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Zimmer happy with fastball velo vs. Giants

@FlannyMLB
February 27, 2019

SURPRISE, Ariz. -- While Royals right-hander Kyle Zimmer threw 1 2/3 scoreless innings in his first spring outing on Sunday, he did give up some hard contact then. That wasn’t the case on Wednesday as Zimmer tossed a 1-2-3 inning in the club's 15-2 loss to the Giants at Scottsdale

SURPRISE, Ariz. -- While Royals right-hander Kyle Zimmer threw 1 2/3 scoreless innings in his first spring outing on Sunday, he did give up some hard contact then.

That wasn’t the case on Wednesday as Zimmer tossed a 1-2-3 inning in the club's 15-2 loss to the Giants at Scottsdale Stadium. Zimmer recorded one strikeout along with two weak grounders.

Zimmer’s four-seam fastball also sat around 94 mph, which pleased him.

“Yeah, that’s great,” he said. “I’m happy with that. The last thing I want to do is overthrow. As your arm gets in better pitching shape, the velo will go up.”

Zimmer also continues to notice somewhat of a mystery pitch, which happened to be responsible for his one strikeout.

“I’ve been accidentally cutting some balls arm-side,” he said. “If I can command that and get natural cut, that could be a good tool if I can find out how to do it on purpose.”

Lovelady sharp

Royals left-hander Richard Lovelady, ranked as the club’s No. 16 prospect by MLB Pipeline, got two quick strikeouts on wipeout sliders. Then, he gave up three straight soft singles, permitting a run. But he was hardly discouraged.

“I felt a lot better than the first outing [Sunday],” Lovelady said. “I just got a little unlucky.”

There was good and bad to his slider, Lovelady said.

“To the righties it’s been tremendous for me so far,” he said. “For the lefties, it needs work and I can’t just lob it out there like I did when the guy got the hit. Usually it’s better to lefties, so we’ll be OK.”

Rough first for Ellis

Right-hander Chris Ellis, a Rule 5 Draft pick last December and hopeful of grabbing a spot in the bullpen, got roughed up a bit in his spring debut. Ellis, essentially facing the Giants big league batting order, gave up two doubles, a triple and two runs in the first.

“Of course I was a little amped up, first game of the spring,” Ellis said. “It’s a game of inches, for sure. I might have missed by a half-inch in some spots. Guys at this level make you pay.”

Ellis, though, settled down and put up a 1-2-3 second inning with a strikeout. That had a calming effect.

“It always makes me feel good,” he said. “After that first inning especially when you get smacked around a little. You blink and you give up two runs. Cal (Eldred) came up to me between innings and we talked about being a little more inside with my pitches. They were aggressive early, I was aggressive. I kind of was pitching the way they wanted.”

As for the movement on his pitches, Ellis said, “It was good but a couple of sliders didn’t end up where I wanted to put them. But I wasn’t all over the place. I was close to where I wanted to be.”

Up next

The Royals return to Surprise Stadium on Thursday at 2:05 p.m. CT to take on the Padres. Right-hander Jorge Lopez will start and make his spring debut. Left-handed newcomer Jake Diekman also will make his first spring outing. After that, Rule 5 Draft pick Sam McWilliams and Jason Adam, both right-handers, are slated pitch.

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