© 2008 MLB Advanced Media, L.P. All rights reserved.

07/18/08 7:33 PM ET

Nunez looks to join Royals soon

Reliever may come back for home series vs. Tigers

CHICAGO -- Reliever Leo Nunez is expected to return to the Royals on Monday for the home series against the Detroit Tigers.

Nunez passed what apparently was his last Minor League rehabilitation outing on Thursday night by pitching two perfect innings for Double-A Northwest Arkansas.

"[He's] very healthy, [throwing at] 91-to-96 mph, set at a 93-94 comfort zone, took a minimal number of pitches to get through two innings," Royals manager Trey Hillman said.

Nunez has been out since May 28 with a strained right lat muscle. Prior to going on the disabled list, he had developed into an outstanding setup man with a 3-1 record and a 1.71 ERA in 21 games.

Left-hander John Bale also pitched for Northwest Arkansas against the Arkansas club and gave up one run on three hits in two-thirds of an inning. Hillman said that Bale was on a 20-pitch limit and was pulled after 16.

Bale was re-assigned to Triple-A Omaha, where he'll continue to pitch, building up to back-to-back innings within a week. He's been out since April 16, first with left shoulder fatigue and then a fractured hand.

Dick Kaegel is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.