Aviles building up arm strength
Infielder's recovery from elbow surgery ahead of schedule
PEORIA, Ariz. -- Mike Aviles might not be quite ready for the rocket throw from the shortstop hole but he's getting close.
His recovery from Tommy John elbow surgery last June 8 is ahead of schedule, allowing him to play in 18 Cactus League games. There's certainly nothing wrong with his hitting -- he's at .489 (22-for-45) with five triples and two doubles.
Aviles has played mostly at second base in the games and, in his turns at shortstop, his throws have seemed a bit tentative.
"In the practices, no, but I do see tentativeness in the games but I think that'll dissipate," manager Trey Hillman said.
Aviles has made one long throw from shortstop in a game and got his man but on the bounce.
"I don't have that zip, that bite but that's part of the whole process and it's going to come," he said. "We're not quite nine months. If we were at 12 months and that was the case then, yeah, I'd be a little more concerned."
Aviles likely will start the season in the Minors as he builds up his arm, although Hillman said that's yet to be determined. Meantime, Aviles is pleased with his progress.
"It's coming along pretty good," Aviles said. "It's one of those things where one day it's great and one day it's bad. But the best part of that is it's slowly progressing up."
When Aviles is ready, the Royals envision getting back the same guy who was their 2008 Player of the Year. Both the club and Aviles don't want to rush things.
"I know if I mess myself up throwing-wise, it's going to harm me hitting-wise so I've got to keep everything moving in forward motion," he said. "I don't want to take any steps backward. I've come a long way."
Meche to pitch in Minors game Thursday
PEORIA, Ariz. -- It's likely that right-hander Gil Meche will have two more throwing sessions in Arizona before he's ready to step into the Royals' starting rotation.
Meche is scheduled to pitch in a Minor League game on Thursday and he might do so again next Tuesday.
"Yeah, I think so because I think we need to get him up higher than four or five innings and 70 pitches," manager Trey Hillman said. "I think we all need to feel better about it."
That would eliminate him from the season's second game against the Detroit Tigers next Wednesday night.
"I would hesitate to put him in the No. 2 spot with only four or five ups-and-downs," Hillman said.
That means that after Zack Greinke pitches on Opening Day on Monday, Luke Hochevar would face the Tigers on Wednesday night and Brian Bannister on Thursday afternoon.
That likely would put Kyle Davies against the Boston Red Sox on Friday night, followed by Greinke on Saturday night and, if all goes well, Meche on Sunday afternoon.
Meantime, Hillman has informed veteran left-hander Bruce Chen that he'd start the season with Triple-A Omaha.
Davies confirmed as KC's fifth starter
PEORIA, Ariz. -- Kyle Davies has retained his place in the Royals' rotation and now he's determined to do what he can to keep it.
Manager Trey Hillman confirmed on Wednesday that Davies would be the Royals' fifth starter.
After holding Cleveland to two runs in 5 1/3 innings on Tuesday night, Davies said he's concentrating on, well, not thinking too much.
"I kind of took a step back and been out there just pretty much not thinking about a thing and pitching," he said.
It's the old rear-back-and-throw technique which seems to help Davies keep command of his fastball, which has been a problem in the past.
"I don't deserve to be in the big leagues if I don't correct the stuff that has happened in the past four or five years -- the inconsistency and all that stuff. At 26 years old and 100 Major League starts, you should be able to figure that stuff out," Davies said.
Davies began Spring Training with three rocky outings but smoothed things out the last three times he pitched, including a Minor League game.
"I'm resigned to the fact he's got really good stuff and I'm hoping it plays out more often than it doesn't, as far as being able to control the damage," Hillman said.
Crown points: Scott Thorman's two home runs and 3-for-5 day on Wednesday left him with a .346 average and the Royals with another roster option. "He had a great day and he's had a great camp," manager Trey Hillman said. Thorman, 28, is a non-roster corner infielder and outfielder who was ticketed for the Triple-A Omaha roster. But injuries at third base have the Royals taking a longer look at him. Alex Gordon has a broken thumb and replacement Alberto Callaspo is iffy with an irritation in his right side. And now Josh Fields, also in the third-base picture, has missed the last four games with a sore hip ... Rick Ankiel came through his return to center field on Tuesday night with his right ankle is good shape. "If I didn't know about the irritation in the ankle, I would never know by the way he's moving since he's gotten back to us," Hillman said. Ankiel and Willie Bloomquist stayed in Surprise on Wednesday to get some at-bats in a Minor League game ... Second baseman Chris Getz is getting over his illness and was in the lineup on Wednesday against the Padres and went 1-for-2. Bloomquist, also bitten by the flu bug, was feeling better as well ... Outfielder Brian Anderson, also ill lately, was scratched from Wednesday's lineup and stayed behind in Surprise ... The Royals released left-hander Nelson Payano and right-hander Francisco Rosario. They were in the Minor League camp after beginning Spring Training as non-roster invitees with the Major League club.
Dick Kaegel is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.