Nomo slowed by sore groin

Nomo slowed by sore groin

SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Japanese legend Hideo Nomo's bid for a bullpen spot with the Royals has been sidetracked by a pulled right groin.

Royals manager Trey Hillman revealed Wednesday that Nomo was injured while pitching one inning against the Padres on Tuesday night. The extent of the injury wasn't immediately known.

"We don't think it's pulled extensively, but we don't think it's a cramp," Hillman said. "So we're going to have to give his body time to react to what he experienced last night when he pitched."

At crunch time for finalizing the relief spots, Nomo's injury could give both the Royals and the 39-year-old right-hander extra time for evaluating his status. Nomo is scheduled to accompany the Royals to Milwaukee for two weekend games with the Brewers.

"He will definitely be going to Milwaukee. Just because he tweaked his groin a little bit, I have no intention of leaving him here," Hillman said. "I'm hopeful that by the time we get to Milwaukee he'll still be able to pitch."

However, Nomo was scratched from pitching on Wednesday or in Thursday's Cactus League finale in Surprise.

Would the injury put Nomo, a non-roster player, on the disabled list to start the season?

"Straight up, I don't know," Hillman said. "When I talked to him this morning and I asked him if he still felt it, his reply was, 'Yes, I still feel it this morning.' So then I told him this, and I haven't taken it any further: 'Make sure you don't pitch hurt.'

"And I told him in his language he needed to tell me the truth from his heart. I don't want him to feel like he has to tell us things and push himself. I don't want him pitching when he's not healthy. I want to see a healthy guy, so we can make a wise decision."

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