Minor relishes scoreless spring appearance

Royals lefty looking to land bullpen spot for '17 season

Minor relishes scoreless spring appearance

PEORIA, Ariz. -- As far as most Spring Training games go, this one actually held some significance for left-hander Mike Minor.

Minor worked two scoreless innings in the Royals' 14-3 rain-shortened victory over the Mariners on Monday.

Minor hasn't pitched in a Major League game since 2014 with the Braves. He missed all of '15 recovering from a torn labrum muscle.

And Minor never got to the Royals' big-league club in 2016 after signing a two-year, $7.25 million deal last March. Minor kept having injury setbacks on his rehab assignments before finally being shut down for the season in August.

But now Minor, in the last year of his contract, is hoping to be a major contributor to the Royals' bullpen in 2017. Manager Ned Yost is hoping the same.

"I thought he looked good," Yost said, "with good life on his fastball."

Minor gave up one hit, walked none and struck out two.

"I think I'll get a little bit better," Minor said. "Some of my pitches were a little off. I got behind in some counts. But I'm OK with putting up the zeros.

"My changeup was up today. That was the only pitch that really got hit."

Minor admitted it felt great just to be pitching in a game again.

"For me, sure it was," Minor said. "I don't think I've even pitched in a Spring Training game in three years."

Signed as a potential starter, the Royals have shifted Minor to the bullpen in hopes he can be a potential setup man. Minor, 29, has relieved just once in his career.

It's an adjustment.

"Today wasn't that bad," he said. "But they also told me kind of when I would go out there. It wasn't like, 'Hey, you're up.'

"When you're starting, you have as much time as you want to get ready. But relieving, as soon as they call down, you got to be ready within a couple of hitters. I think that's going to be the toughest [adjustment]."

All things considered, Minor was satisfied with his spring debut.

"I put up zeros today, but I didn't have great stuff," he said. "That happens every spring, happens for most guys. But as the season progresses, it gets better."

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.