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Collins 'off-kilter' in rough relief outing

Collins 'off-kilter' in rough relief outing

SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Royals left-hander Tim Collins apparently has a touch of the post-World Baseball Classic blues.

His first two innings after his return from the Classic went OK -- a total of one run and three hits in two outings -- but his seventh inning on Saturday against Arizona was a little horror show. He gave up six straight hits, including a double and a homer, and five runs.

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"He was really throwing the ball well before he went to the WBC, then he went and kind of sat for a while, got off-kilter a little bit," manager Ned Yost said. "Not too much concern. There are just mechanical things we need to continue to address with him, and Dave [Eiland, the Royals pitching coach] thinks he'll be fine."

Collins pitched just one inning in two games during his two-week absence to play for Team USA in the Classic.

The D-backs took a 9-7 lead against Collins, but the Royals came back to win, 11-10.

Collins' spot in the bullpen is secure, but right-hander J.C. Gutierrez is trying to win the last available spot and he struggled in the eighth inning on Saturday. He gave up a leadoff homer to Alfredo Marte and the D-backs loaded the bases with three singles, although Gutierrez pitched out of it.

"He needs to put his best foot forward, especially going into the last week," Yost said. "But, again, he gave up the leadoff home run and got out of it with the bases loaded. It got a little hairy, but he got out of it so give him credit for that."

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

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