SURPRISE, Ariz. | The Royals are adjusting their spring rotation in a manner that puts right-hander Gil Meche on schedule to pitch the season opener on April 6 against the White Sox in Chicago.
Manager Trey Hillman remains mum on his choice for the assignment, but the Royals are giving Meche an extra day of rest after his start Saturday against the Arizona Diamondbacks in Tucson, Ariz.
That would leave Meche with two more spring starts before pitching against the White Sox _ all with the usual allotment of four days of rest.
The Royals are also adding an extra day of rest of Zack Greinke’s spring schedule that positions him to start the season’s second game on April 8 in Chicago.
Meche started the Royals’ last two season openers. He beat Curt Schilling and the Red Sox in 2007 at Kauffman Stadium before getting a no-decision last season when the Royals rallied for a 5-4 victory in 11 innings in Detroit.
The last Royals’ pitcher to start three consecutive openers was Jeff Suppan from 2000-02. Six different pitchers started openers from 2002-07: Suppan, Runelvys Hernandez, Brian Anderson, José Lima, Scott Elarton and Meche.
Thursday marked the third of the four open dates for the Royals in their spring schedule. The only players required to come to camp were those requiring medical treatment or pitchers scheduled to throw as part of their regular routine.
An oddity: The Royals are 0-3 in games preceding an open date while being outscored 23-7. That suggests a rough ride Tuesday against San Diego in Peoria. The club’s final open date is Wednesday.
Perhaps it’s a coincidence, but the Royals are 11-4-3 in games not preceding an open date.
The Royals didn’t put on much of a show Wednesday night in their first televised game of the year _ falling 9-3 to the Mariners at Surprise Stadium. They get another chance Friday when Fox Sports Kansas City carries their home game against the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Friday’s game is also a night game with first pitch coming at 8:05 p.m. Central time. It will also be in high definition. FSKC plan to show 97 of its 140 regular-season telecasts in HD, including the season opener in Chicago.