Joseph off to good start for Royals

SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Royals manager Ned Yost has to laugh when he talks about left-handed pitcher Donnie Joseph.

"Dusty Baker told me numerous times, every time I see him: 'I didn't want to get rid of Donnie Joseph!' And I'd say, 'You know, Dusty, I didn't want to get rid of Broxton, either,'" Yost said.

Baker, the Cincinnati manager, was referring to last July's deal that sent Joseph and right-hander J.C. Sulbaran to Kansas City in exchange for Jonathan Broxton, then the Royals' closer.

Joseph, the Royals' No. 7 prospect, has become a topic of conversation because he has struck out all six batters he's faced in two Cactus League games. This, of course, is his first time in the Royals' Major League camp.

"The thing you want to do when you come into Spring Training for the first time, is you want to make an impression," Yost said. "Because, as fair or as unfair as it is, first impressions last -- they really do."

It doesn't get any better than six batters faced, six struck out.

After coming over from the Reds' Louisville club last year, Joseph pitched in 11 games for Omaha with a 1-0 record and a 4.15 ERA. In 17 1/3 innings of relief, he struck out 19 but also walked 13.

"He's got great stuff; at times command can get a little all over the place, but he has not exhibited that here in these games," Yost said. "But you never know when it's going to click. When [Greg] Holland got here, his first year, he was all over the place, and that was his deal. He had a great stuff, but he was all over the place. He went to winter ball, bam, he came back the next year and was a strike-throwing machine. What clicked? I don't know. Something clicked."

Holland, now the Royals' closer, will make his Cactus League debut Friday against Cincinnati. Joseph will also throw for the Royals, and, yes, Broxton is scheduled to pitch for the Reds.