The 36-year-old Appier has not started since undergoing surgery to repair a torn flexor tendon in his right elbow Sept. 2. He last pitched Aug. 26 against Minnesota.
The veteran right-hander, picked up by Kansas City after getting released by Anaheim last year, spent his first 11 seasons with the Royals. He holds the club record with 1,456 strikeouts and ranks fourth in wins with 115.
“For a while, I didn’t even know if I was going to be able to,” he said about his return to pitching, “so the fact that I’m getting another shot is cool.”
Appier allowed just two runs over six-plus innings in his final tune-up for Double-A Wichita on Monday. He will be the first right-handed starter for the Royals this year after 10 straight outings by left-handers.
More importantly, Appier will try to become the first Kansas City starter to earn a win. Thus far, Royals starters have a combined 7.54 ERA.
Southpaw Jimmy Gobble was pounded for seven runs—five earned—and seven hits over five innings in the Royals’ 9-7 loss to the Twins on Friday.
“Sooner or later, we’re going to change this thing around,” said Kansas City manager Tony Pena, who spoke to his team with the clubhouse door closed after the game.
Minnesota’s lineup continues to be productive despite missing four regulars due to injury—first baseman Doug Mientkiewicz, center fielder Torii Hunter, designated hitter Matthew LeCroy and catcher Joe Mauer.
Lew Ford, subbing for Hunter in center field, went 3-for-4 with a two-run homer and a clutch RBI triple to lead the Twins to their third straight victory.
“We knew we were a little beat up,” Minnesota manager Ron Gardenhire said, “but that doesn’t mean anything because we’ve got some guys that can play.”