Bannister, Hochevar return to Royals' rotation
Right-handers slated to go back-to-back in Minnesota series
KANSAS CITY -- Brian Bannister and Luke Hochevar are back in the Royals' rotation but, for one time at least, as a tandem.
Bannister will start and Hochevar will follow him to the mound next Tuesday at Minnesota. Both were taken off the disabled list on Friday and reinstated to the active roster.
"If either one of them struggle and don't get their pitch count up, and it looks viable that we could piggyback them again, we will," manager Ned Yost said. "If they both get through fine and get up to the 60-pitch mark, and they could get past four or five innings in their next start, then we'll break 'em up."
If both again pitch in the same game, it'd be on Sept. 13 against Oakland. For now, Bryan Bullington is being pulled out of the five-man rotation to make room and will work in long relief. When both Bannister and Hochevar resume starting, another pitcher will have to come out. Assuming it will not be Zack Greinke, it would be Bruce Chen, Kyle Davies or Sean O'Sullivan.
Hochevar, in his last rehab outing, started Omaha's final game at Rosenblatt Stadium on Thursday with 23,795 fans turning out for a 6-2 victory over Round Rock.
"It reminded me of the College World Series," he said, recalling when he pitched there in 2005 for the University of Tennessee.
Hochevar went three innings and gave up one run -- which he wild-pitched home -- in three innings. He gave up two hits, struck out three and threw 42 pitches, 28 for strikes.
"My tempo and delivery was in sync and I felt back to normal," he said. "I felt like my command was sharp, except for the bounced slider that went for a wild pitch. Other than that, everything was pretty much spot-on."
Hochevar is coming off a right elbow strain and Bannister off rotator cuff tendinitis.
Kendall undergoes successful surgery
KANSAS CITY -- Royals catcher Jason Kendall went through surgery for extensive repairs of his right shoulder on Friday in Los Angeles.
Manager Ned Yost reported the surgery required about 2 hours, 45 minutes and was performed by Dr. Neal ElAttrache, head physician for the Dodgers.
"They had to repair three of the four muscles. Two of them were torn completely off the bone, the other one was torn to the point where they had to repair it," Yost said. "He got through it OK, the doctor felt good about it and it's month-to-month now, not day-to-day."
The range of time that Kendall might miss was expanded from eight to 12 months. Even so, Yost is optimistic that Kendall could be active during Spring Training and possibly resume playing in April.
But, he emphasized, the Royals won't rush him.
"It was an extensive repair," Yost said. "He's a tough guy, but this is something you can't rush."
Kendall, not prone to be patient, will have to be reminded daily to take his time.
"If he does it right, he can come back and reach his goal of playing another five or six years," Yost said. "He's got to be extremely patient and extremely smart about this situation. Hopefully, we won't have to employ a strait-jacket with him."
Meche satisfied with first bullpen stint
KANSAS CITY -- Gil Meche, who made his Royals' bullpen debut on Wednesday, was pumped by his scoreless ninth inning in a 4-3 loss to the Rangers.
"I had a lot of fun, even though we didn't win the game, which is the most important thing. But, for me, getting a chance to pitch for the first time in the bullpen, in a situation where we had to put up a zero, was good for me," Meche said.
Meche attacked the four batters he faced, threw strikes and, giving up one single, finished off the inning in 10 pitches.
"It's a different intensity, man," Meche said. "I find it a lot easier to focus pitch-to-pitch because you know you only have one inning, maybe two, and at that point I pretty much knew I only had one."
He used three of his four pitches and experienced no soreness in his right shoulder afterward. He decided against shoulder surgery, which would have knocked him out of the 2011 season, to try the bullpen.
Before the season ends, Meche might ask manager Ned Yost to bend his plan to avoid pitching him on back-to-back days.
"I might ask to do it just so I know how I react," Meche said. "I'm not going to be good in the bullpen next year, if when I pitch, I can't pitch the next day. I don't want to be that guy, that'd be a waste."
Meche was very happy with his fastball command and his arm speed against the Rangers.
"I wouldn't say I was nervous or anything but I wanted to get that first one out of the way. I knew I had good stuff in Triple-A, but coming up here was a different environment, more intensity, more adrenaline and I wanted to make sure I could go out there and harness that and still stay under control," he said.
"I knew I had a lot of adrenaline and I located the ball better than I had all year, and that was good to see."
His reaction when it was over?
"A huge sigh of relief," he said.
Pitcher Kanekoa Texeira, out with a strained right elbow, is expected to pitch again before the season ends. He did some throwing on Friday afternoon. So did outfielder David DeJesus, also on the disabled list, although he's still not permitted to catch the ball because of surgery on his glove hand. It's doubtful that DeJesus will play again this season. ... Catcher Jason Kendall was placed on the 60-day disabled list to clear space on the 40-man roster for pitcher Luke Hochevar, who came off the 60-day list. ... Omaha's Rosenblatt Stadium farewell included a two-run homer by third baseman Mike Moustakas, giving him eight homers and 24 RBIs in an eight-game streak. ... With Wednesday's 4-3 loss to Texas, the Royals had 71 of their 133 games decided by one or two runs. They were 35-36 in those games.
Dick Kaegel is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.