KANSAS CITY -- Jeremy Guthrie became the third Royals pitcher this season with more than 200 innings pitched, joining James Shields and Ervin Santana, on Saturday night. He pitched six innings in the Royals' 3-1 loss to the Rangers, giving him 204 2/3 on the season.
It's the first time the Royals have had three pitchers with 200 or more innings pitched since 1997, when Kevin Appier, Tim Belcher and Jose Rosado finished with 253 2/3, 213 1/3 and 203 1/3 innings, respectively.
"Going into Spring Training, our goal was to have 1,000 innings from our starting rotation," manager Ned Yost said. "It's extremely important for your starters to do that. It keeps them strong. It keeps them sharp, and it keeps the bullpen strong and healthy."
A year ago, Royals starting pitchers contributed just 890 innings, so general manager Dayton Moore made it his goal to go out and get a group of starters who could boost their numbers.
Guthrie was acquired from the Colorado Rockies on July 20, 2012, while Shields and Santana were acquired in the offseason from the Tampa Bay Rays and Los Angeles Angels, respectively.
With eight games to go, this year's starters have 937 1/3 innings. Shields leads the way with 213 2/3, Santana follows with 205 and Guthrie is right behind him. So far, the Detroit Tigers are the only other team with three pitchers who've thrown 200 or more innings.
"I don't think we'll quite get there, but to have three guys over 200 innings means we've stayed healthy, we've pitched well enough to get deep into games," Guthrie said. "What Dayton was looking for, I feel like the starters for the most part have done what he asked, and when you do that, you can look up in September and hopefully have a chance to fight for a playoff spot."
For Guthrie, this is the fourth time in five seasons that he's passed the 200-inning mark. He has career high in wins with 14 to go along with a 4.09 ERA in 32 starts.
Dick Kaegel is a reporter for MLB.com. Kathleen Gier is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.