On Wednesday afternoon, the KC Royals battle for the fifth spot in the rotation officially began, as Luke Hochevar made the start and Bruce Chen pitched in relief. The Royals came back to beat the visiting Milwaukee Brewers, 3-2.
Hochevar did not make it through the customary two innings for a first start in spring training. He only allowed one hit, but walked three and used 38 pitches to get just five outs. Francisley Bueno followed and allowed an inherited runner to score (so Hochevar ended up giving up two runs).
Chen entered in the fourth and pitched two perfect innings. He struck out two and threw 21 of his 28 pitches for strikes.
Kelvin Herrera and Tim Collins, who will be leaving for the World Baseball Classic, each pitched a scoreless inning of relief. Louis Coleman followed with a shutout inning before Michael Mariot picked up his second spring training save with a perfect inning.
Meanwhile, on offense for the Royals, it was all about the starters.
Alex Gordon went 2-for-3 with a run scored. Eric Hosmer also went 2-for-3 with a run scored, but he also drove in a run. His replacement, Max Ramirez, went 1-for-1 with a two out RBI.
Mike Moustakas went 2-for-2 with a two out RBI. His replacement, Miguel Tejada, went 1-for-2.
The Royals defense turned four double plays.
James Shields will make his Cactus League debut on Thursday with one inning of work to start at Peoria against the San Diego Padres. Lefty Will Smith will follow in his second spring appearance. Atahualpa Severino will make his final outing before heading to join the Dominican Republic in the WBC.
Jason Marquis will make his first spring start for the Padres and is expected to throw two innings. Tyson Ross and Wilfredo Boscan are expected to follow and throw two to three innings each.