James Shields’ spring training debut for the Kansas City Royals went by so quickly, he wound up in the bullpen to increase his pitch count.
Shields threw nine of 13 pitches for strikes in the first inning on Thursday’s 5-4 win over the San Diego Padres, helping the Royals improve to 6-0-1 in the exhibition season.
“It’s funny. There’s just something about a guy who’s your number one guy,” Royals manager Ned Yost said. “There’s just a special aura, and it was there when he was out on the mound. It was just really fun to see him out there.”
Obtained in December as part of the six-player trade that sent top prospects Wil Myers and Jake Odorizzi to the Rays, Shields has reached double digits in wins and 200 innings in six straight seasons.
He relied on fastballs and changeups, with his velocity topping out at 94 mph. He retired Will Venable on a groundout and Logan Forsythe on a flyout, then struck out Jesus Guzman.
Kansas City had Shields on a 30-pitch limit.
“It felt great to be out there again, rocking and rolling,” he said. “Spring training is a little early this year, so we wanted to keep things simple, really take our time with this thing. We have a long season to go.”
Padres starter Jason Marquis also made his spring training debut, allowing one hit in two shutout innings. Expected to be San Diego’s No. 3 starter, Marquis is working on adding changeups to his sliders, sinkers and cut fastballs. Former Padres closer Trevor Hoffman has given advice.
“I spoke with Trevor about the it, because I’m looking for a different look,” Marquis said. “Everything I throw is too close in velocity. The differential should keep hitters off guard. “You try to seek out the best for help, and Trevor’s the greatest reliever of all time.”
Padres closer Huston Street made his first exhibition appearances and allowed two runs and five hits, though few balls were hit hard.
Former Padres ace Tim Stauffer, pitched a scoreless inning in his first appearance since elbow surgery that forced him to miss all but one start last season.
Kansas City’s Johnny Giavotella had a single and two RBIs, and San Diego’s Alexi Amarista had a two-run double.
NOTES: Padres RHP Edinson Volquez is to make his last spring training start Saturday before joining the Dominican Republic for the World Baseball Classic. … Royals SS Eliot Johnson bruised his shin in Wednesday’s victory over Milwaukee and didn’t play Thursday. He doesn’t figure to be sidelined for an extended period.