SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Right-hander Zach Miner has a substantial big league background -- 157 games with the Detroit Tigers -- and he's trying to make it back with the Royals.
Miner, who'll turn 30 on March 12, last pitched in the Majors in 2009 when he was 7-5 for the Tigers. He missed the 2010 season, undergoing Tommy John surgery on May 28 that year, and worked his way back last season with the Royals' farm clubs at Northwest Arkansas and Omaha.
"The arm's great. It probably took me until the middle of July last year until I started feeling normal," Miner said. "It didn't hurt, which was encouraging, but it wasn't bouncing back between innings and my velocity would fluctuate. Which was frustrating."
But the results got better as he finished up with Omaha and was 2-1 with a 1.59 ERA in 12 relief outings.
"It was amazing how fast it turned the corner at the end of the summer," Miner said.
In his Detroit days, Miner started and relieved and he's not certain what his future might be with the Royals.
"From being in Detroit and never really knowing what I was going to do, I don't even really think about it," he said. "My main focus right now is proving to them and everybody else that I'm healthy. I'm not even focusing on making the team. Obviously, I want to make the team, but I've been around enough to know those are things I can't control."
The Tigers are being touted as favorites to win the American League Central this season.
"My old team has gotten better," he said, "but there were times when I was there we were supposed to win the division and we finished in last place -- 2008, I want to say -- and the Royals finished ahead of us. So I understand that expectations are great, but they don't mean anything. You've got to go out there and perform and win."