KANSAS CITY -- Zack Greinke may have pitched his way into the Royals' bullpen. Greinke surrendered three two-run homers in the second inning as the Tigers topped the Royals 13-4 on a rainy Sunday afternoon at Kauffman Stadium. With Luke Hudson and Scott Elarton expected to come off the disabled list soon and be inserted into the rotation, Greinke's status remains uncertain. His immediate future could be in the bullpen.
"I don't think that is out of the question," Royals manager Buddy Bell said. "First of all, we want to do what is best for Zack Greinke. Again, if what's best for Zack Greinke is to keep him in the rotation and get him to work through this, that's what we'll do. If it's giving him a breather and getting him in the bullpen, that's what we'll do as well. "It's all speculation. It's nothing we've talked about so far. We believe in this kid. We believe he's going to be a good pitcher. Right now, he's struggling." Greinke is 1-4 with a 5.71 ERA in seven starts. He has allowed 62 baserunners -- 49 hits, 11 walks and two hit batters -- in 34 2/3 innings. "I just want to help the team." Greinke said. "If I'm not going to do it as a starter, then I'd rather be in the bullpen. I need to start pitching better or else I don't want to be a starter, at least right now, because I'm not doing the job. I know I should be and I know I will, but as long as I'm not, I shouldn't be costing us games like this. I'll do my best whatever they decide. "I shouldn't keep having bad outings like this. It's their decision. They're really smart people. I hardly ever see them make mistakes. That's their job. They know what they're doing as far as that stuff. "The main thing is if you make you're pitches, you're going to be fine whether in the bullpen or starting. If I just start making my pitches like I should, then everything will be fine." Nothing was fine for Greinke in this outing. He was removed after four innings and 85 pitches, allowing six runs on nine hits. "Today, I never threw good from the beginning of the game until the end of the game," Greinke said. "That's three times I've done that now. That's way too many. So I need to stop doing that. I'm just not locating at all. I'm getting behind in the count and then not locating, especially in crucial situations." Curtis Granderson, Gary Sheffield and Craig Monroe each hit two-run homers in the second inning. "I pitched bad enough and they were hitting the ball hard enough," Greinke said. "The wind was blowing straight in and the ball wasn't carrying. I just gave them too many pitches up and over the plate. All three of them were hit pretty much perfectly. It's not like they barely hit them. "I just wasn't getting them off balance. I wasn't making them hit pitcher's pitches. It was just really doing everything I could not to do good. "I know I can pitch up here. I know my stuff is good enough. I know my control is good enough. I haven't been doing it. It is something different than in 2005, when I was struggling, I didn't know if I could do anything to get better. This time, I'm not doing what I should be doing. I know I'm making mistakes. I never have mistakes as much as I have been this year. I've just got to get back to throwing like normal." In two starts against the Tigers this season, Greinke has yielded 10 runs and four home runs in 4 2/3 innings. He was unable to get out of the first inning in an April 16 start at Detroit. Greinke is 0-3 at Kauffman Stadium, allowing 17 earned runs in 21 innings for a 7.29 ERA. "I think the score speaks for itself," Bell said of Greinke's performance. "It is hard for me to explain why he gets in that situation. He's just wild in the strike zone, whether it's his offspeed stuff or hard stuff. There's really no damage control. If he gives up one run, he's likely to give up more than that, which he needs to better at." Things did not get any better for the Royals after Greinke departed. Todd Wellemeyer was charged with three runs on four hits in two innings. Left-hander Neal Musser came out for the seventh and allowed four runs on four hits, including a three-run homer to Neifi Perez, making it 13-0. Former Royals pitcher Chad Durbin limited Kansas City to two singles until the eighth, when the Royals bunched together four hits and scored two runs. Ross Gload, Alex Gordon and John Buck led off the inning with singles. Gload scored when Shane Costa rolled into a double play. Tony Pena Jr. doubled to center to score Gordon with the second run. The Royals got two more runs in the ninth. Mike Sweeney singled home Esteban German, while Mark Teahen scored on a Gload sacrifice fly. The Royals are 2-5 on this 10-game homestand, their longest of the season. The Royals were swept in the weekend series and have lost seven of nine against the Tigers this season. "This was a disappointing series," said Bell. "We understand that this is probably the best team in the American League. But after we won two against Los Angeles, a very good team as well, we expected to play better in this series. We did not."
Alan Eskew is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.