Gutierrez finding his groove in KC's bullpen
Righty aiding group with 20 2/3 consecutive shutout innings after Monday's win
KANSAS CITY -- The new guy in town as far as the Royals' bullpen goes is right-hander J.C. Gutierrez, a former closer for the Diamondbacks. Ex-starters Bruce Chen and Luke Hochevar are new to the 'pen, but they've been on the staff for years.
Only Gutierrez is new to the team this year and he's feeling very much at home.
"We've got a great bullpen and everybody prepares different ways to go out there and do their job," Gutierrez said. "We've got good guys that can go in the seventh like [Aaron] Crow and [Kelvin] Herrera, and closing by Holly [Greg Holland], and they've been doing a good job. All the guys like Timmy [Collins], Bruce, Hoch and myself, we're prepared to help the team get wins."
Gutierrez's moment during the five-game winning streak that brought the Royals into the Detroit series was two scoreless innings that finished up a 7-2 win over the Astros on Saturday night. He was so efficient that, in the eighth inning, he got three outs on four pitches.
"I've got to be prepared every single day," he said. "I don't know where I'm going to go in. I've got to keep focused every time the phone rings and I hear my name."
Those two innings contributed to the 20 2/3 consecutive shutout innings the Royals' bullpen had put together through Monday night's 3-2 win over the Tigers.
Unlike last year, Royals starters this season are eating up a lot of innings. That's enabled the bullpen to pitch just 152 innings through Sunday, the lowest total in the American League and a full 20 innings less than the Tigers, who have the next fewest.
"That's good, because when your starter goes deep in the game it helps your bullpen stay fresh, and that's good because it's early in the season and when you save your bullpen, by August and September that's going to make a big difference," Gutierrez said.
Manager Ned Yost likes the makeup of the seven-pitcher bullpen.
"As a whole, you look for consistency and, as a manager, you want to have a pretty good idea of what to expect when you bring a pitcher in," Yost said. "And our guys have all been consistent enough, so you've got a pretty good idea of what you're going to get."
Duffy struggles in latest outing for Omaha
KANSAS CITY -- Royals left-hander Danny Duffy had a less than desirable start to his rehab assignment with the Triple-A Omaha Storm Chasers on Monday -- allowing seven runs on seven hits in 2 1/3 innings. Of his 58 pitches, 33 were strikes.
Duffy, who is recovering from Tommy John surgery, was promoted to Omaha last Friday after pitching three games for Double-A Northwest Arkansas, where he was 0-2 with a 4.22 ERA.
Royals outfielder Jarrod Dyson, who is also on a rehab assignment in Omaha while he recovers from a high ankle sprain, stole four bases and scored two runs on three hits, including a double. Dyson sports a .214 batting average through four games.
Diamond Dreams will feature silent auction
KANSAS CITY -- A silent auction commemorating "Baseball's Greatest Moments" will be a feature of the annual Diamond Dreams charity event at 7 p.m. CT on Thursday, June 20, on the field at Kauffman Stadium.
Royals Charities announced that Diamond of Dreams: Taking the Field will benefit the University of Kansas Hospital's Neonatal Medical Home.
The auction will include such items as a Jackie Robinson autograph and photo display, a framed Hank Aaron autographed jersey and a Willie Mays autographed jersey and photo. There also will be a silent auction of Royals autographed items.
There will be appearances by current and past Royals and entertainment by Drew6. The emcee will be Brett Anthony of 41 Action News. Food and drink will be provided by several of the area's premier restaurants.
Before the on-field event, a VIP Party will begin at 5:30 p.m., featuring an exclusive silent auction of one-of-a-kind items. A limited number of tickets for this party are available for $250 per person.
The on-field event tickets are available for $100 and can be purchased online at www.royals.com/diamondofdreams or by calling 816-504-4149.
Also available are sponsorship and corporate packages, which include a private party tent and other perks. For information, call 816-504-4149.
The Neonatal Medical Home offers longterm primary care dedicated to premature babies and those born with complex medical conditions.
Dick Kaegel is a reporter for MLB.com. Kathleen Gier is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.