KANSAS CITY -- After a rusty first appearance on April 11 at Minnesota, reliever Louis Coleman didn't pitch again until a week later. And when he faced the Twins to wrap up the Royals' 5-0 win on Friday night, he was much improved.
Coleman, who took eight weeks to recover from a jammed middle finger on his right hand, pitched the ninth inning and got three infield outs -- interrupted only by a harmless single.
With closer Greg Holland held out because of the five-run lead, manager Ned Yost thought about bringing in Kelvin Herrera to finish up after Aaron Crow pitched a perfect eighth inning, but he decided Coleman needed another test. If he proved erratic again, Herrera could be summoned.
"But Louie was pounding the strike zone. Strike one on all the hitters. They're down 5-0, so it's evident when Crow comes in they were taking a strike," Yost said. "So it's very important to get strike one and go the rest of the at-bat, and Louie did just that. So everything he did was very encouraging."
Coleman noted that his finger, previously swollen, is almost back to normal size.
"It's pretty close. The pressure or whatever is gone and it doesn't get sore," he said.
Coleman had to adapt quickly to big league games after staying in Arizona for an extended spring training.
"A game here is entirely different," he said. "You know you have time in Spring Training and you know you don't have time when you get here."
Dick Kaegel is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.