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Collins trying to build on last season's positive finish

Left-hander struggled in 2014, but closed strong

SURPRISE, Ariz. -- There were a lot of reasons to just forget about 2014 for Royals left-hander Tim Collins.

There was his shaky start to the season, there was a disheartening demotion to Triple-A in June, there was a nagging injury to his hip and so on.

But Collins, once the bullpen's top left-handed option, finally saw his season turn around in September, when he posted three out of four clean outings for the Royals. And then, even to his surprise, he made the postseason roster.

"That was a thrill just by itself," Collins said Saturday.

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But his biggest thrill came later, in Game 6 of the World Series. Collins entered the game in the ninth inning and shut out the Giants, setting up a Game 7 for the Royals. After he struck out Gregor Blanco for the final out, Collins pumped his left arm and then smacked his fist into his glove in celebration.

Granted, it was a 10-0 victory, so there wasn't exactly a whole lot of tension on the line. But Collins didn't care about that.

"It might have seemed a little over the top," he said. "But to pitch the final out of a World Series game, that was definitely a highlight of my career. It was exciting to me."

Collins is in competition with rookie Brandon Finnegan and veteran Franklin Morales for the left-hander's job in the bullpen this spring.

"There's always competition every year," he said. "You have to be ready."

Jeffrey Flanagan is a reporter for Follow him on Twitter at @jflanagankc.
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