Tuesday, August 22, 2006

KC Royals Looking for a Spot for SP Zach Greinke

If the Royals are to make room for the return former top pitching prospect Zach Greinke, 22, the choice comes down to a bullpen demotion for somebody, perhaps either the veteran Odalis Perez, 29, recently acquired from the Dodgers, or Runelvys Hernandez, 28, once deemed to be a big part of the team's future. Though Perez is winless with a 5.32 ERA in four starts for the Royals, he's not pitching that badly, haven given up only 19 hits in 22 innings with 18 walks. The more highly regarded Hernandez, however, has been terrible, with a 3-8 record and 7.50 ERA, having given up more than a homer per game. With pitchers like that, it shouldn't be too difficult for the Royals to create a start or two for Greinke once rosters are expanded Sept. 1. Greinke left the team earlier this year because of reported psychological problems related to his being painfully selfconscious and excessively shy. But observers say he has come out of his shell somewhat since joining the AA Wichita Wranglers on June 2. Already he has racked up an 8-2 record with a sub 3.00 ERA, winning four of his last five starts, with a no-decision. Greinke has struck out 30 batters in his last 28 innings while surrendering only five walks, and has been described as virtually unhittable.