Lefty Mijares real cut-up in Royals' bullpen

Lefty Mijares real cut-up in Royals' bullpen

SEATTLE -- Royals relief pitcher Jose Mijares is the kind of guy who'll burst into manager Ned Yost's office to show off his latest mad scientist invention -- a bat with a shoe taped to the end.

"He took [Brayan] Pena's shoe and made it into a pick ax," Yost said, laughing.

Mijares, though, is all serious on the mound. And he's had some seriously good results. When he bailed Luis Mendoza out of a jam in Thursday's series opener at Seattle with two strikeouts and a groundout, Mijares lowered his ERA to 1.67 with a 2-1 record and 37 strikeouts in 37 2/3 innings.

"He's been pitching good all year, really," Yost said. "He's pitched well, he's pitched a lot. I was kind of surprised to see in the stats that he's got the second-most appearances for a reliever. So he's pitching a bunch, too."

Among American League relievers prior to Saturday's games, Joaquin Benoit of Detroit and Boone Logan of the Yankees each had 48 appearances and Mijares was among six with 47, including Royals rookie Kelvin Herrera.

Mijares, a southpaw, is used primarily as a weapon against left-handed batters. The statistics tell why: Left-handed batters hit .203 (16-for-79) against him this year while righties are .283 (17-for-60). Both homers against Mijares were by right-handed hitters.

Mijares depends basically on his fastball, a good slider and, when he's not pitching, his sense of humor.

"The guys in the bullpen love him," Yost said.