09/19/12 9:00 PM ET
Coat Drive set for Thursday, Friday at The K
By Dick Kaegel / MLB.com
Top pitching prospect Odorizzi may debut Sunday
KANSAS CITY -- Jake Odorizzi, the Royals' top pitching prospect, is likely to make his Major League debut on Sunday afternoon against Cleveland at Kauffman Stadium.Luis Mendoza's improved health has restored some order to the Royals' rotation and made that a strong probability. Mendoza, feeling much better after his bout with a throat ailment, will probably start Friday night's series opener against the Indians, according to manager Ned Yost. If so, that means that left-hander Will Smith likely will start on Saturday night and the right-handed Odorizzi will make his much-anticipated debut on Sunday. Mendoza was scratched from his scheduled start on Wednesday night against the White Sox after he came down with a case of strep throat. But Mendoza came to the ballpark on Wednesday, threw a light side session and felt fine. "He went out and played catch. We wanted to keep his arm going, but we sent him back home to conserve his energy," Yost said. Odorizzi, 22, was obtained from Milwaukee in the winter of 2010 in the trade that sent Zack Greinke to the Brewers. All four players obtained in that trade are now on the Royals' roster -- shortstop Alcides Escobar, center fielder Lorenzo Cain and pitchers Jeremy Jeffress and Odorizzi. Cain, however, is out with a leg injury. Triple-A Omaha manager Mike Jirschele, who watched Odorizzi compile an 11-3 record with a 2.93 ERA this season, compared him with Greinke. "He reminds me a lot of when I saw Greinke pitch at that level," Jirschele said. "Greinke might have been a little bit ahead of him with the command, but seeing both those guys pitch, they were a lot alike." MLB.com ranks Odorizzi as the Royals' No. 3 prospect, behind outfielders Wil Myers and Bubba Starling, and ranks him 30th in all of baseball. Yost hasn't seen Odorizzi pitch since Spring Training, so he'll be watching closely along with Royals fans. But the manager cautioned against expecting too much. "It's his first Major League start. You let him throw it and see what it is. You can't put too much expectation on it," Yost said. If it goes well enough, Yost likely will work with a six-man rotation for the remainder of the season and Odorizzi would face the Indians the following weekend in Cleveland. Yost won't use him in any of the seven remaining games against Detroit because the Tigers are in contention. With a makeup game from a rainout now scheduled on Monday night at Detroit, the Royals have no more off-days before the season ends on Oct. 3. "We'll see what happens. We'd go to six [starters]," Yost said. "With that last off-day now being a game day, there's no break from here on out. So it would be like having a break -- if we decide to go that route. We haven't decided yet, but that's what I would do if we go that route. I'm not shutting anybody down."
Moore, Gordon together again, for the first time
KANSAS CITY -- Adam Moore, the fourth catcher on the Royals' roster, was a University of Nebraska teammate of left fielder Alex Gordon. Except they never played together. Wait, there's an explanation."He was a big-time junior college recruit and he was supposed to be our starting catcher and just before the season started, he hurt his knee and had surgery," Gordon said. "Then he left the next year and never got to play." Moore's right knee kept him out of the Cornhuskers' lineup in that 2005 season. "I went to school with him but ended up having a meniscus tear right before the season opener," Moore said. "So I sat out and got medical red-shirted that year and didn't play. ... Just another fan on the sideline." The next year, Moore transferred to the University of Texas-Arlington and was a first-team Southland Conference selection in 2006, the same year he was picked by Seattle in the sixth round of the First-Year Player Draft. He made the Mariners' Opening Day roster in both 2010 and 2011 but injuries dogged him. This year, after a wrist injury in Spring Training and a knee injury later, the Mariners designated him for assignment and the Royals claimed him on waivers July 7 and assigned him to Triple-A Omaha. "I was catching every day at Omaha, got a fresh start with a new organization and hopefully I'll stay healthy the rest of my career," Moore said. "It was tough being over in Seattle. They gave me every opportunity in the book but I just couldn't stay healthy the two years I was up in the big leagues." Including the playoffs, Moore played 44 games for the Storm Chasers, batting .289 with five homers and 31 RBIs. "He had some big hits for us down the stretch, he's got some pop," Omaha manager Mike Jirschele said. "One big thing was he stayed healthy and I liked what I saw." But defense is Moore's priority. "That's my pride and joy. I take a lot of a responsibility on wins and losses and it's maybe too much I put on myself after a game, thinking we could've done something better," he said. "But I always put it on myself -- could've called a better pitch, set up better location, whatever it may be." With starting catcher Salvador Perez playing so well, opportunities for Moore will be limited, although manager Ned Yost said he's giving some thought to using Moore if his Omaha batterymate, Jake Odorizzi, makes his big league pitching debut on Sunday against Cleveland. Oh, and even though Moore never played for Nebraska, Gordon claims him. "We have two Huskers on the team now," Gordon said. "I consider him a Husker."
Dick Kaegel is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.