Shields' first Royals outing easy as 1-2-3
PEORIA, Ariz. -- Things went perfectly in James Shields' first pitching performance for the Royals.
It was easy as one-two-three. A perfect inning of 13 pitches -- a ground ball to first, a fly ball to right, a called third strike.
"It's good to be out there again and rockin' and rollin'," Shields said.
Shields decided to work just one inning in the Royals' 5-4 victory over the Padres on Thursday, but then went to the bullpen to throw a simulated inning of 10 to 15 pitches. So his total workout was about 28 pitches.
"No breaking balls. I ended up throwing some cut fastballs, and obviously I was working my four-seam and my changeup as well," Shields said.
This, of course, marked the culmination of a 2 1/2-month wait by Royals fans to view the primary acquisition of the Royals' whopper of a trade with the Tampa Bay Rays. On Dec. 10, Shields, fellow pitcher Wade Davis and (as it developed) infielder Elliot Johnson came to Kansas City in exchange for four prized prospects.
The deal set up a new-look rotation that is supposed to put the Royals in a better place, standings-wise. And, at the moment, they do stand as the Majors' only unbeaten team in Spring Training.
"We've got a lot of good starting pitching around here. I think there's going to be a lot of anticipation every five days. So I'm excited about it," Shields said. "I watched Hoch [Luke Hochevar] and Bruce [Chen] throw yesterday, Wade threw the other day and I'm looking forward to seeing Ervin [Santana] tomorrow."
And, he might have said, Jeremy Guthrie on Saturday.
"We've got a pretty exciting team and hopefully we can compete every five days," Shields said.
Sticking around to watch Cactus League games isn't necessarily required but Shields wanted to educate himself about Hochevar and Chen, who are both battling for the fifth starting job.
"I'm a new guy and I wanted to take a look at their first outing and see how they are. I'm the type of guy that likes to talk to all the starters," Shields said. "I'm all about feeding off each other. There may be some things that maybe [pitching coach] Dave Eiland may not see and players may see. So I'm a big talker between starts and try to get everybody on the same page."
Shields was on a good page in his first outing for Kansas City.
"Shields was phenomenal," manager Ned Yost said. "It's funny, there's just something about a guy that's your No. 1 guy -- he's just got that special aura, and it was definitely out there when he was on the mound. It was just really fun to see him out there."