That was the main focus of Royals players and manager Ned Yost when discussing the starting right-hander, who took a line drive off his left ankle during Friday's game against Cleveland. The official diagnosis is a left medial ankle contusion.
"I was a little surprised when they came up and said his leg wasn't broken," Yost said on Saturday.
Yost said he didn't know whether or not Hochevar would make his next start, but if he can't, the Royals have a prime candidate in reliever Everett Teaford.
Teaford relieved Hochevar on Friday, tossing four shutout innings.
"That was great," Royals outfielder Jeff Francoeur said. "For him, he hadn't pitched yet. Obviously, he came in and did a great job. It's perfect. I think that gives Ned a lot of confidence. If he does have to make the next start for Hoch, he can. We all said in Spring Training how great he pitched. We felt very confident with him on the mound, and I think it showed [Friday]."
Yost had more to say about Teaford's performance before Saturday's game.
"When you have that long guy, he can't come in and blow up," Yost said. "If he blows up, then you're using the rest of your 'pen, and that's what you're trying to stay away from. That's why it was really significant [Friday] that Teaford came in and did what he did. He enabled us to get through that game without blowing up the bullpen, so that we're completely healthy [Saturday]."
Yost added that Teaford already has what it takes to be a big league starter. Good thing, because Teaford might be called into action soon.