Screen test shows Hillman something

How does a manager tell if his pitcher is losing something?

How about if he gives up a home run and then throws the next pitch about 10 feet over the plate and to the screen? That tipped off Royals manager Trey Hillman to Kyle Davies’ plight on Saturday at Goodyear Ballpark.

Davies gave up a fourth-inning homer to Beau Mills and his next pitch sailed high over Tony Graffanino. Oh-oh. Hillman went out for a mound visit.

“Man, my legs are gone,” Davies told the skipper.

And when a pitcher’s legs go, so does he. Hillman let Davies finish off Graffanino with a strikeout but then waved in Tim Hamulack from the bullpen.

“I was going to let him get out of that inning but he just flat lost his legs,” Hillman said. “He was right at 59 or 60 pitches – but the fastball sailed all the way the screen.”

Hillman was pleased with Davies’ effort. He finally gave up his first two runs of the spring but one was unearned. Also, Davies didn’t walk anyone, always big for a guy who has battled for command during his career.

“Third outing in spring is usually when you get that little dead-arm stage so your body has to catch up with how many innings you’re throwing but I feel fine, just like I’m supposed to at this time,” Davies said.

His legs should be stronger next time, too.

— Dick Kaegel

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