Notes: Greinke ready to return

Notes: Greinke ready to make return

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- Zack Greinke is alive and well, and plans are in the works for his return to the Royals.

The 22-year-old was a lock for the starting rotation coming into Spring Training, but left the team Feb. 25 to tend to what Kansas City deemed "personal matters." It was revealed later that Greinke was seeing a psychological counselor, leading to a 60-day trip to the disabled list beginning April 1.

Even then, it was unclear when or if Greinke would return to the mound, but general manager Allard Baird said after a Friday night phone conversation with the right-hander that the day was quickly approaching.

"He sounds great," Baird said, "and he's very close to joining us."

Baird said no date has been set for Greinke's return. Though the Royals are eager to welcome him back, Baird said Greinke would first report to the team's Minor League facility in Surprise, Ariz., and then log some innings in the Minors.

"I'm really proud of him," Baird said.

As a rookie in 2004, the highly touted Greinke was named the Royals' pitcher of the year after posting an 8-11 record and 3.97 ERA through 24 starts. He struggled with his control a bit last season, finishing 5-17 with a 5.80 ERA.

Greinke admitted in a phone interview that he wasn't sure if he was completely over whatever led him to seek counseling, but said he was "feeling a lot better."

"The main thing now," he told the Kansas City Star on Friday, "is I'm really looking forward to playing baseball again."

Redman ready to go: After spending six weeks on the DL following arthroscopic surgery on his knee, Mark Redman is scheduled to make his season debut Sunday against the Rays.

"I'm very pleased to see those guys back here," said Baird. of the return of three players over the past three days. "The big thing for any Major League club right now is to be healthy."

Redman joins designated hitter Mike Sweeney (bruised right hand) and center fielder David DeJesus (strained left hamstring), who rejoined the lineup Friday and Saturday, respectively.

"[Redman] is ready to go," Baird said. "And I'm hoping for him to get ahead in the count. If he keeps the ball down, we'll give good support behind him and hopefully score some runs."

Jackie Robinson honored: The Royals recognized Major League Baseball's fourth annual Jackie Robinson Day at Tropicana Field on Saturday with a video shown on the big screen prior to the first pitch. The montage detailed Robinson's achievements, and featured several shorts from his playing days. It ended with the words the Hall of Famer was famous for, "A life is not important except in the impact it has on other lives."

Did you know? Kansas City is just 15-39 in April since 2004. The month is the toughest for the Royals historically, as the organization has posted a 343-402 record (.460) in all April games. Statistically, the vest month is August, when the team has gone 545-503 (.520).

By the numbers: Going into Saturday, Royals pitchers had allowed 15 runs in the first inning of games.

Up next: The Royals face the Rays at 12:05 p.m. CT on Sunday in the final of the three-game series. Left-hander Redman will make his first start of the season after injuring his left knee in a Spring Training game. He'll face right-hander Jason Hammel, a Rays rookie who was called up to make two spot starts while Mark Hendrickson nurses stiffness in his throwing shoulder.

Dawn Klemish is an associate reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.