SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Right-hander Vin Mazzaro didn't hurt himself in his battle with Sean O'Sullivan over the Royals' fifth rotation spot, giving up two runs in five innings in Kansas City's 5-2 loss to Texas on Sunday.
"I thought Mazzaro pitched really well, he really limited the damage in the third and in the fourth, really," manager Ned Yost said. "He mixed his pitches well."
The Rangers bunched four straight hits, including Mitch Moreland's homer, against Mazzaro in the fourth.
"I was just leaving the ball up a little too much, leaving the ball over the plate, trying to be too perfect," Mazzaro said. "I kind of got too relaxed out there."
Mazzaro has a 5.84 ERA and has given up 19 hits and five walks in 12 1/3 innings. O'Sullivan has a 3.24 ERA and has given up nine hits and three walks in 8 1/3 innings.
Mild soreness tempering Kendall's comeback
SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Catcher Jason Kendall's rapid comeback from right shoulder surgery has been slowed a bit.
"He's battling through a little soreness in his shoulder, which is good," Royals manager Ned Yost said Sunday. "It's kind of a step in the process where you go through it and we backed him off yesterday and today. Nothing serious, just part of the rehab process."
Postponed were Kendall's plans to be a designated hitter on Saturday and then catch a few innings on Sunday in Minor League games. The soreness was not unexpected.
"That's part of the plan," Yost said. "They work it till it gets sore, then they back off a little bit."
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Yost said the best-case scenario was to get Kendall back on the Major League roster by April 15, despite the catcher's ambition to be ready by Opening Day.
"As much as he wants it to be on his schedule, the shoulder's going to be on its own schedule," Yost said. "We just go with what it gives us."
Jeffress' fastball, Soria's moxie on display
SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Bullpen candidate Jeremy Jeffress started his inning on Sunday, in the Royals' 5-2 loss to the Rangers, with a walk, a balk and a run-scoring single, but after that he got three quick outs.
"The only negative about Jeffress was the leadoff walk," Royals manager Ned Yost said.
Jeffress' ballyhooed fastball was in high gear.
"I don't know what the speed was. It registered 99 [mph, on the scoreboard] a couple of times, but that's as high as it goes. It looked harder than that," Yost said. "It's just a two-digits reading out there, so don't be fooled when it says 99, it may be more."
Closer Joakim Soria registered four straight strikeouts in his 1 1/3-inning stint, getting three in a row after the first two batters in the seventh got hits and stood on the corners.
"That's the closer in him," Yost said. "You get first and third and, all of sudden, that extra little thing that he's got that makes him so special, kicks in."
Soria was pulled in the eighth after his fourth strikeout, a walk and a single. He made 34 pitches, including 22 strikes.
"We're at that point where we're trying to get him up to 35 pitches, and we did that," Yost said. "It was a good workout for him."
Tejeda a hair-raising sensation in clubhouse
SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Pitcher Robinson Tejeda was the center of attention in the Royals' clubhouse Sunday, when he showed up with a Mohawk haircut.
"It makes my head feel lighter," he joked. "I can feel the fresh air."
Tejeda shuffled through a stack of his old baseball cards to show his various hairstyles over the years -- long, short, shaggy and, even one year with the Rangers, peroxide blond.
"I like to be different," he said.
The new look didn't help him against the Rangers on Sunday, though, when he was touched for three hits and two runs in the ninth inning of 5-2 loss.
Dick Kaegel is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.