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Royals call up Lamb for split doubleheader

Lefty has been working back from Tommy John surgery since 2011

CHICAGO -- John Lamb has gone through the strenuous recovery process since having Tommy John surgery in the summer of 2011. Now, he's been rewarded for his efforts.

Lamb was called up from Triple-A Omaha as the Royals' 26th man for Friday's doubleheader against the White Sox. The 25-year-old left-hander was eligible for the second game.

The No. 18 prospect in the country in 2011, according to Baseball America, Lamb spent his time since surgery struggling through the Minors as he regained his arm strength. This season in Omaha, he posted a 9-1 record with a 2.68 ERA.

"I feel a sense of relief, almost," Lamb said. "I'm just really excited to be out here around these guys in this clubhouse, in this environment. And if I get a chance, I get a chance."

"He's continued to develop, and he really was one of our top pitchers in the organization," Royals manager Ned Yost said. "He's battling back and he's getting back to top form now."

Lamb was named to the Pacific Coast League All-Star Game, but he did not pitch because of the callup. Yost said Lamb will be with the club just for Friday, but Lamb's family will join him for his first game in a big league uniform.

This season with Omaha, Lamb struck out 86 batters over 84 innings, and he has benefited from a slider he developed in Triple-A. But Lamb said he's benefited just as much from spending less time focused on the "business side," as he called it, and who could be sent down and who could be called up.

"I've never liked to play that game," Lamb said. "I have, and it's not fear-based driven, it's the reality of wanting to know my future. The more I've let go this season and stayed in the moment, I've had a lot of fun, I've had a lot of success with the relationships I've built around me."

Lamb joins a team that began the second half of the season leading the American League Central as it aims for another postseason berth. Kansas City is set to have a surplus of pitchers when starters Jason Vargas and Kris Medlen are activated from the disabled list.

"I think the reality says that you got to come in here and compete," Lamb said. "If you don't, they're going to find somebody who can. So that sense of pressure is not fear, it's that I just really want to help this club win."

Greg Garno is an associate reporter for
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