Royals send Greinke to bullpen

Royals send Greinke to bullpen

May 8, 2007

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) -- Zack Greinke, who gave up three two-run homers in one inning Sunday in a loss to Detroit, has been dropped from the Kansas City Royals' rotation and will work out of the bullpen.

Greinke, who left the club in spring training 2005 and received treatment for social anxiety, is 1-4 with a 5.71 ERA in seven starts. Opponents are hitting .338 against him.

"I just hope he can regain some confidence," Royals manager Buddy Bell said Tuesday. "He's hard to read. He's pitched away from contact at time and pitched behind in the count. Sometimes, I can tell he's just not as comfortable as he needs to be. That is basically why we're doing it."

Greinke was the sixth overall pick in the 2002 draft and he made his major league debut in 2004 at age 20. He led the American League with 17 losses in 2005.

"I personally feel like he's going to end up starting at some point," Bell said. "Whether that's this year, next year or whenever, I don't know that. I think he's got too much ability, too many pitches that he can throw for strikes for him not to be in the rotation. I think you're always going to be tempted to put him in the rotation because of his stuff, but right now we just think it's best for him and the team that he's in the bullpen."

Bell said he did not believe putting Greinke in the bullpen would hinder his development.

"He needs to be up here," Bell said. "There's not a whole lot more he can do down there. In saying that, we talk about all the pitches he can throw with command. There's a part of me that says maybe it wouldn't be such a bad idea to go down and throw innings, but right now I think it's better he learn up here and get the experience up here."

While Bell did not say who would take Greinke's spot in the rotation, the Royals have two right-handers, Scott Elarton and Luke Hudson, who are coming off shoulder injuries and have been rehabbing in the minors. Both are close to coming off the disabled list. Elarton threw 105 pitches Monday for Class AA Wichita in his fifth minor league rehab start.

"We're still evaluating our options with Scotty and Luke," Bell said. "There is a chance more than likely one will come off for sure. We're just not sure right now if both of them are going to."

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