3/21/2014 4:53 P.M. ET
Shields to rein it in for final spring start
By Dick Kaegel / MLB.com
GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- Three homers? Five runs? No matter, James Shields feels primed for Opening Day.
Shields had his roughest Cactus League outing this spring in the split-squad Royals' 9-3 loss to the Reds on Friday. The Reds went long ball against him with Chris Heisey, Kristopher Negron and Roger Bernadina each hitting a home run.
Heisey's barely got over the left-center-field wall.
"I think that last one -- I didn't think that was going to go, honestly. I thought it was a routine popup," Shields said. "I thought the other two were homers for sure. They put some good swings on it today."
Shields, who had given up just one earned run in his previous 14 2/3 innings, will use his final Arizona start as a lighter tuneup for March 31 at Detroit. Against the Reds, he went six innings with 97 pitches.
"I feel great, my body feels good. It's nice to go 100 pitches, and I felt good from the first pitch to the last pitch today. That's really my main focus right now," Shields said. "We're going to try to tone it up with this next start, maybe 60 pitches or so, and then get ready for the season."
Manager Ned Yost was just happy that Shields got his work in.
"He reached all the objectives we wanted him to reach. He got to the 100-pitch mark, right on it, and that was good," Yost said. "I'm glad that most of his starts have been pretty easy for him. He got a good workout today, so I was pleased with that. He's ready to go."
Perez staying up-to-date on Chapman's recovery
GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- Royals catcher Salvador Perez is continuing his watch over the recovery of Reds pitcher Aroldis Chapman, felled by his line drive on Wednesday night.
"I'm going to see him tonight," Perez said before the Royals played against the Reds on Friday.
Chapman sustained fractures over his left eye and nose and had a titanium plate inserted to stabilize the area on Thursday night at a Phoenix hospital.
Perez visited Chapman at the hospital just after the accident ended the Royals-Reds game in the sixth inning on Wednesday night.
Reds medical director Dr. Timothy Kremchek estimated that Chapman could resume working out and throwing within 10 to 14 days and pitch in game conditions in four to six weeks.
Duffy desires to pitch out of bullpen in big leagues
SURPRISE, Ariz. -- There's no doubt where left-hander Danny Duffy stands in the debate over whether he should pitch in the Kansas City bullpen or start in the Triple-A Omaha rotation.
"I want to go wherever they think I deserve to go," Duffy said. "I'm going to do everything I can to win a job in the bullpen in the big leagues. I'd rather be in the big leagues -- there's no question."
Duffy hasn't pitched in relief since he was just starting out in pro ball in 2007, and he did it just twice for the rookie-level Royals in Surprise. Every regular-season appearance since has been a start.
On Thursday, he made his first relief outing since Yordano Ventura bested him in their duel for the last spot in the Royals' rotation. He pitched a perfect inning with three flyouts.
"It was nice to come in and not really know the amount of time you're going to have to warm up," Duffy said. "I think I was comfortable with it because I wasn't thinking so much. I just went out there with my best stuff against their best stuff. I was really fastball happy, they put the ball in play and I had a quick inning. It was nice, I think I can build on it."
The Royals' internal debate has been over whether it'd be better for Duffy to prepare himself as a starter in Omaha's rotation or face Major League hitters out of KC's bullpen. An important consideration, of course, is would he contribute more to the bullpen than, say, either of the two other lefty candidates, Francisley Bueno and Donnie Joseph?
"I'm just trying not to think about it too much and not worry the whole debate," Duffy said. "Just do what I've got to do and try to take advantage of the opportunity that they've given me out of the 'pen because this is something I've wanted to do for a long time."
Duffy said he approached Royals officials about the bullpen idea.
"It was a mutual thing. We were on the same page. We just came to each other at the same time basically and I just threw it out there," he said. "I really do have confidence that my game will play really well out there, and I'm just excited for my next outing."
Dozier, Starling hear their numbers called
GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- Two of the Royals' recent first-round picks in the First-Year Player Draft saw their first Cactus League action late in Friday's 9-3 split-squad loss to the Reds.
Third baseman Hunter Dozier, last year's selection, and outfielder Bubba Starling, the top pick in 2011, each played the final three innings. With Major League players divided between games against the Reds and Angels, the lineups were augmented by an infusion of players from the Minor League camp.
Dozier went hitless in two at-bats and Starling was 0-for-1, but they were just happy with the exposure.
"It was a great time, a great experience," Dozier said.
"All of us Minor Leaguers are working here to get better and hopefully soon someday we'll be out here with all the other guys," Starling said. "We'll keep working. It's fun playing with all these big leaguers."
Dick Kaegel is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.