Hochevar thrilled to pitch at Fenway

Hochevar thrilled to pitch at Fenway

MIAMI -- For the Royals and Luke Hochevar, it's on to Boston and Fenway Park, where Kansas City will open a three-game series on Monday. That's where the rookie will pitch for the first time in his brief career, and he's excited about it.

"No doubt it -- playing in historic ballparks is something that you grew up dreaming about and I'm looking forward to playing in [Fenway]," Hochevar said.

He's been at the 1912 vintage ballpark -- oldest in the Major Leagues -- but only from a fan's vantage point.

"I've been able to visit Fenway before. I played in the Cape Cod League the summer of my freshman year in college, so I was able to see it. It's just a cool ballpark, just from the history there and the atmosphere is a lot of fun," he said.

He'll get acquainted with the antique, very cramped visitors' clubhouse and maybe the Boston folks will let him view the inner sanctum behind the scoreboard.

"Just to be able to toe the rubber there is going to be exciting enough for me," Hochevar said.

There will be the usual full house and the mighty Red Sox lineup to face. It'll be a big moment for the 24-year-old right-hander. And, oh yes, there's that menacing Green Monster looming over everything to intimidate a young pitcher.

"It'll be pretty neat," Hochevar declared. "Just keep the ball down."

Hochevar, who features a sinkerball, already knows that's a good idea in any ballpark.

Pitching matchup
KC: RHP Luke Hochevar (3-2, 3.94 ERA)
Hochevar wasn't at his sharpest Wednesday night, but he still managed to shut out the Tigers for six innings, giving up just four singles. He showed an ability to work out of jams -- important progress for a rookie -- and he did it against an experienced, very dangerous lineup. This was his fifth start since being called up from Triple-A Omaha on April 20. In all but his first outing, Hochevar has pitched six or seven solid innings. With an effective sinker, he's been good at inducing ground balls, getting eight outs that way against the Tigers along with five strikeouts.

BOS: LHP Jon Lester (2-2, 3.95 ERA)
The left-hander has pitched six innings in two of his three starts this month, including Wednesday in Baltimore, when he left leading 3-2. He allowed five hits and two runs, walking two and fanning four. He is making his first start at Fenway since May 4 against Tampa Bay. Lifetime against the Royals, Lester is 1-1 with a 2.77 ERA in two starts.

Crown Points
Manager Trey Hillman expects catcher John Buck to rejoin the Royals in time for Monday night's game at Boston. Buck missed the three games at Florida to be with wife, Brooke, after the premature arrival of their twin boys in Kansas City. "Everthing is fine as far as I know," Hillman said. ... Saturday night's 7-3 loss to the Marlins marked the first time this season the Royals have lost when leading after the sixth inning. They'd won the 17 previous times before letting a 3-2 lead get away. ... Brian Bannister's single was the first for a Royals' pitcher this year. In his career, Banny has hit .353 (6-for-17) with three doubles. ... The Royals' next look at the National League comes June 13-15 at Arizona.

Tickets
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On the Internet
 MLB.TV
 Gameday Audio
•  Gameday
•  Official game notes

On television
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On radio
• KCSP 610

Up next
• Tuesday: Royals (Gil Meche, 3-5, 5.98) at Red Sox (Justin Masterson, 0-0, 1.50), 6:05 p.m. CT
• Wednesday: Royals (Brett Tomko, 2-4, 5.32) at Red Sox (Bartolo Colon, 0-0, 6-8, 6.34 in 2007), 6:05 p.m. CT
• Thursday: Royals (Brian Bannister, 4-5, 4.29 ERA) at Red Sox (Daisuke Matsuzaka, 7-0, 2.15), 12:35 p.m. CT

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