Bannister has game plan going into '08

Bannister has game plan going into '08

MILWAUKEE -- The temperature in Wisconsin was 30 degrees on Friday night, a sharp drop from the 82-degree Arizona weather Brian Bannister and the Royals left a little over 24 hours earlier. Luckily, the dome over Miller Park kept game temperatures around 60 degrees.

It's no wonder then, that Bannister was such a cool customer in the Royals' 4-1 victory over the Milwaukee Brewers. He pitched five innings and gave up one run on six hits.

"Honestly, I felt more comfortable in this environment than I did in all of Spring Training because this is the real lineup, the real stadium, the real fans," Bannister said. "Everything was season-like."

In addition to being the Royals' final exhibition game of the spring, Friday night's meet was Bannister's final tuneup before his start next Wednesday against the Detroit Tigers, the Royals' second game of the season.

"The goal was to get better in every start in Spring Training, and it did work out. I know you can't always do it like that, but that was the goal," he said.

"I kept the ball down today, mixed all my pitches in. It was just a good quality outing. That's exactly the kind of momentum I want to build going into the season."

Bannister yielded no walks for the second straight outing. Over his last two games, he has totaled 10 strikeouts.

"I really did want to sharpen my pitches with two strikes and work on missing some more bats to counteract the more hits I'm going to give up," said Bannister, who is known to be a contact pitcher.

"And I want to walk fewer guys. That's kind of my formula right now. It's my game plan, and I'm going into the season with it."

Bannister finished Spring Training with a 1-2 record and 5.56 ERA in five games. He gave up just three earned runs in his last 11 innings.

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