Royals shift Bannister to the bullpen

Royals shift Bannister to the bullpen

CHICAGO -- It's been a rough stretch for cerebral Royals starter Brian Bannister. First, he missed about five weeks of big league time with tendinitis in his pitching shoulder. Then, when he returned to the Majors on Tuesday, the Twins knocked Bannister around to the tune of seven runs and eight hits over 2 2/3 innings.

It'll likely be his last start for awhile.

"Bruce [Chen] has been pitching so well and did it again last night," said Royals manager Ned Yost. "I thought long and hard about putting Bruce in the 'pen, but I'm probably going to put Banny in the 'pen for the next couple of weeks and use him like in a Gil Meche mode."

Chen threw seven strong innings against the White Sox in a 4-3 loss on Friday. Yost said Bannister is well enough physically to keep pitching.

"He feels good and his shoulder is strong, but we're trying to win ballgames up here, too," said Yost. "Bruce has put together some real good ballgames for us lately and he's making strides, and I just don't feel like taking him out of the rotation."

Yost added that the organization is committed to an extended evaluation of starter Sean O'Sullivan, who was acquired from the Angels in July. Also, Kyle Davies has been throwing well lately, and Yost isn't about to yank American League Cy Young Award winner Zack Greinke or Luke Hochevar from the rotation.

"Those two are a big part of what we're trying to do here," Yost said.