Notes: Pitching help could be on the way

Notes: Help could come soon

MINNEAPOLIS -- It's no secret that the Royals pitching staff has struggled the first 20 games of the season. But help might be on the way.

Three Royal pitchers, who were counted on to make a contribution this year, are all currently working on getting back to help the team. The Royals entered Wednesday ranked 24th in the Majors in ERA.

Luke Hudson (shoulder), who was 7-6 last year, was scheduled to make his second rehab start for the Royals' Double-A affiliate, Wichita, on Wednesday night. The Royals hope Hudson can join the team by late next week.

Scott Elarton (shoulder), who started 20 games in 2006, is scheduled to make his third rehab start for Triple-A Omaha on Thursday. If all goes well, he could join the Royals after that start.

The Royals have set a goal for Octavio Dotel (oblique muscle) to throw off the mound this week. If he experiences no pain, he could see action soon. The Royals placed all three pitchers on the 15-day disabled list earlier this month.

Late night: Because the Royals' start time was delayed by rain Tuesday night against the White Sox in Kansas City, the game didn't end until after midnight. The game eventually got under way past 8:50 p.m. CT following a one hour, 46-minute delay.

The Royals didn't arrive at their hotel in Minneapolis until 3:30 a.m. CT Wednesday. After Wednesday night's game with the Twins, the teams have a short turnaround with Thursday's 12:10 p.m. CT start in the series finale.

No Buck, Grudzielanek: Two of the most productive Royals hitters were not in the starting lineup Wednesday.

Catcher John Buck and second baseman Mark Grudzielanek didn't make manager Buddy Bell's lineup card. This season, Buck is hitting .375 with four home runs. Grudzielanek is leading the team with 10 RBIs. Another potential power threat, Reggie Sanders, also was on the bench when the game began.

Good night, DeJesus: It didn't take long for center fielder David DeJesus to shake off his 0-for-7 performance in the White Sox series. DeJesus collected multiple hits off Twins starter Sidney Ponson on Wednesday, including a two-run homer to right field in the fifth inning.

In the Minors: Omaha pounded out 17 hits, but it wasn't enough in an 8-7 loss to the Memphis Redbirds. Shane Costa led Omaha with four hits, while six players had two hits or more. Billy Butler scratched out two hits to raise his season average to .342. It was the pitching staff that faltered as Kenny Ray gave up three runs in the ninth.

Coming up: Royals right-hander Zack Greinke (1-2, 4.82) will oppose Twins right-hander Boof Bonser (0-1, 6.53) in the final game of the two-game series Thursday afternoon.

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