SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Pitching candidate Guillermo Moscoso came close to being part of Royals' history in 2011 while with the Oakland A's.
On Sept. 7, 2011, Moscoso was just four outs away from becoming just the third pitcher in history to no-hit the Royals. The only others were the Angels' Nolan Ryan in 1973 and the Red Sox's Jon Lester in 2008.
"I was working the strike zone very well, all four of my pitches were great," Moscoso said. "I give a lot of credit to [Kurt] Suzuki; he was the catcher that day, and when you have veterans catching, you can have a lot of success."
With two outs in the eighth, Royals catcher Salvador Perez lined a 2-2 pitch into right field for the first hit.
"I think he got called up a month before. But he's a great hitter, and you have to take your hat off to that guy," Moscoso said.
Moscoso went 8 2/3 innings that day at Oakland and gave up two hits in the A's 7-0 victory. That was the same afternoon that Royals right fielder Jeff Francoeur created a stir by throwing out A's rookie Michael Taylor at first base after fielding his line drive.
Moscoso was 8-10 with a 3.38 ERA for the A's that season but was traded to Colorado in 2012. He struggled with the Rockies (3-2, 6.12 ERA in 23 games) and was claimed off waivers by the Royals last Nov. 2. Moscoso wasn't too upset about leaving Colorado.
"It was tough," Moscoso said. "That park is so different because of the altitude. I'm a breaking ball guy, and breaking balls in that park don't break very much. You've got to get used to it."
Moscoso has pitched both as a starter and reliever, and he's willing to fill either role for the Royals. He started Saturday against the Rangers and pitched two scoreless innings in a 4-2 Royals win.
"I'm trying to do what I did in winter ball, working on the two-seam from last year with Colorado. I've had a lot of success with that pitch," Moscoso said.
Moscoso pitched this winter in Venezuela, going 2-2 with a 4.08 ERA in 18 games (seven starts) for Leones del Caracas.
Ramirez, Moore tally big homers in win
SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Two Royals catchers boomed lengthy home runs in Monday's 16-4 romp over the Arizona Diamondbacks. Too bad nobody had a tape measure.
Max Ramirez pounded a grand slam in the fifth inning, a drive that soared high over the center-field berm at Surprise Stadium. Adam Moore followed Ramirez to the plate, and Moore's ball landed on top the left-field berm and rolled toward the outer fence.
"I think that ball hit a car in the parking lot, didn't it?" the Royals' Billy Butler said of Moore's homer. "It literally might be one of the furthest balls I've ever seen hit."
The trajectory wasn't quite that far, but it was a blast, Moore's second homer in four games.
"Actually, when I hit it, I knew it was gone, but I didn't pay attention to where it landed," Moore said. "I just got a good pitch inner-half, fastball, 2-1 count and put a good swing on it, and the rest took care of itself."
Neither player was catching Monday. Ramirez took over at first base, and Moore inherited Butler's designated hitter slot. Both are non-roster players currently slotted behind catchers Brett Hayes and George Kottaras, considered the top two candidates to be Salvador Perez's backup.
Last season for Triple-A Omaha, Ramirez hit 17 homers with 77 RBIs and a .300 average, mostly as a DH. Moore split his injury-marred season between Triple-A Tacoma, a Mariners affiliate, and Omaha, and he had six homers in 59 games. Called up by Kansas City in September, he homered in his first at-bat.
Both Ramirez and Moore have seen limited Major League action at 28. They're long shots to make the KC roster.
"It's just four games, but you've got to make them all count," Moore said. "I feel good at the plate, getting pitches I can hit and seeing balls up in the zone. I know I've got to keep this going the rest of the spring."
Gordon scratched with tightness in back
SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Alex Gordon was scratched from the Royals' lineup because of a back problem about four hours before Monday's game against the Diamondbacks.
"A little back stiffness, it's right where your rear end meets your back. Went in and took some swings, and it was still tight," manager Ned Yost said. "This is way too early to be pushing anything, so we made a lineup change."
Xavier Nady replaced Gordon in left field, and center fielder Jarrod Dyson moved up in the lineup and took Gordon's leadoff spot.
Any concern over Gordon's condition?
"Zero concern," Yost said, then amended that: "One percent concern."
Gordon had played in two of the first three Cactus League games and was 2-for-4. He was scheduled to play Tuesday against Cleveland, but now that is uncertain.
Meanwhile, pitcher Francisley Bueno, who took a sharp ground ball off his left wrist in Saturday's game, had nothing more than a bruise.
"He's bueno, he's fine," Yost said.
Dick Kaegel is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.