08/20/10 7:28 PM ET
Hochevar eyes strong September finish
By Dick Kaegel / MLB.com
"I'm one of those sheets," pitcher Luke Hochevar said.
Hochevar has been on the disabled list for more than two months with a right elbow sprain. That doesn't imply idle time, however; his days are busy with treatment, rehabilitation and throwing. And, oh yes, taking delivery of a bundle of joy from his wife, Ashley, this week.
"Everything's been going as planned, everything is good. I feel good and strong," Hochevar said. "I threw off the mound the day Laney was born actually; threw 40 pitches and everything felt great. No issues at all."
There'll be live batting practice on Saturday followed by a couple of simulated games. Then he'll be off to pitch in the Minors and back with the Royals in September.
Originally thought to be out for about two starts, Hochevar hasn't pitched since June 11 at Cincinnati.
"With a thing like that, you want to take all the precautions. Missing 11 starts or however many I've missed is a whole lot better than 18 months," he said. "Hopefully I can come back and get a good month and only miss two months of the season. Pitch all September and go into the offseason really strengthening and getting ready for the full season."
Gil Meche, re-gearing for the bullpen, left for Triple-A Omaha on Friday and will pitch in relief against Memphis on Saturday.
Lineup takes into account Chicago's Thornton
KANSAS CITY -- There's no secret about White Sox reliever Matt Thornton's prowess against left-handed batters. The lefty came to town with a .169 (14-for-83) mark against them, including 37 strikeouts.
Royals manager Ned Yost had that in mind when he rippled his batting order a bit, moving left-handed Kila Ka'aihue from the fourth spot to third, ahead of right-handed Billy Butler.
"It's kind of keyed to split up lefties for Thornton out there. He's pretty good against left-handed batters. It's nothing more than not making it easy to bring him in without having a righty in there somewhere," Yost said.
The change gave the Royals a left-right-left-right in the first four spots, switch-hitter Wilson Betemit fifth, followed by left-right-left-right.
There was also a thought that Butler might provide more "protection" behind Ka'aihue.
"That's a bit of it but it's more trying to keep the lefties split up more than anything else," Yost said.
Anderson's mound debut a success
KANSAS CITY -- Brian Anderson, a former outfielder for the White Sox and the Royals, made his Triple-A debut as a pitcher a rousing success on Thursday at Fresno. He pitched two perfect innings in relief in Omaha's 6-5 victory.
"He's definitely throwing Major League stuff," Royals manager Ned Yost said. "He's got his fastball up to 97 miles an hour and his comfort zone is 95."
Yost also said Anderson's slider rates as Major League average quality and his pitch command just a tick below average.
"When he first did it, I wasn't sure it'd work out for him, but he's proven to me that it very well may," Yost said. "Somewhere down the road I imagine he'll get a look. I don't know if it'll be this September, it might be next spring, but he's done enough to warrant that."
On the subject of September callups, Royals general manager Dayton Moore said players at Omaha or Double-A Northwest Arkansas are likely to finish the playoffs with those teams. Omaha is a possibility and Northwest Arkansas is in the postseason.
"You don't want to disrupt what they're doing there," Moore said. "They've earned that opportunity and most players want to see that through, too."
Outfielder Mitch Maier was not in the Royals' lineup on Friday night -- Willie Bloomquist was in right field -- but his aching neck has improved. Maier left Thursday night's game early, feeling the effects of a home-plate collision in the previous game. "Mitch is fine, his neck's still stiff," manager Ned Yost said. "We made a decision last night that I'd play Willie no matter how Mitch came in. But he's feeling better." ... Mike Moustakas hit his second homer in two games for Triple-A Omaha and he now has 28 combined for Omaha and Northwest Arkansas. ... The first 20,000 fans at Saturday night's game against the White Sox will get a Royals jersey cooler. ... Thursday night's 7-3 loss to the Indians was just the third in Royals history to a team that had committed five errors. The other two occasions were against the Tigers, 8-5 on April 16, 1977, and 6-3 on April 17, 1979. Oddly enough, John Hiller was the winning pitcher both times. An opponent had not made five errors against the Royals since -- guess who -- the Tigers on Sept. 26, 2001. But the Royals won that game, 8-6.
Dick Kaegel is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.