Hochevar ready to pitch on back-to-back days

Hochevar ready to pitch on back-to-back days

KANSAS CITY -- As far as Royals right-hander Luke Hochevar is concerned, any time manager Ned Yost is ready to use him in back-to-back games, all systems are go.

"I was ready to in Detroit," Hochevar said. "I feel good. I'm sharp, ready for it."

Hochevar had pitched last Saturday in Detroit and was ready to go again on Sunday night, but then rain halted his assignment after he already had warmed up. Actually, he went into the record books as having pitched because he was announced into the game before a rain delay.

Making back-to-back appearances is a fairly big milestone in Hochevar's recovery process from his Tommy John surgery in March 2014.

"To be honest, that [Sunday] was one of the better times I've felt this year," Hochevar said. "But as I go through this gig, I've learned that's the case and I guess it's fairly typical -- you tend to feel pretty live a day after you've thrown."

Yost, though, isn't quite sure he's ready to go take the leash completely off Hochevar.

"We're still kind of gauging it day to day," Yost said. "If the situation is right to go back to back, yes. But you still want to be careful. ... [He's] 15 months removed from surgery."

• Left-hander Jason Vargas, on the disabled list with a left flexor strain, continues to play catch, but he has not thrown off the mound during his recovery.

"He's feeling better," Yost said.

• Outfielder Alex Rios (broken hand) continues to hit off a tee with a fungo bat.

"He still has some pain in there to do deal with," Yost said, "but he's on schedule."

Rios likely is still at least two weeks away from being activated.

Jeffrey Flanagan is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @FlannyMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.