Meche, Nomo pleased with efforts

Meche, Nomo pleased with efforts

SURPRISE, Ariz. -- It was Gil Meche's turn to pitch on Monday, but the Royals wanted to give Hideo Nomo a shot at starting a game. So Meche faced Minor Leaguers on a back lot and Nomo had a go at the San Francisco Giants.

Each pitcher gave up two runs and each pronounced himself fairly well satisfied.

Meche pitched four innings, threw 68 pitches and gave up two home runs among four hits. He walked three.

"I had good stuff, it's just a matter of locating better next time," Meche said.

The Royals' No. 1 starter used the outing to work on mechanics and to refine his pitches. At times, he landed on his heel instead of his toes, causing some high pitches and prompting reminders from pitching coach Bob McClure.

"He corrected it right away. He hadn't done it all spring," McClure said.

The Minor Leaguers were eager against the ace. Chris Lubanski homered off Meche in the first inning.

"Some other kid [Juan Richardson] hit about a 500-foot shot over the center-field wall and I got him back on three pitches that he didn't even see -- struck him out," Meche said. "They swing, man. Any thing around the plate, a fastball, they really hack. The first pitch they see over the plate, they're swinging so it's hard to set 'em up."

Nomo, a long shot to make the Royals' staff, went three innings of a 15-6 romp over the Giants in the main stadium. He gave up two runs on three hits in the first inning.

"In the first inning, I threw the ball high and they hit it," Nomo said through a translator.

Nomo said he's staying with the stretch, shelving his old "Tornado" windup, because it's easier on his elbow. He also had some trouble commanding his famed split-finger pitch.

Asked if he felt his velocity was up, Nomo responded: "I don't know because I haven't checked the speeds and I do not care much about the speed."

Manager Trey Hillman was satisfied with the performance.

"I'm comfortable with the way he's progressed and he's much better than when he first got here," Hillman said.

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