Minor will make transition to Royals' bullpen

February 19th, 2017

SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Left-hander Mike Minor had high hopes of cracking the rotation last year when the Royals signed him to a two-year, $7.25 million deal.

Now, Minor simply wants to contribute any way he can.

Minor's 2016 season was spent entirely rehabbing from labrum surgery in '15. Each time he got close to possibly being activated to the 25-man roster, another setback kept him on the shelf.

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"There were a lot of good days, but it just didn't work out," Minor said. "I kept getting shut down with shoulder fatigue. ...

"I'd feel great for two or three innings, and then I'd get to four innings and I'd get fatigued. The ball wasn't coming out right and I was feeling sore there. Then afterward, I'd get achy in that area. It was frustrating."

This time around, Minor, 29, will make the transition to the bullpen. From 2010-14, Minor made exactly one appearance out of the bullpen. He knows it will be an adjustment.

"I'm pretty anxious to see how it responds in terms of the bullpen when you're not throwing as many pitches at one time," Minor said. "I don't think you truly recover when you're in the bullpen because you're throwing all the time. But hopefully it will help me build strength."

Minor said he was pain free all offseason as he went through his throwing and conditioning program.

"It's been good," Minor said. "I feel great right now. Everything has gone smoothly. It's been a good Spring Training so far compared to the last two years. I had the surgery in 2015 right after Spring Training. Last year, I was off doing my own thing still recovering and not really with the guys."

Royals manager Ned Yost said he hopes Minor's velocity, normally around 91-93 mph, might tick upward working out of the bullpen, as it did for other converted starters such as and .

"I've never been a bullpen guy so I don't know if that will happen," Minor said. "But I do remember even last year my velocity would be higher the first two innings or so. I don't know if it will be consistently like that but we're hopeful."

Losing his shot at the rotation isn't a big concern, Minor said.

"Not really," he said. "I just want to pitch. I just want to get back to the big leagues and pitch. I'm excited about it."