Royals’ Meche leaves with sore shoulder

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SURPRISE, Ariz. (AP)—Gil Meche(notes) pitched three innings Monday before leaving the Kansas City Royals’ 9-5 victory over the Chicago White Sox with a sore right shoulder.

Meche allowed three runs and four hits, struck out one and walked one. He threw 31 of his 56 pitches for strikes.

“The reason I came out was because I felt some stiffness in my shoulder,” Meche said. “I didn’t want to push it with the season coming up. It’s nothing serious. I did all the tests. They checked me out. The shoulder is strong, but the tightness is there.”

“There’s no pain going on, so I’m not worried about it. After the third, I told Mac (pitching coach Bob McClure), ‘Look, I don’t feel like I’m getting anywhere. I’m just going through the motions, let’s just shut it down and save it for later.”’

Meche was limited to 23 starts and 129 innings because of shoulder and back problems in 2009.

“Last year I did push through things and I know where that got me,” Meche said. “I want to make sure I feel 100 percent when the season starts. It’s a matter of me being smart right now. If I have it now, it’s OK, but I’m just going to make sure I do the right things, so it goes away.”

“When you get stiff on the mound, the next thing you know your neck is bothering you because you’re not throwing normal. I felt a little stiffness in my neck coming on, too,” he said. “I was like it’s not going to be worth it. I’m only going to make myself worse by staying out here trying to pitch.”

Meche was scheduled to throw five innings or about 70-75 pitches with only two more starts left in spring training.

“If I go out there throwing two more innings and not being free and easy, who knows what could happen?” he said. “I know I need to get a pitch count up, but if you don’t throw correctly that’s when injuries happen. The trainers agreed it was a good idea to come out.”

Jake Peavy(notes) was hit hard during his three innings for the White Sox, yielding seven runs and 10 hits.

Bobby Jenks(notes) followed Peavy and struck out one in a perfect inning. It was the closer’s first spring game since March 12 because of a calf injury.

Jenks missed the final 11 games last year with a sprained right calf, so there was concern when his calf bothered him in early March. Tests were negative on an MRI exam Saturday.

“My leg is going to be fine,” Jenks said after retiring the Royals in the fourth on eight pitches. “I’ll be ready for the season regardless. It was fine. It’s just one of those things where I’ve got to rest it and then go and see how it feels that day and if it’s fine, you go get ‘em.”

Peavy, who gave up a home run to David DeJesus(notes), threw 74 pitches in three innings and another 21 in the bullpen. Because the Royals and White Sox are in the same division and meet 18 times this year, Peavy did not want use his entire repertoire.

“I don’t like to go out and throw 90 pitches during a game against a team that I’m going to face five or six times during the year,” he said. “It’s no sense in showing in your hand.”

Billy Butler(notes) had two hits for the Royals, raising his average to .361. Wilson Betemit(notes) had two hits and two RBIs.

Omar Vizquel(notes), Alex Rios(notes) and Paul Konerko(notes) each had two hits for the White Sox. Josh Kroeger homered in the ninth.

NOTES: The Royals optioned RHP Gaby Hernandez(notes) to Triple-A Omaha, leaving 46 players in camp. … OF Rick Ankiel(notes), who has not played since March 11 because of a sore right ankle, could return soon to the Royals lineup as the DH. “I’m hopeful it’s in the next two or three days,” manager Trey Hillman said. … Royals 3B Alex Gordon(notes) hit soft toss throws Monday for the first time since breaking his right thumb on March 6. Hillman labeled it “iffy” whether Gordon would be ready for the April 5 opener.

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