Athletics 7, Royals 2

BY foxsports • April 1, 2009

Sidney Ponson didn't do much to help his bid for a spot in the Kansas City Royals' rotation. Ponson gave up seven runs in five innings in the Royals' 7-2 loss to the Oakland Athletics on Tuesday, hours after Luke Hochever was optioned to Triple-A Omaha, eliminating one of the contenders for the final spots in the Kansas City rotation. Ponson looked strong in the three scoreless innings he pitched, but he said those were spoiled by allowing two in the first and five in the fourth. "It wasn't good at all," he said. "I gave up seven runs today. That's not what I wanted to do. That fourth inning I was behind everybody and everything was over the plate. I didn't throw the way I wanted to throw. I kept giving up hits, and everything went downhill." The Royals signed the 32-year-old veteran after his performance for the Netherlands in the World Baseball Classic. In two outings this spring, he has allowed 11 earned runs in 10 1-3 innings. "I'm not disappointed," Royals manager Trey Hillman said. "I didn't like the results, but I'm not disappointed in what he brings to table. ... We still saw stuff, pitchability." Hillman said he was encouraged that Ponson made an adjustment - speeding up his pace - after the rough fourth inning and pitched a scoreless fifth. Ponson is still likely to win one of the final spots in the Royals' rotation. Gil Meche, Zack Greinke and Kyle Davies are the top three starters. Ponson, Horacio Ramirez and Brian Bannister are the candidates for the fourth and fifth spots. "We still have more evaluation time," Hillman said. "We'll take it to make as wise a decision as we can." The A's also have six pitchers in camp competing for five rotation spots. Josh Outman, who would seem to be No. 6 on the depth chart, turned in one of his best performances of the spring on Tuesday. Outman gave up two runs in 5 2-3 innings, facing the same Royals team that pounded him for eight runs in 3 1-3 innings last week. "He threw the ball really well," Oakland manager Bob Geren said. "He pounded the strike zone and was very aggressive." Dallas Braden is scheduled to pitch Wednesday, which would put him in line to start the April 6 opener, but Geren still wouldn't name him the opening day starter. "We haven't finalized anything in our rotation," Geren said. Notes: A's RHP Justin Duchscherer underwent elbow surgery on Tuesday morning. It was an arthroscopic cleanup and Geren said everything went well. Geren said the A's still won't know how much time Duchscherer will miss until he starts throwing. He is expected to miss at least six weeks, though. ... OF Travis Buck's three-run triple gave him a team-leading 13 RBIs this spring. ... OF Ryan Sweeney returned to the lineup after missing two games with a sore quad. ... INF Bobby Crosby was scratched from the lineup because of a sore right hamstring. He said he will be able to play on Wednesday.

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