ready upon his probable return to the Royals this weekend, said the player with the best knowledge of Hochevar’s stuff during his rehabilitation stint in Class AAA Omaha.

“He’s looked really good,” said catcher Francisco Peña Jr., who was called up by the Royals on Wednesday after Erik Kratz went on the disabled list because of a foot injury. “His fastball command is good, a real good curve ball and cutter. He was getting stronger.”

Hochevar is expected to join the Royals on Friday in Detroit. He’s coming off Tommy John surgery, which forced him to miss the entire 2014 season.

In 10 1/3 innings over nine appearances for the Storm Chasers, Hochevar posted a 7.84 ERA. But he allowed seven runs in 1 2/3 innings during one appearance, a start in which he was instructed to work exclusively on his fastball command. Hitters knew what was coming.

“Those guys were hacking,” Peña said. “But he got stronger every day.”

To reach Blair Kerkhoff, call 816-234-4730 or send email to bkerkhoff@kcstar.com. Follow him on Twitter: @BlairKerkhoff.

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