SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Right-hander Zach Miner has a substantial big league background -- 157 games with the Detroit Tigers -- and he's trying to make it back with the Royals.
Miner, who'll turn 30 on March 12, last pitched in the Majors in 2009 when he was 7-5 for the Tigers. He missed the 2010 season, undergoing Tommy John surgery on May 28 that year, and worked his way back last season with the Royals' farm clubs at Northwest Arkansas and Omaha.
"The arm's great. It probably took me until the middle of July last year until I started feeling normal," Miner said. "It didn't hurt, which was encouraging, but it wasn't bouncing back between innings and my velocity would fluctuate. Which was frustrating."
But the results got better as he finished up with Omaha and was 2-1 with a 1.59 ERA in 12 relief outings.
"It was amazing how fast it turned the corner at the end of the summer," Miner said.
In his Detroit days, Miner started and relieved and he's not certain what his future might be with the Royals.
"From being in Detroit and never really knowing what I was going to do, I don't even really think about it," he said. "My main focus right now is proving to them and everybody else that I'm healthy. I'm not even focusing on making the team. Obviously, I want to make the team, but I've been around enough to know those are things I can't control."
The Tigers are being touted as favorites to win the American League Central this season.
"My old team has gotten better," he said, "but there were times when I was there we were supposed to win the division and we finished in last place -- 2008, I want to say -- and the Royals finished ahead of us. So I understand that expectations are great, but they don't mean anything. You've got to go out there and perform and win."
Mijares arrives ready to help Royals' 'pen
SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Left-handed reliever Jose Mijares finally arrived in the Royals' camp on Sunday, getting his training started five days late with his new club. He was delayed by problems in obtaining his passport in Venezuela.
"I waited for my passport and the embassy didn't send it to me for 10 days," Mijares said after Sunday's workout.
Manager Ned Yost didn't anticipate that it'd take Mijares long to make up for lost time.
"He threw deep into the winter, where the majority of our pitchers were doing their conditioning and stretch work, he was pitching," Yost said. "He's a bit behind, but he'll be able to catch up real easy."
Signed as a free agent from Minnesota, Mijares pitched in 20 games in the Venezuelan Winter League and had a 4-0 record and 2.80 ERA for Tigres de Aragua. He's projected as a situational lefty, used primarily to face left-handed batters.
Mijares said he'd been working out at home for the last two weeks and felt good during Sunday's practice in which he threw in bullpen.
"We'll have him ready to throw two innings by the end of Spring Training," Yost said. "Will he ever throw two innings? I don't know but at least he's prepared and ready."
Yost said there would be no fine or discipline because, although the Royals' reporting date for pitchers was Feb. 20, the Major League date for players is March 2.
"The last time I checked we were still in February," Yost said. "He had a legitimate reason and there wasn't even a fine or punishment considered or thought about."
Mendoza makes news with Cactus start
SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Luis Mendoza didn't know he was the Royals' starting pitcher in next Sunday's Cactus League opener against the Rangers until a reporter asked him about it.
"That's good, man. I'm glad," Mendoza said with a huge smile. "It's a good feeling to know that."
Manager Ned Yost told reporters about it on Saturday, but not Mendoza.
"We haven't talked to him," Yost said. "I didn't know it was going be earth-shattering news and broadcast all over the BBC."
Well, the British likely weren't interested, but Mendoza certainly was, even though he'll probably pitch just an inning or two. It's an indication that the Royals are taking his bid for the starting rotation quite seriously.
Mendoza, who lives in Hermosillo, Mexico, pitched in winter ball after going 12-5 for Omaha and 2-0 for the Royals. For Yaquis de Obregon in Mexico he was 5-3 with a 3.92 ERA in 12 games.
Oddly enough, Mendoza said that his Mexican winter ball numbers had been pretty good in the past, but until this year he hadn't been able to follow through with similar success during summers in the United States.
"In winter ball I was smoother, I was throwing over the top and when I came here I just changed everything," he said. "Maybe it was the adrenaline because in winter ball, every game is like a championship, and you tried to throw hard and dominate all those guys."
Over the past two seasons, however, Omaha pitching coach Doug Henry pointed Mendoza in the right direction.
"One thing was to be more consistent in my delivery and to change my arm angle, just tried to be on the top," Mendoza said. "The other thing was to pitch inside more, no matter who I was facing. Like when I faced the Detroit Tigers, I pitched inside a lot and had success with my sinker. It was a good change for me."
Mendoza beat the Tigers, 10-2, last Sept. 20 for his first big league victory in more than three years before when he was with the Rangers. He also beat the Chicago White Sox, 2-1, and had a 1.23 ERA for his two big league games. Now he's got a shot at the Royals' rotation and that'll begin on Sunday.
Broxton, Sanchez slated to throw live BP
SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Team Jonathan -- Broxton and Sanchez, the Royals' new pitchers -- is scheduled to throw its first live batting practice sessions of camp on Monday.
Broxton has been held back because he underwent minor elbow surgery last Sept. 19. He's expected to be a setup man for closer Joakim Soria.
"Everything's good," he said. "I've got a BP session [Monday], the first one of those where I'm facing batters."
The former Dodgers closer feels comfortable in the Kansas City clubhouse.
"I love it," Broxton said. "It's a great atmosphere, a lot of young talent here, and if they continue to keep getting better each and every day, we're going to have something special here this year."
Sanchez missed time with the Giants last year with biceps tendinitis in his pitching arm and a severe left ankle sprain. He's considered a lock for the starting rotation.
"Everything's good," Sanchez said, thrusting a thumb up.
"He went through a season-ending ankle injury last year and [he's in] a new organization," manager Ned Yost said. "He's going to be a big key to our pitching staff. We don't have to rush him. He's not in a competitive situation where other guys are, so we've got the luxury of taking our time with him."
Starting candidate Felipe Paulino also is expected to pitch batting practice on Monday after being slowed by hamstring stiffness and missing a session on Saturday.
Dick Kaegel is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.