Mendoza slides out of rotation to be long man

Mendoza slides out of rotation to be long man

KANSAS CITY -- After making four starts, Luis Mendoza has yielded his spot in the Royals' rotation to Felipe Paulino, who returned from the disabled list to start against the Yankees on Saturday night.

"Yeah, but my time is going to come again," Mendoza said. "My job right now is to try to help the team in any way I can, in any role. I hope for the starters to stay six or seven innings. I don't want to be [in the game] early, but when my time comes to pitch, I just want to do my job."

Mendoza's four starts were, as he put it, "up and down." He went 5 1/3 innings against the A's in a 1-0 loss. But then he was belted for nine runs in four innings of a 13-7 loss to the Indians and lasted just 3 1/3 innings in a 9-5 loss to the Blue Jays. In his last start, however, he got the victory for five innings of work in a 4-2 win over the Indians.

"The last start I felt pretty good, so I just want to gain that confidence again on the big league level," he said. "I'll try to regain that confidence I had in Triple-A every time I pitched."

Last year, Mendoza was the Pacific Coast League's Pitcher of the Year, and in Spring Training, he led all Major League pitchers with a 0.47 ERA and was one of just four pitchers with a 4-0 record.