Madson pleasant surprise for Royals after 'flyer'

Veteran hasn't pitched in Majors since 2011

Madson pleasant surprise for Royals after 'flyer'

SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Royals manager Ned Yost was asked to name the biggest pleasant surprise from camp so far this year. He said there weren't any and that the big league team was progressing just as he expected it to.

Then he reconsidered for a second.

"Maybe [reliever Ryan] Madson," Yost said. "To come in, you look at it as a flyer, and then you watch and he's got his fastball back up to 91, 92, he's always had that devastating change. He's a pretty interesting guy."

Madson, the 34-year-old veteran of championship Phillies teams who hasn't pitched in the Major Leagues since 2011 because of various arm ailments, signed a Minor League deal with the Royals on Jan. 4. He entered Friday night's game against the Padres with a 2.25 ERA in four innings over four appearances this spring, and added a quick 1-2-3 inning and now has a 1.80 ERA. His fastball hit 93 mph on Friday.

Madson still projects to be a longshot to make a loaded bullpen out of Spring Training but could represent valuable depth while honing his stuff in Triple-A once the season starts.

"He hasn't thrown in a couple of years," Yost said. "But you could see where if he stays healthy, he could help us."

Doug Miller is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @DougMillerMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.