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Royals looking for Maurer to get on track

Reliever's struggles continued in Monday's loss to Tigers
MLB.com @FlannyMLB

KANSAS CITY -- The question of what the Royals should do with struggling reliever Brandon Maurer came up again prior to Tuesday night's game.

"He's got talent, and he has a track record, so to speak," Yost said of Maurer. "It's just been a struggle for him since when we got him."

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KANSAS CITY -- The question of what the Royals should do with struggling reliever Brandon Maurer came up again prior to Tuesday night's game.

"He's got talent, and he has a track record, so to speak," Yost said of Maurer. "It's just been a struggle for him since when we got him."

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Royals fans know full well of Maurer's struggles. Acquired at the non-waiver Trade Deadline last July from the Padres after nailing down 20 saves with San Diego, Maurer posted a disappointing 8.10 ERA in 26 outings with the Royals.

This year has been worse. Maurer had a 12.46 ERA through his first five games of the season and he was optioned to Triple-A Omaha, where he again pitched poorly. The Royals then outrighted him off the 40-man roster. He cleared waivers and went back to Omaha. His contract was selected in early June and he returned to the Royals.

But Maurer's woes have continued. Actually, he has been worse than before, posting a 15.26 ERA in 11 games since his return.

On Monday night, Maurer was called upon to protect a 4-2 ninth-inning lead against the Tigers because recently anointed closer Wily Peralta had pitched three straight games and was unavailable. Yost also didn't have left-hander Tim Hill. All three hitters to face Maurer got hits and scored, and the Royals lost, 5-4.

Maurer's difficulties are perplexing, as Yost pointed out, because his fastball velocity can hover in the upper 90s and he has a plus slider.

Yet at some point, Maurer's chances to succeed will expire if he doesn't right his ship.

"I wouldn't say I've given him a lot of opportunities," Yost said. "The guy was so bad [at the beginning] we sent him to Triple-A. How many times have I pitched him since?

"I'm waiting for him to perform. But I'm not handpicking save spots to put him in. I want him to get confident. For the most part all of our save opportunities have come with [former closer Kelvin Herrera] and once he left, Peralta."

Yost also noted, as he did on Monday night, that he only had a few options in the bullpen.

"This is an organization, this isn't all run by me," Yost said. "Decisions that are made in personnel are made by a bunch of people, not just me. We have thoughts and ideas about what's best for the organization.

"Last night was an opportunity [for Maurer]. I didn't have Peralta or Tim Hill. I had [right-hander Jason Hammel], who is new to the [relief] role and [rookie] Jason Adam, and someone [like Maurer], who has a track record. I would love for him to produce with the stuff he's got and have a clean inning, just boom-boom-boom ... just get three outs."

Duffy addresses more Twitter nonsense
A few weeks ago, Royals left-hander Danny Duffy responded to Twitter backfire over his choice to take long walks, sometimes even from downtown Kansas City to Kauffman Stadium. Duffy responded this time to a Twitter storm because he changed his Twitter handle last week to @duffman from @DuffKC41. Some fans on Twitter thought he might be sending signals he wants out of Kansas City.

"I think they freaked themselves out," Duffy said. "I didn't do anything. I just wanted that handle, and that's what happened. People will do anything they can to find something to talk about. I've made it pretty clear where I want to be, and that's here. So I don't think I need to say anything else."

Perez wins Heart and Hustle Award
Royals catcher Salvador Perez was voted by former players as the team's winner of the Heart and Hustle Award as the player who demonstrates the most passion for the game. Each of the 30 teams has a winner of the award, and the overall winner will be named on Nov. 8.

Jeffrey Flanagan has covered the Royals since 1991, and for MLB.com since 2015. Follow him on Twitter @FlannyMLB.

Kansas City Royals, Danny Duffy, Brandon Maurer, Salvador Perez