The Royals’ young pitching staff is in desperate need of help. On Sunday, they’ll finally get some.
Redman, entering his eighth season, was acquired by Kansas City (2-8) from Pittsburgh in an offseason trade, but has not pitched since tearing cartilage in his left knee early in spring training and undergoing arthroscopic surgery.
He went 5-15 with a 4.90 ERA last year for the Pirates, but received just 3.23 runs of support.
“He’s a little bit ahead of schedule,” manager Buddy Bell said. “It’s good to have him back.”
The Royals haven’t had much luck with their starting pitchers so far this year. Runelvys Hernandez reported to spring training overweight and was sent to the minor leagues to improve his conditioning, while Zack Greinke left the team at the start of camp to attend to personal matters.
General manager Allard Baird said after a Friday phone conversation with Greinke that he would return soon.
“Our bullpen is pretty well cooked after the Yankees series,” Bell said, referring to his team’s three-game sweep in New York heading into this set. “But I wanted to make sure (Redman) gave himself enough of a spring training so we didn’t have to worry about it over the course of the season. It’s good to have him back, he’ll solidify our rotation a little bit.”
As of Saturday, six Kansas City pitchers have fewer than three years’ major league experience.
Kansas City’s starters are 0-6 this season and have failed to pitch into the sixth inning in six of 10 games. Mike Wood allowed two earned runs and three hits in four innings Saturday, but the Royals’ bullpen blew a 3-2 lead in the seventh inning of the 6-3 defeat.
The Royals walked eight batters and have given out 35 in the past five games.
“It’s just the same old story every night,” Bell said. “We just walk people. It’s hard to explain. They just have to do better, it’s the big leagues.”
Kansas City has lost six straight to Tampa Bay and hasn’t defeated the Devil Rays since May 15, 2005. The Royals haven’t won in Tampa Bay since Sept. 22, 2004.
Center fielder David DeJesus returned to the lineup Saturday after missing the last six games with an injured left hamstring. He joins designated hitter Mike Sweeney, who started in Friday’s series-opening 7-2 loss after missing two games with a bruised right hand.
Ty Wiggington drove in three runs for the Devil Rays, who won for the fourth time when trailing after the sixth inning. Tampa Bay (6-6) is off to the second-best start in franchise history, behind the their 7-5 start in 1998.
“I like the concentration,” Tampa Bay manager Joe Maddon said. “Just the quality of the mental at-bats, that’s what I’m liking. The guys aren’t giving up. They’re not quitting. They know if we get down a couple points we can come back. It’s a nice feeling.”
Shawn Camp made his third career save and first since Aug. 1, 2004 in his rookie season with the Royals.
Jason Hammel will take the mound for Tampa Bay in the series finale. The 23-year-old right-hander made his major league debut on Tuesday, allowing seven earned runs and eight hits in 3 1-3 innings of a 8-4 loss to the Baltimore Orioles.
Hammel started in place of Mark Hendrickson, who remains sidelined with left shoulder stiffness.
“After the first couple innings I felt pretty confident,” Hammel said. “I’m disappointed with the outcome. I’m definitely looking forward to the next one.”