Moylan becoming reliable late-relief option

Moylan becoming reliable late-relief option

HOUSTON -- Right-hander Peter Moylan went from searching for a team to sign him in the offseason, to trying to make the Royals as a non-roster player, to winning a job on the 25-man roster and to now becoming one of the bullpen's most reliable arms.

While the Royals' bullpen stumbled in a three-game series sweep in Minnesota to begin the season, Moylan wasn't part of the struggles. And after another solid appearance in Saturday's 7-3 win over the Astros -- a perfect eighth inning -- Moylan's stock is rising.

"We're still sorting through things," Royals manager Ned Yost said, "but he's done a great job, and he's becoming that guy to rely on."

Actually, the Royals relied on Moylan, 38, quite a bit last year, especially in the second half. He made 50 appearances with a 3.43 ERA, while being counted on to pitch multiple days in a row.

But Moylan went the entire offseason without receiving a Major League contract offer. He re-signed with the Royals on a Minor League deal after Spring Training started.

Even after leaving for more than a week to play for Team Australia in the World Baseball Classic, Moylan returned and beat out numerous other candidates to win the final bullpen spot.

Moylan on playing in WBC 2017

"With what he did in the second half for us, it wasn't that tough of a decision," Yost said. "We know what we had in Peter. And we don't have to worry about him.

"We knew he would take the ball. We knew he was durable and extremely effective against right-handed hitting."

Moylan also did a terrific job against Astros left-handed outfielder Josh Reddick on Friday night, setting him up with sliders outside, before striking him out on a 3-2 sinker.

"In that situation, with the tying run on second base, I'm not going to let a left-hander beat us," Moylan said. "I got a call on the outside corner, and that turned the at-bat around. If he chases, great. If [a left-hander] hits something, it will be my pitch. Not going to give them something to drive."

As Moylan continues to perform well, pitching coach Dave Eiland said his workload will increase against both righties and lefties.

"Bottom line, with the way we're set up in the bullpen," Eiland said, "he'll have to face left-handers. And he knows what to do. He's a veteran."

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.