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Lopez (ribs) expected to start opener vs. Tigers

MLB.com

PITTSBURGH -- Royals manger Ned Yost said Wednesday he anticipates right-hander Jorge Lopez (left rib contusion) will make his next scheduled start against the Tigers on Thursday at Comerica Park.

Lopez threw around 50 pitches in a side session at PNC Park on Tuesday, and played catch on Wednesday afternoon. He's considered day to day, but continues to progress.

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PITTSBURGH -- Royals manger Ned Yost said Wednesday he anticipates right-hander Jorge Lopez (left rib contusion) will make his next scheduled start against the Tigers on Thursday at Comerica Park.

Lopez threw around 50 pitches in a side session at PNC Park on Tuesday, and played catch on Wednesday afternoon. He's considered day to day, but continues to progress.

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"He felt it a little bit, but got through it fine, which is a good sign," Yost said of Lopez's Tuesday's session. "Which means that he's still in line to make the start. ... I anticipate him making a start. Which doesn't mean he's going to, but I think he's going to."

Lopez exited Friday night's game against the Twins at Kauffman Stadium in the fifth inning after colliding with third baseman Hunter Dozier on a high-bouncing infield single from Willians Astudillo in the fourth inning. He told reporters his X-rays and MRI showed no fracture but that he was having difficulty breathing deeply.

Lopez said Wednesday he's feeling good, but the next obstacle is overcoming the discomfort caused by the injury.

"It depends how I feel. Tomorrow's going to be another day," Lopez said. "I think I'm going to make it. It's nothing that's really, really bothering me, but I'm still uncomfortable. 

"I try to have a better mindset. Because if you're uncomfortable, then sometimes it gets in your mind. So I feel like everything is going to be good."

Lopez has started six games for the Royals this season, posting a 2-3 record with a 4.64 ERA and 1.273 WHIP in that role. He pitched four scoreless innings last time out before allowing three earned runs in the fifth prior to exiting the game.

Mason Wittner is a reporter for MLB.com based in Pittsburgh.

Kansas City Royals, Jorge Lopez