Royals’ Jeremy Guthrie has fond memories of Baltimore

As rain began to pelt Camden Yards on Friday night, Jeremy Guthrie played catch in shallow left field. A few of his Royals teammates completed a set of sprints nearby.

While the grounds crew placed a tarp over the diamond, Guthrie was one of the last players to exit the field.

Guthrie resuscitated his career during five seasons in Baltimore. He joined the Orioles as a waiver claim before the 2007 season. He worked his way into their starting rotation, and eventually started on opening day here.

“In Baltimore, I learned how to pitch in the major leagues,” Guthrie said earlier this week. “I was broken in there. I really have fond memories of my time in Baltimore, the teammates, coaches, the city and the fans.”

Guthrie, 2-1 with a 4.68 ERA, will start on Saturday evening against his former club. The appearance bookends a sort of homecoming trip for Guthrie. On Monday he faced the Cleveland Indians, the team that designated him for assignment after the 2006 season.

Cleveland selected Guthrie in the first round of the 2002 draft. While pitching in their system, he explained this week, he battled issues with command and control.

“I got off to a tough start,” Guthrie said. “And after that, it was very difficult to change the perception of some of the limitations that I had as a minor-league pitcher here.

“When I got to Baltimore, it was a fresh start, with a fresh set of eyes. It’s almost as though — obviously I was given a new chance — but looked at differently, without the limitations from the past skewing what they saw.”

Cain making progress

Center fielder Lorenzo Cain (hamstring strain) took batting practice on the field on Friday and “did some agility stuff,” manager Ned Yost said.

The Royals are still unsure whether Cain can return once his stint on the 15-day disabled list ends next week.

“Felt it a little bit,” Yost said. “But about 60-percent better.”

Bueno to throw BP

Lefty reliever Francisley Bueno (bruised left pinky) threw a bullpen session without discomfort on Friday afternoon.

He is slated to throw live batting practice when the team returns to Kauffman Stadium on Tuesday.

Bueno is “symptom-free,” pitching coach Dave Eiland said, but needs to re-acclimate to pitching against live competition. Bueno is bound for a minor-league rehabilitation assignment before he can rejoin the team.

Rusty not ready

Mike Jirschele remains the team’s interim first-base coach as Rusty Kuntz recuperates from surgery to repair his broken arm.

Kuntz is with the team, and will continue to help from the dugout. But he is not yet ready to resume his on-field duties.

“Rusty’s on all that pain medicine,” Yost said. “That pain medicine makes you a little loopy.”