Royals right-hander Ian Kennedy throws a curve, slider and changeup to go with his fastball. And he is one of the few pitchers on the team who throws only one kind of fastball -- a four-seam fastball. And there's a reason for that.
"I had a catcher with Arizona back [in 2011] who hated when I threw [a two-seamer]," Kennedy said, smiling. "He finally said, 'You need to junk that. It's terrible.' So I did. Since then I've thrown only four-seamers. Sometimes it might look like a two-seamer because it didn't come out right, but it's not."
Royals right-hander Nathan Karns throws a regular curve, a two-seam fastball, a four-seam fastball and a changeup.
Sometimes, though, it may appear that both Karns and Vargas throw knuckle-curves -- because they lift their index finger off the ball as they grip it.
"I leave my index finger off the ball because I treat that [index] finger sort of as if it's a training wheel," Karns said. "If I'm throwing a curve, sometimes the ball will catch the finger, but only if I need it to, as I throw it. I think the confusion comes from that sometimes pitchers, myself included, will put the tip of their index finger on the ball for a little different spin. But that's a spike curve. It's not a knuckle-curve."
Here's what other Royals pitchers said they have in their repertoires:
• Left-hander Danny Duffy: Two-seam fastball, four-seam fastball, slider, changeup. Duffy junked his curveball two years ago because he liked the velocity he could get on his slider.