05/03/2004 8:04 PM ET
Notes: Leskanic rejoins club
Reliever to take a few days off to let shoulder heal
By Dick Kaegel / MLB.com
TORONTO -- Pitcher Curtis Leskanic rejoined the Royals on Monday night after a trip to Kansas City to treat his ailing right shoulder.
|Curtis Leskanic has not allowed a run in six innings since May 10. (Ed Zurga/AP)
"I'll have a couple days off to let the medicine get in my body and start throwing again," he said.
Leskanic was hit hard in his last two outings and conceded that the shoulder pain wasn't letting him throw pitches low in the strike zone, where he's most effective.
The pain, he said, was causing him to change his arm slot and alter his mechanics. In his last two games, Leskanic gave up eight runs and three homers.
The shoulder now?
"It's still sore," he said.
After the Yankees drilled him for five runs and Ruben Sierra blasted a grand slam on Saturday, Leskanic flew to KC from New York to see team physician Steve Joyce.
"You can't do it at 80 percent," Leskanic said.
So far there are no plans to put Leskanic on the disabled list.
"Not at this point," general manager Allard Baird said.
Leskanic wants to keep pitching.
"In the words of the great Jimmy Valvano, 'Don't give up. Never give up,' " Leskanic said.
Cerda perfect: It didn't take long for left-hander Jaime Cerda to make an impact after being recalled Monday from Triple-A Omaha.
Called into a tight situation in the 10th inning against the Blue Jays, Cerda induced Carlos Delgado to roll into a double play to save a 3-2 victory for the Royals.
It was Cerda's first Major League save and someone gave him the ball used for the double play. But Cerda merely gave it to a youngster in the stands.
"I keep thinking there'll be more of them down the line," Cerda said.
However, manager Tony Pena gave Cerda the dugout lineup card from the game as a keepsake.
Cerda replaced right-hander Eduardo Villacis, who was optioned back to Double-A Wichita after losing his Major League debut to the New York Yankees.
Villacis gave up five runs in 3 1/3 innings Saturday, making a start because left-hander Darrell May was scratched with a muscle strain in his left leg. May will resume pitching Tuesday night in Toronto.
Cerda was with the Royals in April and was 0-1 with a 5.06 ERA in four games. For Omaha, Cerda appeared in four games, recorded no decisions and a 3.00 ERA.
Lineup shakeup: After four straight losses, manager Tony Pena shook up the Royals' lineup.
For the first time, he used Carlos Beltran in the third spot, after batting his center fielder second all season.
Pena used Aaron Guiel as the leadoff batter, followed by Joe Randa.
"Joe is a really good No. 2-hole hitter," Pena said. "He hits the ball to right field better than anybody."
Mike Sweeney moved from third to the cleanup spot, normally occupied by Juan Gonzalez. Juan-Gone was dropped to sixth.
Extra bases: The Royals have already used 32 players this season, 16 position players and 16 pitchers. They used a club-record 53 players last year. ... The Royals were just 1-5 against the Blue Jays last season. SkyDome was the site of their biggest blown lead of 2003. They led 8-1 after six innings but lost, 10-9, giving up six runs in the ninth. The Blue Jays also inflicted the most lopsided loss in the history of the series on the Royals, winning 18-1 on May 16.
Dick Kaegel is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.