SURPRISE, Ariz. (AP) — Luis Mendoza is making it difficult for the Royals to keep him out of their starting rotation.
Making his first appearance for Kanas City since pitching for Mexico in the World Baseball Classic, Mendoza combined with four relievers on a five-hitter as the Royals routed the Chicago White Sox 10-0 Sunday.
Mendoza struck out four, walked one and lowered his spring training ERA to 0.82 in 11 innings. He threw 42 of 63 pitches for strikes.
Mendoza is competing for Kansas City’s final rotation spot with Bruce Chen, who gave up five home runs Saturday against the Chicago Cubs.
“Of course, I want to start, but any position they give me I’m going to take it to help the team anyway I can,” Mendoza said.
Mendoza was the Caribbean Series MVP after pitching 13 1-3 scoreless innings.
“I’m 100 percent already,” he said. “I’m just trying to keep the same rhythm and keep working hard. The first inning I just tried to establish my sinker and the next inning mix in my curveball and changeup. I think that was the key today.”
He had not pitched since throwing two scoreless innings against the U.S. on March 8.
“Five very solid innings,” Royals manager Ned Yost said. “He’s doing his part. I’ve got a couple of weeks left to see what happens, but it was a very nice outing today. The pitching was good all the way around today. The hitting was good. It was a great day. There were positives all the way around. I was trying to find a negative there at the end of the day and I couldn’t find one.”
Nate Adcock, J.C. Gutierrez, Dan Wheeler and Greg Holland limited the White Sox to one hit the final four innings. Wheeler has allowed seven hits in eight scoreless innings over eight appearances, while walking one and striking out 12.
Kansas City had 18 hits, two each by Billy Butler and Alex Gordon. The Royals batted around in a four-run first inning that Gordon led off with a broken-bat single and included run-producing singles by Butler, Eric Hosmer and Jeff Francoeur.
White Sox starter Zach Stewart allowed seven runs, eight hits and three walks in 2 2-3 innings, retiring eight of 18 batters.
Chicago scratched catcher Tyler Flowers with lower back stiffness, while infielder Jeff Keppinger is limited to designated hitter because of a tender shoulder.
“It’s like every day it’s something else with somebody, but again the idea is to have them healthy when we are in Chicago,” White Sox manager Robin Ventura said. “We’re trying to be cautious to get them to that point where they are healthy and start the season and if they are ready, too. You’re a little short-handed and you are supposed to making decisions and guys are getting dinged up. You keep guys here a little longer and get a longer look at them.” NOTES: Royals OF-1B Xavier Nady remains sidelined with plantar fasciitis and a partial tear in his right heel. He has not played since Wednesday, when he was lifted for a pinch runner. … Plate umpire Dan Bellino issued a warning to both dugouts after Adcock’s first pitch in the sixth inning sailed behind Gordon Beckham. In the previous inning, Alex Gordon was hit by a David Purcey pitch. … SS Alcides Escobar has not played since March 10 because of lower back spasms, but is slated to return Monday, a day after getting two hits in a minor league game. … Kansas City reserve 1B Max Ramirez drove in a run with a single in the seventh in his only at-bat. He is tied with DH Billy Butler for the team lead with 14 RBIs.