Medlen, Duffy to test arms Thursday with sim games

Kris Medlen is recovering from a second Tommy John surgery performed in March 2014. He'll pitch a three-inning simulated game Thursday against big-league hitters.

Mark J. Rebilas/Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — For Kris Medlen, three outs sometimes haven’t been enough as he recovers from Tommy John surgery.

Medlen, who has been throwing in Arizona as part of the Royals’ extended spring training, was in Kansas City’s clubhouse Tuesday. Medlen is in town for a three-inning simulated game Thursday against big-league hitters. He will leave Kansas City at the end of the six-game homestand.

But in Arizona, Medlen has been forced into some five-out innings because the young, overzealous hitters have swung too often, not giving him a chance to work his count. Most recently, he threw 31 pitches on Saturday in a two-inning stint.

"I feel really good," Medlen said. "Fastball location is there. We’ll see Thursday. It’s going to be in a big-league stadium against a couple of our guys. Adrenaline. I’ll just try to stay under control and keep doing what I’ve been doing, and realize that I’m not back yet. I just need to get my work in."

Medlen said he was pleased with his fastball velocity as well as his curveball. He said his changeup has been inconsistent, sometimes in the mid-80s and other times hovering around 82 mph, where he wants the pitch.

Medlen — signed by Kansas City to an $8.5 million, two-year deal — has typically taken two or three days of rest between facing hitters. He has been throwing light side sessions to fine-tune his mechanics. He expected the days of rest to increase as his arm adjusts to more pitches.

Medlen said his first time through a pair of two-inning outings was encouraging.

"Recovery was a little bit slower (the first time)," Medlen said. "The next day, I was like, ‘Whoo.’ I did back-to-back outings of two innings and it felt so much better that second time."

Royals manager Ned Yost said Medlen was "pretty much on schedule" to return from his second Tommy John surgery. Medlen underwent his most recent procedure in March 2014 after previously going under the knife in August 2010.

Medlen’s role with the club — as starter or a reliever — is undetermined. He filled both roles in Atlanta with nearly identical numbers: 2.96 ERA and .246/.293/.381 as a starter, and 2.92 ERA and .246/.299/.346 as a reliever.

Duffy sim game scheduled

Left-hander Danny Duffy will also throw a simulated game Thursday, which Yost estimated would last two innings.

Duffy is on the 15-day disabled list with left biceps tendinitis after he was scratched from a start with left shoulder stiffness. He completed bullpen sessions Friday and Sunday in Chicago and Tuesday in Kansas City.

Minor league update

Outfielder Lane Adams was transferred from Triple A Omaha to Double A Northwest Arkansas on Tuesday.

Adams — who is on Kansas City’s 40-man roster — began the year in Northwest Arkansas and moved up to Omaha when Brett Eibner got hurt. When Moises Sierra returned off the disabled list Tuesday, Adams was sent back to Double A.

Northwest Arkansas first baseman Balbino Fuenmayor won Texas League Player of the Month honors after hitting .391 in May. He led the Texas League in average, runs (21), hits (45), slugging percentage (.696) and OPS (1.114). Fuenmayor also hit eight home runs.

You can follow Matthew DeFranks on Twitter at @MDeFranks or email him at matthew.defranks@gmail.com.