SURPRISE, Ariz. (AP) - Luis Mendoza is making quite an impression with the Kansas City Royals.
Mendoza struck out three in working four scoreless innings and Billy Butler hit a two-run homer Saturday as the Royals defeated Colorado 5-2. The Rockies have lost five straight.
Mendoza, the 2011 Pacific Coast League pitcher of the year, allowed just two hits, both to Brandon Wood. Mendoza has given up three hits in six shutout innings in winning his first two exhibition starts.
``Very nice, a tremendous outing in all phases of it,' Royals manager Ned Yost said. ``He had a great outing in terms of getting guys out, but the quality of pitches was tremendous. The ball was down with good action on his pitches. He was on the attack, banging strikes. He was quality for four innings. We slated him to go three innings, but he got done with three with a minimum pitch account, so we sent back out there.'
Mendoza retired eight batters on ground balls. Of his 48 pitches, 36 were strikes.
``My command was good and I threw my secondary pitches for strikes,' he said. ``It was a good outing. My sinker is there.'
The Royals have two rotation vacancies and Mendoza is trying to claim one of them.
``It is going to make it extremely difficult - as difficult as it's ever been for me, I think, as a manager - to pick a pitching staff at the end of spring training because we've got so many guys that are doing pretty darn good and have the ability to go out and make quality pitches on a consistent basics,' Yost said.
``It's early. We need to continue to see it evolve and continue to see it get better. They are sure headed in the right direction right now,' he said.
Butler, 7 for 15 with four extra-base hits this spring, homered in the fifth with Eric Hosmer aboard. Butler did not want to know his spring training statistics.
``Thanks for throwing stats out there,' Butler said. ``I didn't need to know that. Somebody has got to be the black cat. Don't even go there.'
Rockies starter Jhoulys Chacin gave up one run on three hits, including a bunt single, in three innings. He struck out three.
``I'm really happy with what I did today,' Chacin said. ``I'm real happy the way I was throwing my fastball. I was throwing my fastball for a strike, throwing it where I want to, up and down. That's going to be a key for me. I started using more of my breaking ball. I used a couple more today. I can't forget about my breaking ball. I didn't walk any guys and that's what I'm looking for. I want to keep doing that.'
Chacin would like to throw 200 innings this season.
``That's a challenge for me,' he said. ``Last year I couldn't throw 200 innings. It was just six innings (shy), but what I wanted was 200 innings. I just want to be healthy all year and get deep in the games, that's the way I'm going to make the 200 innings.'
Wood had three hits, including an RBI triple in the sixth.
NOTES: Royals RHP Joakim Soria was scheduled to work an inning, but was given permission to return to his Surprise home to be with his wife, who is ill. ... KC RHP Jonathan Broxton, who had arthroscopic elbow surgery Sept. 19 to remove a bone spur, will make his Royals debut in a `B' game Sunday against the Rangers. ... LHP Jamie Moyer will make his second Rockies start Sunday against the Chicago White Sox. Moyer, 49, did not pitch last season while recovering from a torn elbow ligament. ... Royals C Salvador Perez flied out and struck out in his two at_bats and is hitless in 12 at_bats.
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