Kansas City Royals

Royals manager Ned Yost tight-lipped on any potential rotation changes

The Royals have listed their Wednesday starter for this coming week’s series against the Chicago White Sox as “TBA” as in to be announced, and manager Ned Yost wasn’t about to make any announcement prior to Sunday’s series finale against the New York Yankees at Kauffman Stadium.

“I know what my options are, but I’m not ready to discuss them,” Yost said Sunday morning.

Yost later reiterated that he wasn’t going to talk about the starting rotation. The rotation certainly is a topic at the forefront for the club after a pair of doubleheaders against the St. Louis Cardinals (Wednesday) and the Yankees (Saturday).

On top of the two doubleheaders, multiple members of the starting rotation have had up and down results lately as well as earned-run averages above 5.50.

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Veteran right-hander Homer Bailey, Monday’s scheduled starter, has posted a 4-5 record and a 6.13 ERA. Jakob Junis (3-5, 5.58) didn’t factor into the decision on Saturday, but posted a quality start in the first game of the doubleheader. Jorge Lopez (0-6, 6.79) didn’t make it through the second inning in Saturday night’s game.

Meanwhile, reliever Glenn Sparkman has shown enough potential to at least be an intriguing option. He pitched very well in a spot start against Tampa during a doubleheader early in May that included seven scoreless innings with just three hits, one walk and six strikeouts.

Sparkman kept the Royals in Saturday night’s game after coming on in relief of Lopez, but both Yost and Sparkman said after the game that Sparkman had his struggles despite allowing just one run in 3 1/3 innings.

Yost said he wanted more length out of Sparkman in that situation, and he needed Sparkman to be more efficient. In the past, Yost has alluded to Sparkman having too good a quality of stuff to have such high pitch counts in order to get through outings.

“I did not have my command at all,” Sparkman said. “I was fighting mechanics the three innings pretty much. I was trying to get in some type of a groove. I just kept battling, going at guys and working with what I had tonight.”

With both Lopez and Junis having pitched on Saturday, Wednesday’s start would be short rest for either of them.

The Royals sent Heath Fillmyer back to Triple-A last week. Fillmyer had been called up as an additional bullpen arm, but he was sent down in order to start. His last start came on Wednesday for Omaha.

Left-handed reliever Brian Flynn recently returned to the major-league club after having been on the injured list. He’s served as the long man out of the bullpen previously, but he’d been stretched out as a starter during his rehab stint in the minors.

Storen sighting: Right-handed reliever Drew Storen made his first appearance in the minors for the Royals on Friday night. Storen, who signed a minor-league contract during spring training, is coming back from Tommy John surgery. He spent last season rehabbing.

He allowed two earned runs on a hit and a walk in one inning at Double-A Northwest Arkansas in his first appearance in more than a year.

Sunday’s lineup

1. Nicky Lopez, 2b

2. Whit Merrifield, rf

3. Adalberto Mondesi, ss

4. Alex Gordon, lf

5. Hunter Dozier, 3b

6. Jorge Soler, dh

7. Ryan O’Hearn, 1b

8. Martin Maldonado, c

9. Billy Hamilton, cf

Starting pitcher: Danny Duffy (lh, 3-1, 3.45)

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Lynn Worthy covers the Kansas City Royals and Major League Baseball for The Star. A native of the Northeast, he’s covered high school, collegiate and professional sports for The Lowell Sun, Binghamton Press & Sun-Bulletin, Allentown Morning Call and The Salt Lake Tribune. He’s won awards for sports features and sports columns.
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