Blanton's rotation spot in question after loss

Veteran righty shaky vs. Twins; Royals may have other options for next turn

Blanton's rotation spot in question after loss

KANSAS CITY -- Royals right-hander Joe Blanton, who had another shaky start in Saturday's 5-3 loss to the Twins at home, is listed as the Royals' probable starter on Thursday. And right-hander Yordano Ventura is scheduled for another Triple-A rehab start on Monday.

But those plans could be altered, much like the Royals altered their plan with left-hander Danny Duffy, who skipped another scheduled rehab outing to move back into the rotation on the last road trip.

Even Royals skipper Ned Yost, when asked if Blanton would make another start, said, "We haven't determined that yet."

It wasn't as if Blanton was awful on Saturday. He certainly had an awful start, falling behind 2-0 after just four pitches, thanks to a two-run homer by Joe Mauer. After a half-inning, it was 3-0, Minnesota.

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"I was just a little bit off," Blanton said. "The first pitch of the game, that [hit] was just a bleeder. Then I gave up a homer and it was just a struggle to get a rhythm going. Then I made a couple of adjustments and got in a better groove."

Blanton seemed to settle down after pitching coach Dave Eiland visited him after six batters. After that point, Blanton's line was: 4 2/3 innings, four hits, one run, no walks, four strikeouts.

"That was just more of a 'calm everything down and stop the momentum' visit," Blanton said. "It was more after the first inning that we made some mechanical changes. But that was a good visit.

"I felt the second inning was still a little bit of a struggle. But the third, fourth and fifth, definitely felt better. Better locations and better pitches."

Blanton was coming off a rough outing in Houston as well, allowing five runs in 2 2/3 innings.

"The start in Houston I was never able to make an adjustment," he said. "Today I made an adjustment quicker but still, four pitches in you give up two runs and you already got your back against the wall. You got to battle."

The mistake to Mauer?

"Fastball almost down the middle," Blanton said. "It was 2-0. I tried to be aggressive. I thought maybe he would give one [strike] but he came aggressive and hit it out."

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.