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Notes: Greinke split on first start

Notes: Greinke split on first start

SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Zack Greinke saw some good and some bad in his first spring outing.

Greinke, who's pegged as the Royals' No. 3 starter, pitched two scoreless innings but didn't get an out in the third before leaving in a 15-7 loss Saturday to the Texas Rangers.

His fastball, slider and curveball all were good at times.

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"I didn't put it together for a whole outing or a whole inning at any time, so there are a lot of negatives, too," he said. "The first inning especially I didn't really find the zone."

Greinke often worked behind in the count, and he walked two in the first two innings. In the process, he racked up a whopping 41 pitches. In the third, he left after three straight singles and a run.

"Hopefully, I won't throw that bad again the rest of the season, because, I mean, I wasn't good," he said.

No mo' windup? Hideo Nomo, during his two-inning outing on Friday against San Diego, pitched strictly from the stretch position. There was no twisting, look-at-my-back windup that fans are used to seeing.

Pitching coach Bob McClure explained that Nomo, bidding for a comeback, is using the stretch to keep things simple before using his famous "Tornado" windup.

"He still does it," McClure said. "He was just trying to get the basic delivery down because he's working himself into shape. The windup is a little abbreviated. It's not quite the same amount of turn but, yeah, he has it."

Huber on sick list: After drilling two doubles against the Padres, Justin Huber was slated to be the designated hitter on Saturday against the Rangers. Instead, he became the latest to be benched by the flu bug.

"It was starting yesterday. Today, it's full-blown and he's got a fever," manager Trey Hillman said.

Miguel Olivo took the DH spot and reached base three times.

First baseman Ryan Shealy missed a third day because of the flu.

Maroth scratched: Left-hander Mike Maroth was scheduled to pitch against the Rangers but was scratched because of a stiff left shoulder.

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"He's day-to-day," Hillman said. "We don't consider it to be serious. We're being cautious with it."

Anatomy of a pitch: Think McClure doesn't pay strict attention to every pitch his boys throw?

Here's his analysis of a pitch that the Padres' Will Venable hit for a two-run homer Friday off closer Joakim Soria: "It was a changeup, it was down, the guy just went down and got it. It was a good pitch. I think the guy was looking for something slow, because he'd thrown him a changeup in a swing-and-a-miss previously. So he got him two strikes and the guy was kind of looking for it. But with the location, it could have been a ground ball to second. It was good hitting on his part. It wasn't up, it was down, it was a little bit away on the outside part of the plate and the guy just went and got it."

Soria gave up three runs in his inning.

"He didn't make very good two-strike pitches," McClure said. "He got ahead of the guys real easy and left some balls up with two strikes, but it's the first time out. I'm not concerned about it."

Roster uncertainty: With Olivo due to start the season with a five-game suspension, Hillman faces opening the season with just 24 players. He hasn't yet decided if he'll have 11 pitchers and 13 position players or a 12-12 split.

Another factor is that he'll likely be without slugger Jose Guillen for the first 15 games, although that suspension does not cost the Royals a roster spot.

"We've got to wait and see," Hillman said. "We've got several guys fighting for a job. You're a big bat shy, so that's why I'm changing up lineups and trying to get guys as many at-bats as we can. So, if and when someone does get exited out of camp, I can look them right in the eye and say, 'Hey, we gave you a shot. Unfortunately we've got other guys ahead of you. It's a numbers game or we don't think you're ready.'"

Up next: The Royals have a rematch with the Rangers at 2:05 p.m. CT Sunday at Surprise Stadium. Brian Bannister will start for the Royals against Jason Jennings. Also scheduled to pitch for the Royals: Kyle Davies, Jimmy Gobble, Leo Nunez, Joel Peralta and Ryan Braun. Those following the Rangers' Jennings include Luis Mendoza and Jason Davis.

Dick Kaegel is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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