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Nomo could join Royals on Saturday

Nomo could join Royals soon

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MINNEAPOLIS -- What pitcher will arrive when the Royals get their roster to 25 players on Saturday? Well, it might be Hideo Nomo.

Manager Trey Hillman wasn't saying before Friday night's game against the Minnesota Twins. But he did relay a good report on Nomo, who's been at Surprise, Ariz., doing rehabilitation work on his sore right groin.

"The report on Nomo is he did throw yesterday, and he threw, I believe it was 29 pitches warming up and then 15 live BP [batting practice]. He said it felt very good," Hillman said.

Asked if Nomo was ready to pitch competitively, Hillman replied: "I think so. I think he is. He was going to throw again, I think, this morning and I haven't heard anything about it."

Later, he got word from Arizona that Nomo suffered no ill effects from Thursday's workout and also played catch on Friday with no problems.

The Royals have been a player short for the first four games because catcher Miguel Olivo was serving a suspension for fighting last season. That penalty is over after Friday night's game, and Olivo probably will catch Saturday, giving John Buck a break.

Backup catcher Matt Tupman was expected to be optioned to Triple-A Omaha, and Hillman has indicated a pitcher would fill the 25th spot, expanding the staff to 12.

Pitcher Joel Peralta, a late roster cut, cannot be recalled because 10 days have not expired since he was optioned to Omaha. On the other hand, Brandon Duckworth could be summoned, because he was a non-roster pitcher in Spring Training. Yet a more likely choice is Nomo.

Hillman said that Nomo began throwing on flat ground on Thursday in Arizona.

"Then he went bullpen and felt so good he asked if he could throw to hitters, and that's what happened," Hillman said. "He threw, I believe, 15 pitches, and said he felt good. He didn't feel the groin at all. The report was that the arm worked very good."

Nomo, 39, launched a comeback with the Royals this spring after not pitching in the Majors since 2005. Eliminated from the rotation competition, he was pitching well in an effort to win a relief job when he suffered the groin injury on March 25.

Nomo went to Arizona last Saturday. He was placed on the roster of an inactive Rookie team, Idaho Falls, earlier this week simply to have him listed somewhere.

In other injury news, center fielder David DeJesus was still out with a sprained left ankle.

"He's better," Hillman said. "He's not feeling any pain walking. Down the stairs he still feels a little bit, but that's natural as that thing continues to heal and dissipate."

DeJesus hit off a tee with coach Mike Barnett before the game and was walking without a limp. Joey Gathright again took his position and the leadoff spot.

"Once it heals I'm going to get in there," DeJesus said. "With an ankle, you never know."

The Royals are hesitant to play DeJesus in the Metrodome because of the hard artificial surface.

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

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