6/18/2013 7:45 P.M. ET
Paulino recalled from his rehab assignment
Righty dealing with lower back issues that aren't considered serious
By Dick Kaegel / MLB.com
CLEVELAND -- Royals right-hander Felipe Paulino has been recalled from his Minor League rehabilitation assignment because of lower back stiffness.
Paulino made one start for Double-A Northwest Arkansas as he continues his comeback from Tommy John surgery on his right elbow last July 3.
"I don't think it's anything major. Very minor," Royals manager Ned Yost said.
It's considered a precautionary move to prevent Paulino from risking injury to his elbow or shoulder by adjusting his delivery to compensate for his back discomfort.
Kansas City head athletic trainer Nick Kenney said Paulino's setback is not expected to be a long-term situation. He's cleared to continue throwing, but not in game-type situations.
Yost maintaining options in Kansas City 'pen
CLEVELAND -- The Royals currently are operating with a seven-man bullpen but, with the starting pitchers going much deeper into games this season, would manager Ned Yost consider going with six relievers?
"Not really," Yost said. "Because we're not scoring enough runs. Even though our starting pitchers are going deep, I still have to use these guys every day to protect a one-run or a two-run lead. Look, I just want to score enough runs to win. But when you're protecting a one- or two-run lead from the seventh inning on, you're using your main guys every day to do it."
Yost pointed to Monday night's 2-1 Royals victory over the Indians. James Shields left after six innings and Yost used three relievers in left-hander Bruce Chen and right-handers Aaron Crow and Greg Holland.
"We've got a tied ballgame [1-1 in the eighth]. If we had a one- or even a two-run lead in that game, I would not have had to take Bruce out against a right-handed hitter [Mark Reynolds] who has a chance to hit the ball out of the park and bring in another reliever [Crow] there. Heck, Bruce might have been able to get us out of the eighth inning instead of using two more pitchers. But I've got to do that to maximize my matchups. When you do that, you're using those relievers more."
Switching pitchers to take advantage of matchups naturally occurs more often in close games and Yost is doing that more often this year than in 2012.
"No. 1, we're ahead a lot more this year and, No. 2, the run differential hasn't been that great lately," Yost said.
Could Yost ever envision cutting back to six relievers and adding another bench position player?
"Once we start getting three and four runs ahead, then yeah. But we're not doing that right now, so we've got to keep those options open," he said.
Royals match their '91 club with .500 mark
CLEVELAND -- When the Royals pulled to .500 on Monday night, it was the first time since 1991 that they'd pulled that off after being nine games under the break-even point.
On July 15, 1991, the Royals were 38-47 before going on a 12-3 run and pulling to 50-50 on Aug. 1. During that hot streak, pitcher Luis Aquino picked up four victories -- two as a reliever, then two as a starter -- and Jeff Montgomery had six saves.
The '91 team finished two games over .500 at 82-80 but finished sixth out of seven teams in the American League West. All seven West teams were at .500 or above. But three AL East teams were way below .500, with Cleveland at the bottom with a 57-105 record.
Those were the days of the "balanced" schedule. The Royals played each of the other 13 teams in the league 12 or 13 times.
Dick Kaegel is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.