CLEVELAND -- Brian Bannister, Luke Hochevar and Gil Meche are nearing a return to the Royals.
The rehabbing right-handers remain on track to rejoin the team in September, with Meche likely being activated from the 60-day disabled list on Wednesday when rosters expand.
Meche, who has not pitched for Kansas City since May 25 because of right shoulder bursitis, will serve as a reliever upon his reinstatement. The 31-year-old right-hander is 0-1 with an 8.31 ERA across four rehabilitation appearances, including one start, for Triple-A Omaha.
Hochevar, on the 15-day DL retroactive to June 12 with a right elbow strain, worked two scoreless innings of two-hit ball Saturday in the first of potentially three rehab starts for Omaha. The 26-year-old righty walked one, struck out one and threw 29 pitches, 15 of which were strikes.
Bannister, on the 15-day DL retroactive to Aug. 8 with right rotator cuff tendinitis, is 0-1 with a 6.75 ERA through two starts with Omaha. The 29-year-old righty is slated to throw four innings in his next rehab outing, likely the last before the Royals activate him.
The trio's return can't come soon enough for Royals manager Ned Yost, whose taxed pitching staff could use the depth.
"We've been getting good reports on everybody -- Banny, Hoch and Meche," Yost said. "They're all feeling good and working their way back. The next step is just to continue the rehab process. We're just trying to get their pitch counts up."