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Mendoza adjusting to role in Royals' bullpen

Mendoza adjusting to role in Royals' bullpen

Mendoza adjusting to role in Royals' bullpen

CLEVELAND -- Right-hander Luis Mendoza, who was in the Royals' rotation as the fifth starter for the first half of the season, is gradually getting re-accustomed to life in the bullpen as a long reliever.

"It's my fifth day and I've been feeling good. I'm waiting for the opportunity," Mendoza said. "Of course, I don't want to come in early because I want the starters to go longer. But just keep working and go back to how I felt before the last two starts."

Mendoza had back-to-back subpar starts which led to his switch of roles with Bruce Chen, the left-hander that he beat out for the last rotation spot in Spring Training. Although manager Ned Yost thought that Mendoza was showing signs of being tired after pitching in winter ball and the World Baseball Classic, the pitcher disagreed.

"I don't feel that way," Mendoza said. "Mentally, I feel strong. I've been working hard and my body feels great, but maybe my body feels different than my mind."

Mendoza is eager to make a strong impression in relief because he wants another shot at starting.

"That's in my mind, to come back to the rotation," he said.

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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