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03/11/11 10:44 PM ET

Mendoza in the mix for spot in Royals' bullpen

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Right-hander Luis Mendoza has unexpectedly jumped into the mix in the Royals' bullpen.

Mendoza has not allowed a run in seven innings, giving up just one hit with no walks and four strikeouts, and manager Ned Yost has certainly noticed.

"He has gone from totally being off my radar to being right in the middle of it. He came to camp and has changed his delivery. He's more downhill, there's nothing flat about his pitches anymore. He's been very impressive, a very bright spot for me," Yost said.

"Last year, Bruce Chen was that guy -- off the radar, nobody paying any attention to him and, all of a sudden, boom! And Mendoza has been that guy for me this year."

Mendoza, 27, from Mexico City, appeared in four games for the Royals last season and gave up 10 runs in four innings. For Triple-A Omaha, he was 10-9 with a 4.10 ERA in 24 games, primarily as a starter.

"This is a different Mendoza from what we saw last year," Yost said.

Hochevar struggles with command vs. Rockies

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Luke Hochevar worked through the first 3 2/3 innings against Colorado on Friday, and the Royals' right-hander wasn't very pleased.

"Physically, I felt great. Stuff-wise, I thought it was average," Hochevar said. "I didn't feel as sharp as I did in my last outing, especially with my command. I felt like I had a lot of two-ball counts which ran my pitch count up. It's one of those things where I was able to practice battling. That's a good thing about Spring Training: You work on getting your stuff going and then when it isn't there, you work on battling."

This was Hochevar's third outing of the Cactus League season. He gave up two runs including one on Seth Smith's long homer onto the grass berm at Salt River Fields.

He ran up 61 pitches, including 36 strikes, indicating that his command was off.

"That's too many pitches in three innings, absolutely, that's way too many," Hochevar said. "I have to be more aggressive and make more quality pitches early in the count. That way, I'm getting on top of hitters, putting them in my counts instead of me pitching in hitter counts."

Errors add to Moustakas' rough spring

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- It hasn't been a very rousing Spring Training for rookie third baseman Mike Moustakas.

Not only is his average at .250 (5-for-20), but Moustakas made two errors in the 10th inning on Friday to give Colorado a 4-3 victory over the Royals.

After reliever Blake Johnson got two outs in the Rockies' 10th, Moustakas rushed in for Thomas Field's bouncer, but threw the ball high over first baseman Clint Robinson. Chris Nelson followed with a sharp grounder that Moustakas booted, then threw late and wild as the game-ending run scored.

"Those things happen," Yost said. "That's what Spring Training is for, to work those kinks out. He came in really good on the ball and just got under the ball and air-mailed one. And then he tried to rush it on the last ball."

Moustakas does have one home run and six RBIs, however, along with two walks.

Gordon, Aviles go deep against Rockies

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Alex Gordon and Mike Aviles each cracked his first home run of the Cactus League season in Friday's 10-inning, 4-3 loss to the Rockies.

Aviles has been a hot hitter all spring -- his average is .444 (12-for-27) and he also has four doubles and a triple. His homer was a long drive down the left-field line off Rockies starter Jason Hammel.

Gordon, though, has been in more of a slow go, although he's got his average up to .261 (6-for-23) with a recent spurt. His homer came in the seventh inning against right-hander Adam Jorgenson. He also drew his 11th walk of the spring.

"He's really starting to come. You could see the quality of his at-bats starting to get better about five or six days ago," manager Ned Yost said. "It was just a simple timing issue. You've got to get at-bats, and he's refining his timing better and better right now."

Dick Kaegel is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.