Notes: Greinke building his confidence

Notes: Greinke building his confidence

SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Zack Greinke has his confidence back in Spring Training, but not to the level it was in 2004 as a 20-year-old making his Major League debut.

Greinke zoomed through the Minors after the Royals drafted him sixth overall in the 2002 First-Year Player Draft.

"I was overconfident then," Greinke said. "I thought that no one could ever hit me."

After going 8-11 with a 3.97 ERA as a rookie, Greinke came into Spring Training in 2005, by his own admission, with too much confidence. A 5-17 record with a 5.80 ERA in 2005 has a way of destroying any cockiness.

Greinke left Spring Training last year for personal reasons and spent most of the season in the Minors, making three relief appearances with the Royals after a September callup.

Greinke is attempting to earn a spot in the Royals rotation this March, and his Monday outing in the Royals' 4-3 victory over the White Sox should enhance his chances.

"I don't think about failing," Greinke said.

Greinke gave up two runs on two hits, one a Juan Uribe inside-the-park homer, and a sacrifice fly in five innings. He walked his first batter of Spring Training and struck out three.

"I liked what I saw," Royals manager Buddy Bell said. "He didn't hurt his chances by any means."

Bell, however, stopped short of saying Greinke is the frontrunner to fill a rotation vacancy.

"I haven't got that far," Bell said. "I still like what I see out of [Brian] Bannister and [Jorge] De La Rosa. It's a nice problem to have right now. We just haven't really sat down and tried to iron it out to where we're ready to make a decision."

Bell said Greinke is hard on himself.

"He has such a high standard, it is unrealistic," Bell said. "Probably growing up, he was the whole team. If he didn't do it, they'd probably lose. His job is to give us a chance to win, not every time try to throw a no-hitter or a shutout."

Dotel shines: Octavio Dotel struck out five and allowed one hit in two scoreless innings against the White Sox on Monday. Dotel has not allowed a run and just two hits in six innings, while striking out 11.

Bell said Dotel's arm speed appears better now than before his 2005 Tommy John elbow surgery.

"He has a lot of energy," Bell said. "He's a factor in the clubhouse. He's got personality, which we haven't had. I enjoy watching him. It looks like he has an attitude of a closer. I think the fans in Kansas City are really going to like him."

After a pause, Bell said with a smile, "And I'm going to like him too if he saves a lot of games."

It was Dotel's first two-inning outing in Spring Training. Bell said by going two innings, it allows a reliever to use more of his pitches, but he does not plan on using Dotel for any two-inning saves in the season. He said Dotel would work on back-to-back days before Spring Training ends.

Injury updates: Bell said right-hander Luke Hudson had tightness in his shoulder and did not throw on Monday. Bell said Hudson, who is scheduled to pitch again on Sunday, would not miss a start. "We think he is going to be fine," Bell said.

Spring Training
News and features:
• Duckworth on making rotation:  350K
• Soria talks about making team:  350K
• Grudzielanek on returning to action:  350K
• Skipper Bell on Royals' status:  350K
• Royals GM Moore on Pena, infield:  300K
• Royals' Bell on remaining spots:  350K
Spring Training info: coverage  |  Schedule  |  Ballpark  |  Tickets

Rookie infielder Angel Sanchez was scheduled for an MRI on his sore right elbow. ... Outfielder Joey Gathright has hamstring tightness. ... Andres Blanco did on-the-field activities a day after leaving a game when he fouled a ball off his shin. ... Outfielder Shane Costa is still sidelined with a back strain.

Birthday bash: Jason LaRue celebrated his 33rd birthday with a run-producing single in the sixth inning. He also had a sacrifice bunt.

EWTN not ESPN: Mike Sweeney, Hudson, Mark Teahen and LaRue were interviewed by Father Francis Mary Stone before the game. The interviews will air April 26 and April 29 on the program "Life on the Rock" on the Catholic ETWN channel. That is the Eternal World Television Network.

On deck: The Royals are off on Tuesday and host the Athletics on Wednesday at 8:05 p.m. CT. Bannister will start for the Royals, while Joe Blanton will be the A's probable starter. The game will be the first televised on RSTN.

Alan Eskew is a contributor to This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.