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Smith feels good, wants to throw more strikes

Right-hander fires 2 scoreless innings, fans side vs. Mariners
MLB.com @FlannyMLB

PEORIA, Ariz. -- Right-hander Burch Smith, a Rule 5 Draft selection trying to crack the roster in the bullpen, pitched two more scoreless innings on Thursday.

Yet, Smith walked away rather displeased with his outing. The Royals stayed unbeaten in the Cactus League with a 4-3 win over the Mariners. Jorge Soler hit a two-run homer, his third of the spring.

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PEORIA, Ariz. -- Right-hander Burch Smith, a Rule 5 Draft selection trying to crack the roster in the bullpen, pitched two more scoreless innings on Thursday.

Yet, Smith walked away rather displeased with his outing. The Royals stayed unbeaten in the Cactus League with a 4-3 win over the Mariners. Jorge Soler hit a two-run homer, his third of the spring.

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Royals Spring Training: Info | Tickets | Schedule

"I felt good, health-wise," he said. "But I have to throw more strikes with all my pitches. Got to be better."

:: Spring Training coverage presented by Camping World ::

Smith threw 46 pitches, 23 for strikes. But he did manage to strike out four batters, including the side in the second.

And Smith worked out of a one-out, first-and-third jam in the first when he got Nelson Cruz to pop out and Kyle Seager to ground out. That did make Smith smile.

"Absolutely it felt good," Smith said. "Whenever you can get out of a jam like that, especially against a good lineup, it's good."

So what was Smith, who has a 0.00 ERA through two starts, concerned about overall?

"Everything," he said. "Fastball, changeup, curveball. Spotty command. ... I'll just wipe it [clean], learn from it."

Friends square off?
Left-hander Danny Duffy makes his spring debut on Friday, possibly against a familiar face -- Eric Hosmer, now of the Padres. Duffy hopes that Hosmer is in the lineup.

Video: Ned Yost on expectations for Danny Duffy

"I faced him once many, many years ago down here in camp," Duffy said. "He got me. He hit like a 500-foot home run off me on one of the back fields. I need to square things up."

Zimmer nearing action
Right-hander Kyle Zimmer, who had a surgical procedure last fall to take out some old sutures, reports he is throwing pain-free and with ease. He said he will throw at least two more batting practices and then perhaps be ready for game action sometime next week.

Camp battles
It's generally assumed that Cheslor Cuthbert will grab the starting job at third base. But he is off to a slow start. He did hit a double on Thursday in his first at-bat, but he promptly got picked off second. He also has been thrown out at home this spring and he has committed two misplays in the field.

Outfielder and left-handed-hitting Michael Saunders, a non-roster invite, endeared himself to the coaching staff by beating the shift and singling sharply to left.

Video: KC@SEA: Yost on strong pitching showing from Royals

Right-hander Jesse Hahn, vying for a rotation or bullpen spot, gave up three runs in two innings, but he pitched far better than his linescore. Two of the hits were jam shots, and the Royals also missed a routine double play that allowed a run to score.

Up next
Watch on live MLB.TV as Duffy, likely the Royals' Opening Day starter, starts Friday's Cactus League clash against the Padres at 2:10 p.m. CT in Peoria, Ariz. Also expected to throw for the Royals are right-handers Trevor Oaks, Scott Barlow, Sam Gaviglio and Scott Blewett, and left-hander Tim Hill.

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

Kansas City Royals, Cheslor Cuthbert, Danny Duffy, Burch Smith, Kyle Zimmer