Less than two years after Kansas City acquired him as part of the Zack Greinke deal, Jake Odorizzi is set to make his major league debut.
As difficult as it was to send Greinke to Milwaukee in 2010, Kansas City acquired some impressive young talent. Alcides Escobar and Lorenzo Cain, who were also part of the deal, have already made an impact on the Royals this year.
Odorizzi hopes to have a similar effect on the rotation for 2013. The 22-year-old right-hander had a solid year in the minors, including going 11-3 with a 2.93 ERA for Triple-A Omaha.
"It'll be a huge day. You only have one first time out there," Odorizzi told the Royals' official website. "I'm going to have to take a step back, take it in and then take a deep breath and throw the first pitch of the game."
While Odorizzi is considered the Royals' top prospect, manager Ned Yost is keeping expectations realistic for his debut.
"This is not make-or-break, he's going to be on our team next year if he has a great start so I'm looking for nothing - I mean I'm looking for him to go out and just compete," Yost said. "And hopefully he can get us through five or six or even into the seventh inning with the lead. But making your first major league start, there's a lot of variables that go into it so you just want to get it out of the way."
Odorizzi will try to help the Royals (70-81) complete a sweep of the Indians following a 5-3 win Saturday. Kansas City has won seven straight in the series, outscoring Cleveland 45-22.
Billy Butler had three hits and his 100th RBI in Saturday's win, becoming the first Royals player to drive in 100 runs since Carlos Beltran in 2003.
"I think Billy is capable of being a huge run producer in the American League, that guy that's capable of having 120, 130 RBIs every year," Yost said.
Kansas City has won four straight, matching a season high. Another victory Sunday would match the Royals' win total from 2011.
The Indians (62-90), losers of 11 of 14, will send David Huff (1-0, 2.61 ERA) to the mound to make his second start of 2012.
Huff, who made two relief appearances earlier this month, gave up three runs and seven hits over 4 1-3 innings of a 6-5, 12-inning loss to Minnesota on Tuesday. The left-hander is 2-2 with a 5.70 ERA in his career against the Royals.