Notes: Meche rarin' to go

Notes: Meche rarin' to go

SURPRISE, Ariz. -- When left-hander John Bale walked into the Royals clubhouse, Gil Meche asked him how he did.

Bale pitched a 1-2-3 sixth inning in the Royals "B" game, 3-1 victory over the Rangers.

"Better than my first inning," Meche said.

Meche gave up a run in the first inning and had problems keeping the ball down.

"The first inning was horrible," Meche said. "I was just real erratic to start off the game and just slowed it down a little bit. I made some really good pitches the next three innings."

Pitching coach Bob McClure has been working with Meche to land on the ball of his foot.

"I'm trying not to land on my heel," Meche said. "Mac kept yelling it out every time I'd throw."

Meche said he does not like pitching in "B" games, but that it has value.

"It is hard to get a little adrenaline going at 10 o'clock in the morning over there [on a back field]," Meche said. "I had real good arm speed. You can go out and work more on things than if it is a normal game. Mac probably wouldn't be yelling like he was today. It was more of a one-on-one kind of thing. You could watch your pitch count a little bit easier."

Meche threw 64 pitches and will be up to 70-75 pitches in his next start.

"I'm just glad my arm feels great," he said. "A lot of times in camp, my elbow might be a little sore here and there, but this spring, I haven't had any problems. It probably has a lot to do with me trying not to land on my heel. They've been working with me on that daily, so it is freeing up my arm a little bit and it is starting to work a little bit smoother. Hopefully, that comes with control and having better stuff later in the game, because I won't be so tired.

"I'm not getting tired. I felt fine in the fourth. I came here ready to go. I can't wait to get out of here and get going. I know we just started games not too long ago, but I'm ready to get this thing going. I'm ready to pitch."

In four innings, Meche gave up four hits and one run, walked none and struck out three.

Spring Training
News and features:
• Duckworth on making rotation:  350K
• Soria talks about making team:  350K
• Grudzielanek on returning to action:  350K
• Skipper Bell on Royals' status:  350K
• Royals GM Moore on Pena, infield:  300K
• Royals' Bell on remaining spots:  350K
Spring Training info: coverage  |  Schedule  |  Ballpark  |  Tickets

"It took him a little bit to get started, but he is working on something with Mac," catcher John Buck said. "After the first inning, he settled down. Every inning he pitched, he got a little better, a little better."

Sweeney's day: Although it was labeled a "B" game, the Royals lineup included Mike Sweeney as the DH, Buck catching, Emil Brown in left and Reggie Sanders in right.

Sweeney, who led off, went 0-for-2 with a walk. He flied out to center and grounded out to short in his second Spring Training game.

"Mission accomplished," Sweeney said. "I squared up a couple of balls."

The Rangers started Kevin Millwood, who is their likely Opening Day starter. Sweeney faced Padres ace Jake Peavy in his first game.

"I'm waiting to see Joe Bag-of-Donuts," Sweeney said and laughed. "I haven't seen him yet. It is a good test facing some of the better pitchers of the game."

Sweeney fouled a pitch off the back of his right knee. "It is all good, no problem, not too bad," Sweeney said.

Elarton's schedule: Scott Elarton threw a 51-pitch bullpen session on Wednesday. He is scheduled to throw his first batting practice on March 13.

Elarton, who had shoulder surgery on Aug. 1, said he is penciled to throw one inning in a game around March 26. He will remain in Surprise for extended Spring Training in early April to continue throwing, instead of rehabbing with Wichita or Triple-A Omaha, where it could still be cold.

"I think I better stick around here awhile and then, when it warms up a little, head out," Elarton said. "I haven't have had any problems. Even on the days in between mound work, I've done more throwing than usual, so, to me, that is a good sign. I haven't been able to do much work in between starts in the past."

Nelson update: Joe Nelson, who has not thrown in a game because of a tender shoulder, said he would probably have another bullpen session on Thursday, but has no timetable when he will appear in a game.

"They're trying not to be super aggressive, let it heal and get all the inflammation out," he said. "It is a little sore. It is more the mound stuff. Playing catch is not difficult at all. It is the downward plane that is a little harder.

"I'd rather something happen now than in the season. You'd rather not anything to happen, but if you've got a little soreness, now is the best time to have it."

Briefly: Luke Hochevar, the first overall pick in the 2006 First-Year Player Draft, threw two scoreless innings in the 10-5 victory over the White Sox in Tucson on Wednesday. He walked one, struck out one and gave up a hit. ... Billy Butler went 1-for-1 and is hitting .636. ... Justin Huber drove in two runs and doubled. ... Andres Blanco raised his average to .538, with two hits, including a triple, and drove in two runs.

Upcoming: Odalis Perez will be the Royals starter on Thursday against the Mariners, a 2:05 p.m. CT start at Surprise Stadium. Todd Wellemeyer, Octavio Dotel and David Riske are also scheduled to pitch for the Royals. Jarrod Washburn is Seattle's probable starter.

Alan Eskew is a contributor to This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.