{}
CLOSE

Now Commenting On:

Hochevar having success airing it out as reliever

|
Hochevar having success airing it out as reliever play video for Hochevar having success airing it out as reliever

KANSAS CITY -- Increasingly, Luke Hochevar is catching onto this relief gig.

The big right-hander, a starter throughout his career, was moved to the bullpen with the influx of new starting pitchers, and he appeared in his ninth game on Thursday night at Baltimore. With the Royals ahead, 6-2, he reeled through a perfect ninth to finish the game. It wasn't a save situation, but it gave him a taste of a late-inning finish with the game fairly close.

"When you're playing a team like Baltimore or you're playing teams at the top of the division and you have the lead, you want to go with your best pitchers," manager Ned Yost said. "And to be able to put him in that spot, it's just a little progression. Yeah, he had a bit of a safety net because if he puts two guys on, here comes Holly [closer Greg Holland], but still, he's making great strides. It's not that he can't do it, it's just getting him accustomed to the situations."

Last Sunday against Chicago, Hochevar pitched two perfect innings, the eighth and ninth. The Royals tied the score, 5-5, in the ninth and won in the 10th, with Holland getting the victory.

"It's a little different. You're usually coming in in a situation -- with runners on, or in a tight game," Hochevar said.

Now that he's not starting, Hochevar finds himself able to unload his entire arsenal right away instead of perhaps holding something back for the next time or two that he'll face a batter. In relief, there aren't many second or third times around.

"I feel more that I'm coming out with everything rather than saving a pitch, holding a pitch or using a pitch to set somebody up," Hochevar said. "You still have to make quality pitches."

So far, so good. For the 12 1/3 innings that Hochevar had pitched prior to the Yankees series, his ERA was 0.73 with 13 strikeouts.

Yost really wants to see how Hochevar progresses in relief, so if he ever needs to reach into the bullpen for a starter, he's more likely to tap left-hander Bruce Chen instead of Hochevar.

"I'm not going to take him out of the bullpen just to start him again, no," Yost said. "But if there's a need, yeah, we'd consider it. But we'd have to get there. That's a tough question to answer."

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

{}
{}
Boys and Girls Club of America

©2014 MLBAM, LP. All rights reserved.

The following are trademarks or service marks of Major League Baseball entities and may be used only with permission of Major League Baseball Properties, Inc. or the relevant Major League Baseball entity: Major League, Major League Baseball, MLB, the silhouetted batter logo, World Series, National League, American League, Division Series, League Championship Series, All-Star Game, and the names, nicknames, logos, uniform designs, color combinations, and slogans designating the Major League Baseball clubs and entities, and their respective mascots, events and exhibitions. Use of the Website signifies your agreement to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy (updated May 24, 2013).

View MLB.com in English | En Español