Escobar nearly recovered, to sit out as a precaution

SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Shortstop Alcides Escobar, eager to return from a stiff back, played in a Minor League game for Class A Wilmington on Sunday while Royals pitcher James Shields got a workout.

"He was moving good, man," Shields said. "I think he had three doubles."

Actually, Escobar had two doubles as he went 2-for-3 and scored three runs. He had missed five straight days of the Royals' Cactus League games.

Catcher Salvador Perez also played, handling Shields against Milwaukee's Brevard County team and went 4-for-4 at the plate with two doubles, an RBI and three runs.

Although Shields had several four-out innings in the controlled scrimmage, officially he was credited with six innings while giving up no runs and two hits. Throwing 76 pitches (54 strikes), he struck out eight of 23 batters and walked one.

Mendoza boosts case for rotation spot

Mendoza on his five shutout innings against White Sox

SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Right-hander Luis Mendoza strengthened his bid for the remaining spot in the Royals' rotation on Sunday by pitching five shutout innings in a 10-0 victory over the White Sox.

Mendoza spaced out four singles, one in each of the first four innings, before throwing a 1-2-3 fifth. He threw 63 pitches, including 42 strikes.

"The first thing, I tried to establish my sinker in and just mixed in my curveball and changeup and that was my key today," Mendoza said. "I feel pretty good, definitely. But it's still early and I want to save my arm."

Mendoza is chasing left-hander Bruce Chen, who had a rough outing on Saturday against the Cubs, for the fifth starting slot. Lefty Will Smith and rookie Yordano Ventura are also still in the mix.

Although Mendoza is sometimes mentioned by manager Ned Yost as a "perfect long man" for the bullpen, the pitcher made it clear that he preferred starting.

"Of course I want to start, but any position they give me I'm going to take it and help the team any way I can," Mendoza said.

Yost liked what he saw on Sunday.

"He's doing his part," Yost said. "I've got a couple of weeks left to see what happens, but it was a very nice outing today."

Nate Adcock, J.C. Gutierrez, Dan Wheeler and Greg Holland each added one scoreless inning. The Royals hammered out 18 hits in the runaway.

"The pitching was good all the way around today. The hitting was good," Yost said. "It was a great day, there were positives all the way around. I was trying to find a negative there at the end of the day and I couldn't find one."

Nady sidelined with partial tear in right heel

Royals given options by signing Nady to Minors deal

SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Outfielder-first baseman Xavier Nady is hoping to play within a couple of days after sustaining a partial tear, on top of plantar fasciitis, in his right heel.

"It was bothering me and I took a couple days off and I ended up partially tearing it," Nady said. "So now it's more just wait a couple of days and let that swelling, hopefully, go away."

Nady hasn't played since coming out of Wednesday's game with the ailment. A 12-year Major League veteran, he's trying to make the club as a non-roster player. So far, he's 7-for-21 (.333) with a double and five RBIs.

"I'm hoping that it heals rapidly so I can get some at-bats and play," Nady said.

He planned to take batting practice on Sunday.

Collins back in camp after stint with Team USA

KC relievers should benefit from revamped rotation

SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Left-hander Tim Collins was back in the Royals' clubhouse on Sunday and dressed for the occasion. Never mind the green and white caps the team wore on St. Patrick's Day.

Collins was equipped with a tall, floppy leprechaun hat, a vivid green shirt and a pot o' gold, complete with chocolate-filled coins.

Is he Irish?

"A little bit," Collins said. "I'm a mutt: Irish, Indian, German and French."

Collins returned to the Royals on Sunday, along with first baseman Eric Hosmer, after playing with Team USA, which was eliminated in the World Baseball Classic on Friday.

"For the most part, it was good," Collins said. "It wasn't fun to lose, but I'm excited to be back in camp. I didn't get as much work as I would've liked to, but that's just how the tournament goes. They're out there to win and it doesn't matter if you get your innings or not, so that's why I'm excited to be back in camp, to get my work done."

Collins pitched in two games for a total of one inning during his two-week absence. He did get in several side sessions but missed work facing hitters.

"For me it was more about the competition of facing the hitters as [opposed to] going in the bullpen and working on stuff because I can do that all day," Collins said. "For me right now, it's facing hitters and how my stuff is working against the hitters."

Collins is scheduled to pitch in Monday night's game against the Rangers.

"I'm certainly behind most of the guys that have stayed in camp, but I don't think it's going to affect me," Collins said. "We've got two weeks left and I'll probably pitch three or four more times. That's usually about where I am at the end of camp -- seven, eight, nine innings, and right now I think I'm at four or five innings, so I'm not too far behind. There are guys that are a lot further ahead but, for me, I think I'm right where I usually am."

Counting his inning in the Classic, Collins has pitched four innings and faced 20 batters.

Yost talks a little friendly trash with his son

Ned Yost discusses the value of being well-rounded

SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Ned Yost IV, son of Royals manager Ned Yost, is the hitting coach for Milwaukee's advanced Class A team at Brevard County, Fla.

A couple days ago, the Brevard County kids got 18 hits and Ned IV was named "Coach of the Day" in the Brewers' camp. It just so happened that on Sunday, the Florida State League team was coming to Surprise for a game against the Royals' Class A kids.

So the senior Yost called his son on Sunday morning to give him some news, and this is how the father said it went:

Dad: "Hey, I just want you to know you ain't getting 'Coach of the Day' today.

Son: "Why?"

Dad: "Because I'm sending James Shields up to face you guys for six innings."

Son: "[Groaning] Great."

Dad: "Tell your boys to be ready to face the best changeup they've ever seen."

Shields, the Royals' top starter, was getting work in during a Minor League game to clear Cactus League time for other pitchers and, not so coincidentally, to avoid facing the Royals' opening series foe, the White Sox.

The Ned IV-coached Brewers obviously were eager.

"They were swinging, that's for sure," Shields said. "I think I threw 75 or so pitches and I ended up going 7 2/3. It was six innings but we kept adding extra outs. But I got some really good work in and threw some really quality pitches today. Started getting my curveball over for strikes, which I was very pleased with."

In short, Shields was going so good that, with the elastic rules in effect, he was able to get 7 2/3 innings inside of six.

"I figured that would probably be the case," the senior Yost said.