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Meche looking to return next Monday

Meche looking to return next Monday

KANSAS CITY -- Gil Meche is missing a start for the first time in his Royals career and he can't wait to make his next one. His target: a week from Monday when Kansas City opens a series at Baltimore.

Meche went on the disabled list on Saturday because of soreness from a lower back spasm he experienced in his last start, July 11 at Boston. The 15-day stay was backdated to July 12, which would make him eligible to come off the list in time for the Orioles game.

"I've had MRIs, and [they're] not really showing any damage or anything, so that's a positive," Meche said Sunday. "It's just a matter of calming it down and getting the inflammation out of there to where I can move around and feel strong. Just walking and sitting around, I constantly have to move because it gets really stiff."

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Before he went on the DL, Meche was tentatively booked to start on Tuesday against the Los Angeles Angels. Now he won't be ready for the first time since signing with the Royals three years ago.

"This is the first one -- 34, 34 and 19," he said, clicking off the number of starts he's made in each of his three seasons with the club.

Meche had a cortisone shot on Saturday in hopes the inflammation will subside.

"If it goes down, obviously I want to pitch on that Monday in Baltimore," Meche said. "I got the shot yesterday, so it'll take at least until Monday or Tuesday before I actually go throw if it feels 100 percent better."

Once Meche gets unlimbered, he'll go into his prestart mode, including the usual bullpen session. Manager Trey Hillman hopes Meche can make the Baltimore start.

"Sure, my hope is to get him back as soon as possible, as long as he's comfortable with where his body is," Hillman said. "We'll go on what we see, but we'll see go on how he tells us his body feels. He never wants to miss a turn."

Meche sure doesn't. Just the thought of missing two straight starts rankles him.

"Missing one is bad enough for me because I hate not pitching," Meche 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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