Royals notebook | Bannister says shoulder fatigue has gotten worse

OAKLAND, Calif. | Brian Bannister wants to remain optimistic about taking his next scheduled turn in the Royals’ rotation, but he sure sounds like a guy in need of a break.

Bannister admitted Wednesday to growing shoulder fatigue after lasting just 1 1/3 innings in a 10-4 loss to Oakland that stretched his personal winless streak to six starts.

“It’s soreness in my back and shoulder,” he said. “I’ve just been fighting through it. It’s not a sharp pain, so I don’t think it’s anything serious. But it’s really hard to go out there when I know I don’t have my best stuff.”

Bannister said the problem surfaced after he pitched seven scoreless innings Aug. 2 in a 4-1 victory at Tampa Bay.

“It’s progressively gotten worse,” he said. “It’s affected my stuff over the last month. I’ve still been able to give this team innings, but today it really affected my ability to get the ball down in the strike zone.”

Bannister labored through a 28-pitch first inning while allowing three runs in Wednesday’s loss. He started the second inning by retiring Cliff Pennington on a pop but knew it was futile to continue.

“I’ve given up over a run an inning over the last month,” he said, “and it’s not fair to my teammates or fair to the fans to go out there and have performances like that.”

Bannister was 7-7 with a 3.59 ERA after his victory over the Rays. He is 0-5 while allowing 32 earned runs and 49 hits in 31 innings over his last six starts.

“In my eight professional seasons,” he said, “I’ve never missed a start because of my arm. I take pride in that, but I also know when it’s not fair to everyone else to go out there and pitch that way.

“I’m optimistic, but I don’t know what’s going to happen. I’m going to continue to prepare as if I’m going to pitch my next (scheduled) start.”

Guillen just sore

José Guillen blamed a tightly wrapped brace on his right knee for causing the soreness in his hamstring tendon that prompted his departure after two at-bats.

“It’s not a big thing,” he said. “The brace was tight. When you tie it up that hard, that can happen.”

Guillen missed 37 games because of a sprained right knee before rejoining the active roster before Tuesday’s game. He struck out Tuesday as a pinch-hitter before returning Wednesday to the starting lineup for the first time since July 22.

The A’s led 10-3 when Guillen left the game for a pinch-hitter in the fifth inning.

“He felt a little shark in (his hamstring) on a couple of swings when he turned,” interim manager John Gibbons said. “There’s no reason to take a chance there either.”

Guillen said he expects to be available Friday when the Royals open a four-game weekend series against the Angels at Kauffman Stadium.

Still absent

Manager Trey Hillman missed his third straight game while on leave following the death of his father-in-law, Tom Tigner, of cancer-related causes.

Tigner’s funeral is Thursday in Angleton, Texas.

Hillman is expected to rejoin the club Friday when it opens a four-game series against the Los Angeles Angels at Kauffman Stadium.

“I’m ready to give it back to him,” Gibbons said. “It’ll be good to see him when he comes back Friday.”

Minor details

Third baseman Alex Gordon, playing again as the designated hitter, went one for four Tuesday night with a two-run homer in Class AAA Omaha’s 7-3 victory over Iowa.

Gordon is two for eight in two games as the DH after missing two games because of a sore right shoulder. He is batting .256 overall in 11 games since his demotion, with 10 hits in 39 at-bats, but has nine walks for a .408 on-base percentage.

The homer was his first since joining the O-Royals. He has three RBIs in the 11 games.

Gordon must be recalled by Saturday in order to remain on track for free-agent eligibility following the 2012 season. If not, he won’t be eligible, at the earliest, until after 2013. Omaha’s season runs through Monday.

Looking back

It was 32 years ago Wednesday — Sept. 2, 1977 — that Paul Splittorff pitched the last of his three career one-hitters in a 3-0 victory over the Milwaukee Brewers at then-Royals Stadium.

There have been 19 complete-game one-hitters in franchise history. The most recent was by Zack Greinke in last Sunday’s 3-0 victory at Seattle. Kevin Appier, with two, is the only pitcher other than Splittorff with more than one.

The complete list: Splittorff (1971, 1975, 1977), Appier (1990, 1993), Bill Butler (1969), Wally Bunker (1969), Dick Drago (1971), Roger Nelson (1972), Andy Hassler (1977), Rich Gale (1978), Larry Gura (1980), Vida Blue (1982), Charlie Leibrandt (1987), Hipolito Pichardo (1992), Dennis Rasmussen (1992), David Cone (1994), Mark Gubicza (1995) and Greinke (2009).


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