Davis perfect fit for Royals in return from DL

Closer works 1-2-3 ninth inning to seal victory over Tigers

Davis perfect fit for Royals in return from DL

DETROIT -- A familiar figure stepped on the mound in the ninth for the Royals in their 8-4 win over the Tigers on Saturday night.

All-Star closer Wade Davis, who had been on the disabled list with a right forearm strain for two weeks, made his first appearance back after being activated earlier in the day.

"I thought Wade looked really good," Royals manager Ned Yost said.

Davis mopped up the ninth by retiring the Tigers in order with a strikeout, a weak popup and a groundout.

"For the most part that was pretty good," Davis said. "I felt as free and easy as I have in a long time in terms of the forearm."

Davis' fastball sat around 94 mph and he touched 96.

"I pulled a couple of pitches," Davis said. "But I think that was just rust. It was good. It just felt good."

To make room for Davis, the Royals optioned right-hander Brooks Pounders to Triple-A Omaha.

Yost said Davis would have no limitations and would be ready to close on a regular basis again. Luke Hochevar, Joakim Soria and Kelvin Herrera will automatically shift back into their former roles setting up Davis, depending on the matchups.

Pounders, 1-0 with a 13.50 ERA, appeared in three games with the Royals and got his first Major League win in Toronto.

Pounders' first career strikeout

"I thought he was fine," Yost said. "I thought he did OK. He had that one rough outing, but he came in for the most part and was really impressive. He looked good in Toronto.

"He got a taste of the big leagues and an understanding of what it is like up here."

Offensively challenged
The biggest difference between this year's Royals and last year's club is run production. Last year, Kansas City scored 380 runs prior to the break. This year, the Royals scored 352.

That presents a big challenge for Yost and his staff as they try to jumpstart an offense with different batting orders.

"You can jiggle and juggle all you want," Yost said, "but if guys aren't hitting, they aren't hitting.

"The big hits aren't there and if you look at the runs scored from last year to this year, it's got to be down. Last year, we had such a deep lineup there were no holes in our lineup. We just haven't had that same production all through the lineup."

Minor move
Yost said left-hander Mike Minor, who had a setback at the end of May as he rehabs from offseason labrum surgery, is now at the team's Spring Training site in Arizona throwing live batting practices. The club is still determining when it will send Minor on a rehab assignment.

Jeffrey Flanagan has covered the Royals since 1991, and for MLB.com since 2015. Follow him on Twitter @FlannyMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.