Notes: Riske? Far from it

Notes: Riske? Far from it

KANSAS CITY -- Every time David Riske comes in to pitch, you hear somebody say: "Oh, this is risky business."

Or not.

Riske, after two-thirds of an inning Friday night against the Phillies, had a solid business-like streak going. Since May 1, he has worked in 18 games and thrown 16 1/3 scoreless innings. His ERA is down to 2.70.

In this, his eighth Major League year, Riske had an abysmal April. In his 10 games that month, his ERA was 6.97. Nothing really new about that -- in his career, his April ERA is 5.40.

That's a fairly fat number.

"It's probably mental now these days," Riske said. "Looking back through my career, I don't know if it's a fatigue thing coming out of Spring Training and I lose my arm slot, but I try everything in the world in April. It could just be in my head."

Yes, for Riske, every April involves a hunt -- and not for Easter eggs.

His preferred arm slot, developed over the years, somehow disappears. That's what happened after his first camp with the Royals.

"I didn't know where it was for a while, but I found it," he said.

Whew! Good thing.

"When I lose my arm slot, the hitters pick up the ball real easy, and it makes hitting off me real easy if I don't have my deception," the right-handed Riske said.

"I'm not a 95 [mph] guy. I throw 90 and go off my deception."

Riske is one of those largely unheralded worker bees, who labor between the starter and the closer. There's not much glory.

"It's not that big of a deal for me because I'm not big on all that," Riske said.

"But my opinion, and I could be biased, is that the middle guys, the bullpen guys, have the hardest position in baseball. Just because you've got to be perfect every single time out. As a starter, you can give up three runs and have a great outing. As a reliever, you have to be perfect every single time out. So bullpen guys really have to have that mental toughness."

Riske is a good strike thrower. He doesn't walk many -- 10 so far this season.

"It's kind of crazy to say this: But a lot of guys will try to hit their spots or work on keeping the ball down. I try to throw a strike every pitch," he said.

"The more strikes you throw, the more guys will be wanting to swing at every pitch. They get hits, but even a great hitter makes an out seven of 10 times."

That's a simple, straightforward approach that seems to work for a guy who labors largely in anonymity.

"He's not flamboyant. He just goes out and does his job," manager Buddy Bell said. "He's just a real valuable guy to have."

Gload on hold: First baseman/outfielder Ross Gload was in the Royals' clubhouse for treatment on his torn right quadriceps. He's been on the disabled list since May 14. No date has been set for his return.

"It's tough sitting at home at 6:30 on Friday and Saturday night and not being able to put on a uniform and got out and help your team," Gload said.

Outfielder Reggie Sanders took live batting practice for the first time since he endured a torn left hamstring on May 3. Bell said Sanders likely will to go to the Minor Leagues on an injury rehabilitation assignment within 10 days.

"Most veterans don't like to go through rehab, but Reggie's going to have to go," Bell said.

On this date: On June 8, 1979, the Royals selected two Hall of Famers in the First-Year Player Draft -- Dan Marino in the fourth round and John Elway in the 17th round. Oh, yeah, they're in the NFL Hall of Fame.

In Buck's spot: Mike Etnire of Overland Park, Kan., was in the Buck O'Neil Legacy Seat on Friday night. Etnire is a college umpire who has taught thousands of young men and women the technique of umpiring.

Operation Blessing: Mike Sweeney, Mark Teahen, Brian Bannister and Sluggerrr are scheduled to join 200 volunteers in distributing groceries at 10:30 a.m. CT on Saturday at the corner of 30th and Troost in Kansas City.

It's the seventh annual Royals and Chiefs Operation Blessing: Two Teams, One Goal. Area residents in need of assistance will receive two free sacks of groceries and be able to meet Royals and Chiefs players.

Bunts: Infielder Angel Berroa cleared waivers and has accepted an assignment to Triple-A Omaha. He'll join the O-Royals on Monday. Berroa was designated for assignment on Wednesday when outfielder Joey Gathright was recalled from Omaha. ... Pitching coach Bob McClure missed Friday's game because of illness. ... Scott Elarton is the Royals' Interleague pitching veteran. Going into Friday night's game, he was 10-7 in 27 Interleague games.

Royals rundown: Justin Huber hit a grand slam and a solo homer as Omaha defeated Nashville, 7-1, on Thursday. Ben Hendrickson (6-3) allowed just one run in 6 2/3 innings, and reliever Neal Musser extended his string of scoreless innings to 29. ... Reliever Juan Cedeno took the loss as Double-A Wichita fell at Arkansas, 3-2. Cedeno (3-2) gave up a run in the ninth after two scoreless innings. ... Jose Duarte had three hits, including a triple, and two walks, but Class A Wilmington lost to Winston-Salem, 5-2. ... Michael Thompson hit his 11th homer in Class A Burlington's 10-4 loss to Beloit.

Fill 'er up: The Royals' ticket menu includes a new item: All-You-Can-Eat Seats. Fans can purchase covered Club Level seats and unlimited ballpark fare for one price.

The promotion will be launched at the Friday, June 29 game against the White Sox. The seats will be available for Friday and Saturday home games and other select dates, including July 3-4 against the Mariners and July 23-26 and Sept. 7-8 against the Yankees.

The cost per seat is $35 in advance and $40 on game day. Groups of 20 or more can get tickets for $25 each. For tickets, call 816-504-4040, go online at or visit the Kauffman Stadium ticket windows.

Coming up: The Royals will meet the Phillies in the second of three Interleague games at 6:10 p.m. CT Saturday at Kauffman Stadium. Right-hander Gil Meche (3-5, 3.00 ERA) is matched against Phils right-hander Jon Lieber (2-4, 4.30 ERA), a former Royals farmhand.

The first 20,000 fans will receive "Little Leo," a bobblehead of pitcher Dennis Leonard, second of five in a Royals Hall of Fame giveaway.

Dick Kaegel is a reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.