"I was supposed to throw the eighth and the ninth, and in the seventh inning, they called down and said put somebody else in so I figured something was going on," Collins said. "I think I'd rather throw here than there so I was OK with that."
That "something" was the Royals were using relief pitchers at a brisk pace in a 9-2 loss to Detroit and general manager Dayton Moore grabbed his cell phone.
"Yeah, Dayton called when he saw that we were going to need a pitcher and told 'em 'Don't pitch him, we'll need him here,'" Royals manager Ned Yost said. "We were going to do it Monday or Tuesday anyway. We've had 18 innings in the last five days out of our 'pen."
Actually, it was 17 innings, but that's plenty, and so Collins was summoned and right-hander Aaron Brooks was optioned back to Omaha. Brooks made his big league debut on Saturday night and gave up six runs in the second of his two innings.
"He had a good inning and a bad inning," Yost said.
Collins had several good innings at Omaha -- four to be exact, with no runs, no hits, a walk, a hit batter and a whopping 10 strikeouts among the 12 outs. He pitched in three games.
Collins went on the disabled list on April 7 with a left flexor strain and his first appearance nearly three weeks later was a bit erratic even though he struck out the side.
"I'm not going to say it's inexperienced hitters, but it was young guys so they'd swing at stuff guys probably wouldn't swing at up here," Collins said. "And my second and third outings were probably the best ones. My command was a lot better and I was able to throw all my pitches for strikes, and was able to get ahead in the count."
The main thing was his left arm felt sound. Good news for a guy who'd thrown 151 times in relief for KC in the previous three years. He pitched just twice this year before going on the DL.
"My arm really reacted better than I hoped it would," Collins said.
Collins made a successful return to the Royals -- firing two scoreless innings with one hit and one strikeout in relief of Jason Vargas in Sunday's 9-4 loss to the Tigers.