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Royals rotation still shaping up

SUPRIRSE, Ariz. (AP) — Manager Trey Hillman is still looking for a fifth starter for the Kansas City Royals rotation.

Zack Greinke, the 2009 American League Cy Young award winner, and Gil Meche will be the first two starters. Hillman said he likes Brian Bannister and Luke Hochevar in the next two rotation slots.

"It's really more of a question of five," Hillman said. "I haven't seen nearly enough. I would like to see somebody take the bull by the horns. Otherwise, we'll keep looking."

Kyle Farnsworth, Robinson Tejeda and Kyle Davies are the leading candidates for the final rotation slot. If no one steps up, the Royals did veteran right-hander Sidney Ponson back in 2008 or they look outside the organization.

Hillman said most managers have a "what have done for me lately" mentality.

"The No. 5 candidate that's been the best so far is Kyle Farnsworth, easily, with the hitters he faced and what he was able to do with locating and commanding his fastball," Hillman said. "It's really too early to say."

Farnsworth, who has been used strictly as a reliever since making five starts in 2000 with the Chicago Cubs, threw three scoreless innings Saturday against the Los Angeles Angels and allowed one hit.

Tejeda helped his cause Sunday with 2 1/3 scoreless innings against Oakland, while allowing one hit, walking none and striking out two. In his previous outing, Tejeda allowed five runs on four hits, including a home run, and three walks in two innings against the Athletics.

"You get beat up, the next time you have to beat somebody up," Tejeda said. "The opportunity to beat the guys who beat me last time. I was like, 'you know what, let's get even.'

"I was very aggressive with my fastball. If I can be aggressive with my fastball, I'm going to be fine. I understand one of my best pitches is my fastball and it's not easy to hit," he said.

Tejeda made 29 relief appearances last season before moving into the rotation in September. Tejeda, who prefers starting, took advantage by going 3-1 with a 2.84 ERA in six starts.

Davies is falling behind in his bid to remain in the rotation. Davies, who has made 99 major league starts, is 20-23 with a 5.03 ERA in 54 starts the past 2½ seasons with Kansas City.

"It goes without saying if you're going to make the team you've got to start showing you can command your pitches and get people out," Davies said. "And I haven't done it so far. I'm just working through things. I'm not frustrated at all."

Davies was roughed up in a start Sunday against the Athletics, retiring only eight of the 18 batters he faced, giving up six runs on seven hits, including three doubles, and three walks, while striking out none.

"I was told to pitch at a speed that I could command," Davies said. "I tried to do that all day. That's what spring training is for. I just tried to slow everything down and just command my pitches and they hit them and I walked three."

Pitching coach Bob McClure had Davies work out solely of the stretch.

"I was told to do it," Davies said. "They said I was making more quality pitches out of the stretch, so they wanted me to pitch from the stretch (Sunday). I'm not the coach. I tried to do something because the guy had been in the major leagues for 19 years and knows how to pitch. He's trying to help me and I'm trying to do stuff that will eventually help me."

After three outings, Davies has a 15.26 ERA, allowing 13 earned runs, 17 hits and six walks in 7 2/3 innings, while striking out two. Tejeda has a 9.95 ERA in three outings and Farnsworth 9.64 in two.

Meanwhile, Hillman keeps searching for the No. 5 starter.