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Buchholz eyeing Triple-A rehab assignment

MLB.com @FlannyMLB

KANSAS CITY -- Right-hander Clay Buchholz, signed by the Royals to a Minor League deal during Spring Training, continues to build up his arm strength and is progressing toward a Triple-A assignment possibly within two weeks.

Buchholz remained in Surprise, Ariz., after camp broke to continue throwing side sessions and simulated games. He is scheduled to get his pitch count up to 60 on Wednesday in an extended spring camp game.

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KANSAS CITY -- Right-hander Clay Buchholz, signed by the Royals to a Minor League deal during Spring Training, continues to build up his arm strength and is progressing toward a Triple-A assignment possibly within two weeks.

Buchholz remained in Surprise, Ariz., after camp broke to continue throwing side sessions and simulated games. He is scheduled to get his pitch count up to 60 on Wednesday in an extended spring camp game.

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"We'll get him on a five-day rotation now," assistant general manager J.J. Picollo said. "Reports we're getting is he is looking really good. He's been pitching aggressively, good cutter so far. It's about just building his arm strength up."

Buchholz has a May 1 opt-out if he is not on the 25-man roster, so there is some urgency to see how he'll perform at Triple-A.

"Veterans like him will let you know when they're ready," Picollo said.

Buchholz, 33, was a two-time All-Star with the Red Sox. He was traded to the Phillies in 2016 and then started two games for them in '17 before needing surgery to repair a torn flexor tendon in his right forearm. Buchholz said in March the tendon was 100 percent healed.

The Royals also are monitoring the progress of right-hander Kyle Lohse, who signed a Minor League contract on March 31 and also has been throwing at extended spring camp. Picollo said Lohse, 39, is a little further behind than Buchholz, and just recently began throwing 20-pitch sessions.

Karns moving toward simulated game
Right-hander Nate Karns, on the 10-day disabled list with elbow inflammation, is still just throwing on the side and said he wasn't sure when he would be ready to throw a simulated game.

"There's still a little discomfort in there," Karns said. "It needs to be gone so I can put a finish on my pitches and be of help in the bullpen."

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

Kansas City Royals, Clay Buchholz