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Mendoza set for next start despite knee issue

Royals right-hander worked into seventh on Friday in win over Rays

ST. PETERSBURG -- Royals starter Luis Mendoza's left knee tends to get a little achy, but it's not expected to keep the right-hander from making his next start.

"He's probably going to make his next five starts," manager Ned Yost said, "so, just go ahead and write that in."

Mendoza set off some alarms in the second inning of his 7-2 win over the Rays on Friday night, limping as he covered first base on the first out. He stayed in the game and pitched into the seventh inning, but Mendoza was treated for a lengthy period in the training room afterward.

"They just treated me as a precaution," Mendoza said. "My last start, it was swollen a little bit, but it's nothing serious. They're just icing it and treating it."

Mendoza's knee was banged by the sliding Mike Trout of the Angels in the third inning on May 24 at Kauffman Stadium. The pitcher was covering home plate as catcher Salvador Perez recovered a wild pitch.

Fortunately, as a pitcher, Mendoza isn't required to do much running.

"No," Yost said, "but I do need him to throw strikes and it is on his landing leg, so when he starts the first inning and he's behind everybody, the natural progression in your mind is, 'Is his knee all right?' But, he settled down nicely after that."

Mendoza said the knee doesn't bother him when he pitches and is "100 percent good."

In his five starts with the banged-up knee, Mendoza has given up just seven runs in 28 innings (2.25 ERA).

"I watch it, I keep an eye on it," Yost said. "It gets a little sore after he pitches, but when he comes around again, he doesn't feel a thing. Which is good and that's what happens with a lot of these guys. They pitch and they're a little sore."

As the fifth starter, Mendoza missed some starts early in the season, but since going on regular rest in his last seven outings, he's 2-1 with a 2.70 ERA.

Dick Kaegel is a reporter for
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