Royals

Royals’ Brad Keller impresses umpire during Sunday’s spring game against Giants

Royals’ Brad Keller sharp despite short rest

Royals starting pitcher Brad Keller pitched 4 2/3 innings and allowed just one run against the San Francisco Giants on March 17, 2019. He'll likely pitch one more spring training outing before the season opener.
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Royals starting pitcher Brad Keller pitched 4 2/3 innings and allowed just one run against the San Francisco Giants on March 17, 2019. He'll likely pitch one more spring training outing before the season opener.

Spring begins this week and, ironically, that’s an indication that spring training is nearing an end.

That means the start of the regular season is right around the corner, of course, and Royals starting pitcher Brad Keller said he is on track to make his first opening-day start.

That showed in his performance in Sunday’s 7-2 loss to the Giants. Keller allowed one run on five hits with three strikeouts in 4 2/3 innings. He was pitching on short rest because the Royals don’t play Monday.

“I feel really good,” Keller said. “Going on short rest this time, I get six days next time. Much needed rest, but I’m ready.”

Of the 14 outs Keller recorded, nine came via ground balls.

“I thought he had a really good breaking ball, thought he had good action, good sink on his fastball and thought he was impressive today,” manager Ned Yost said. “He had tremendous sink, even (home plate umpire) Teddy Barrett said after the game, he goes, ‘Man, that guy’s really got some good stuff.’”

Yost wanted to limit Keller to 60 pitches because he missed a normal day of rest, but Keller told pitching coach Cal Eldred he could have remained in the game if needed.

“I told Cal that I could have stayed out there, but it’s short rest,” Keller said. “There’s no reason to stay out there in spring training.”

Ugly eighth: Right-hander Sam McWilliams, a Rule 5 pick, allowed six runs (four earned) on three hits and two walks while recording just one out in the eighth inning. He also made two errors as the Giants’ broke a 1-1 tie in the inning.

Mad memory: Madison Bumgarner pitched for the Giants and Buster Posey was the catcher. The infield was the same as started Game 7 of the 2014 World Series against the Royals: Brandon Belt at first, Joe Panik at second, Pablo Sandoval at third and Brandon Crawford at shortstop.

Thanks Chris Berman: ESPN’s Chris Berman was in a Giants’ uniform and came out to talk with Bumgarner and the infielders with one out in the third inning. He tipped his cap on the way back to the dugout. After the talk, Bumgarner got catcher Meibrys Viloria on a flyout. Then came three straight singles by Billy Hamilton, Adalberto Mondesi and Whit Merrifield for the Royals’ lone run.

Kennedy’s inning: Ian Kennedy retired all three batters he faced in the seventh inning.

Hill’s day: Left-hander Tim Hill relieved Keller with two outs in the fifth inning and needed just one pitch to retire second baseman Joe Panik, a lefty. Hill also pitched a scoreless sixth, but gave up two hits.

Goodwin’s arm: Royals right fielder Brian Goodwin threw a laser to second base and threw out Brandon Belt on what appeared to be a certain double.

Adam traded: The Royals traded right-hander Jason Adam to the Toronto Blue Jays for cash considerations. Adam is a graduate of Blue Valley Northwest and had a 6.12 ERA in 31 games last year. He made five appearances this spring and allowed two unearned runs.

Up next: The Royals will have Monday off, but they return to action Tuesday when they face the Cubs at 8:05 p.m. at Surprise Stadium. Jakob Junis is scheduled to start in the game, which will be shown on Fox Sports Kansas City and broadcast on KCSP (610 AM).

From covering the World Series to the World Cup, Pete has done a little bit of everything since joining The Star in 1997. He writes about baseball and has a quirky blog that augments The Star’s coverage of area teams.
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