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03/25/12 9:44 PM ET

Hottovy keeps spotless ERA intact

SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Left-hander Tommy Hottovy, a Kansas City product trying to land a bullpen job with his hometown team, kept his spring ERA at 0.00 with 2 1/3 scoreless innings against the Brewers on Sunday.

A sidearmer, Hottovy gave up two hits, no walks and had three strikeouts. He gave up an RBI single immediately after entering the game, but the run was charged to starter Felipe Paulino.

Hottovy has worked 8 1/3 innings in seven games without being charged with a run.

"He did a nice job," manager Ned Yost said. "It was a perfect matchup for him with all the lefties they had in their lineup and with Paulino going short, and it gave us an opportunity. We were going to take him to 35 pitches, and he was right about there."

Paulino's bid for rotation hits a snag

SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Right-hander Felipe Paulino, trying to win a spot at the back end of the Royals' rotation, hit a snag on Sunday.

Paulino was jostled for five runs on six hits, three for extra bases, and three walks in 2 2/3 innings of a 7-3 loss to a Milwaukee Brewers split squad heavily populated by Minor Leaguers.

"Just very inconsistent, a lot of pitches up in the zone, a lot of pitches out and over the middle of the plate, overthrowing his breaking ball," manager Ned Yost said. "You know he's struggling when he has 78 pitches after 2 2/3 innings. So it wasn't a very good outing right there."

Of his 78 pitches, Paulino threw only 44 for strikes, and he was very aware that he was missing the zone too often.

"My pitches were good, all my stuff was good, [but] I missed the spots," Paulino said. "The season is almost starting, so it's time to get better."

Especially if he wants to win one of the last two open starting jobs in a competition with Danny Duffy, Luis Mendoza and Everett Teaford.

Paulino's ERA jumped from 5.00 to 7.71.

Yost faces off against his son in spring game

SURPRISE, Ariz. -- One of Ned Yost's sons, Ned Yost IV, is a Minor League coach in the Milwaukee Brewers' organization, and he was coaching at first base for their split squad on Sunday.

And, of course, Yost's wife, Deborah, was in the stands to watch her husband's Royals lose to her son's Brewers, 7-3.

"My wife said after the game: 'Very good job of coaching first base, not so good a job of managing,'" Yost said.

Kouzmanoff set to return to game action

SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Non-roster third baseman Kevin Kouzmanoff has appeared in only seven of the Royals' 23 Cactus League games because of back problems.

"His back locked up on him two or three weeks ago, but he's back on the field now taking ground balls and taking batting practice and he'll be back in games," manager Ned Yost said.

Kouzmanoff, 30, was signed as a Minor League free agent after playing for the Oakland Athletics and the Colorado Rockies last year. So far this spring he's 3-for-10 with two doubles and two RBIs.

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