SURPRISE, Ariz. — Extra-inning spring training games are not the preference of most big league players.
Kansas City Royals reliever Peter Moylan, however, was happy when the game Saturday went into the 10th inning.
“I was very glad it went an extra inning,” said Moylan, which allowed him to pitch.
Moylan threw a scoreless 10th inning as the Royals and a Cleveland Indians split squad played to a 4-4 tie. Pinch-hitter Peter O’Brien tied with an opposite-field home run in the bottom of the ninth. O’Brien leads the Cactus League with six home runs.
“That’s just what he does,” Moylan said. “I said in the bullpen, he’s coming up so we have a chance to tie this one up. He’s insane.”
Moylan was an effective reliever in the Royals bullpen last season, but as a free agent his phone was silent.
“You’ve got to look at from their point of view,” Moylan said. “I’m 38. In as much as I felt like I had a good year last year, it was the first time I was able to throw consistent innings for a few years. I think teams are sort of looking at it like was that a freak year. It’s my job to prove that it wasn’t.”
In six appearances, covering six innings, Moylan has allowed one run. He also threw two scoreless innings, striking out three Cubans for Australia in the World Baseball Classic.
“I had a week off to go to the WBC, which was good,” Moylan said. “It wasn’t too long away and I was able to come back and continue what I was doing. That’s all I can do is go out there and show them that I can still pitch at this level and get guys out. Hopefully, they like what they see again and we’ll see what happens.”
Moylan agreed to a minor league contract in February with the Royals after spring training had already started. He will make $1 million if he makes the club and has a chance for another $250,000 in incentives. Moylan also has a March 28 opt-out clause if he is not added to the 40-man roster.
The Royals have a bullpen opening, but Moylan said he does not look at his chances to make the team.
“I’m too old to be worrying about that sort of thing,” Moylan said. “I’d like to think I have a good a chance as the next guy to make the team, but it’s all going to come down to the way I throw the ball and what kind of arms they want in the pen. It’s out of my control except for what I can do on the field.”
Moylan was a non-roster invitee to the Royals’ 2016 camp, but allowed eight runs on 10 hits, seven walks and two hit batters in 12 innings.
“Last year in spring training I don’t think I threw a strike in the first six games,” Moylan said. “I put too much pressure on myself last year. The last time I was in spring training in Arizona with the Dodgers, I didn’t have as much sink on my sinker, so it came into my mindset that I had to try to make the ball sink. I changed my delivery. My arm angle was lower.”
“I learned from that. I decided to do what I do and not worry about trying to make the ball sink and let the ball sink. It was not a good spring training last year. This year I feel good. I’ve been working on a few different pitches. This is the time to do it and luckily I’ve been having some success with it.”
Moylan went 2-0 with a 3.43 ERA in 44 2/3 innings with the Royals in 2016 after starting the season with Triple-A Omaha, where he compiled a 0.71 ERA in 12 games.
“My experience last year here was as good as I had in the big leagues,” he said. “Obviously, it’s a key reason why I wanted to come back.”