KANSAS CITY -- Reliever Greg Holland began his injury rehabilitation assignment with Double-A Northwest Arkansas on Tuesday and pitched one inning as the starter against Tulsa. The right-hander gave up one run, but he faced just four batters and 15 of his 19 pitches were thrown for strikes.
"Obviously I didn't want to give up the run, but it's one of those things where I felt like I made a lot of quality pitches," said Holland, who was placed on the 15-day disabled list April 21 with a left rib bone bruise.
Holland gave up a leadoff single, and while he was retiring the next three batters, the runner moved up on a wild pitch and scored on a passed ball by catcher Julio Rodriguez.
"I haven't thrown to him much and I'm not a guy that throws a lot of pitches in the bullpen to warm up, so he didn't get to see me a lot," said Holland. "I think that played into the wild pitch and the passed ball, but overall, I think it went really well."
Manager Ned Yost watched the outing on MiLB.TV via computer in his office and was impressed by Holland's command and his velocity, which reached 94 or 95 mph. The hit was a bouncer up the middle.
"He got the first hitter 2-0, threw him a slider and he hit a four-hopper right up the middle," Yost said.
The run tagged Holland with the loss in Tulsa's 9-4 victory. He'll start again Thursday.
Arm feeling good, Broxton thrives as closer
KANSAS CITY -- Jonathan Broxton has a tough act to follow, replacing five-year closer Joakim Soria in the Royals' bullpen.
General manager Dayton Moore signed Broxton specifically for a setup role, but his history as an All-Star closer for the Dodgers was a factor, just in case. Sure enough, during Spring Training, Soria underwent Tommy John surgery and is out for the season. Broxton's experience earned him the first shot as the replacement, and in his first seven save opportunities, he's converted six. The last came on Tuesday night, as he preserved a 6-4 win over the Red Sox.
"My arm feels good, I'm going out there and just taking the ball every time they give it to me," Broxton said. "I hate what happened to Jack, but as a team, you're going to have injuries and people that struggle, so you've just got to be able to fill in when you need to. I just thank Dayton for giving me a chance to come here, and I know it's not the role he wanted to put me in right off the get-go. So I'm going out there and giving it everything I have every day."
Broxton's pitches have been lighting up at 95-97 mph on the scoreboard radar readings, so his velocity, following elbow surgery last September, seems to be back.
"Velocity's just a number, you've still got to hit spots and be able to locate pitches," he said. "But my arm feels good, I'm bouncing back fine and they haven't really pushed me yet, so we'll see. I've just been going out there every day and pitching like it's my last."
After Tuesday night's perfect ninth inning, Broxton had a 1.69 ERA in 11 games.
His fellow relievers include Kelvin Herrera and Tim Collins, both 22; Nate Adcock, 24, and Aaron Crow and Vin Mazzaro, both 25. Broxton and Jose Mijares are 27, and Luis Mendoza is 28.
"It's a definitely a very young bullpen, younger than anything I've ever been a part of, but there's so much talent down there," Broxton said. "As soon as they put it together and learn how to pitch and learn the batters and learn how to handle situations, it's going to be very special up here -- especially in the 'pen. The whole team's young and there's always a bright side to it. I know we've haven't started out like we wanted, but we've got a lot more season to go."
The young pitchers used to go to Soria for veteran guidance. Do they consult Broxton these days?
"I hate to give them too much information right off the get-go," Broxton said with a grin. "I make them work a little bit."
Broxton believes there's not only special talent in the bullpen, but throughout the entire Royals roster.
"The whole team, there's not just one area," he said. "If they ever hit it on all cylinders, watch out."
Mazzaro called up; Hottovy sent to Triple-A
KANSAS CITY -- Right-hander Vin Mazzaro's recall Tuesday was prompted by the Royals' problems with their starting pitching, but he's not going into the rotation -- at least not yet.
Mazzaro, a starter with Triple-A Omaha, was brought up to work in the bullpen. Left-handed reliever Tommy Hottovy was sent back to Omaha to make room for Mazzaro, who had a 1-0 record and a 4.37 ERA in six starts for the Storm Chasers.
"I've been in the bullpen a few times, so I've done it and know what it takes, so it shouldn't be that bad of a transition for me," Mazzaro said.
In the past two games, the Royals have been forced to use both of their long relievers, Luis Mendoza and Nate Adcock, when starters Luke Hochevar and Jonathan Sanchez were knocked out early in the game. Mazzaro, who last pitched on Thursday, would be available to provide multiple innings out of the 'pen against the Red Sox.
"We needed some more length in the bullpen," manager Ned Yost said. "We have expended our two long guys the last two days, and if something happened today unforeseen -- I think Danny Duffy's going to out and throw a good game -- you've always got to protect yourself in case of a line drive off a shin or something like that in the second inning. And we couldn't absorb that with no long guys."
Hottovy worked in five games with no record and a 3.38 ERA since being called up from Omaha on April 25.
"Hottovy did a nice job here, but it was a luxury, three left-handers," Yost said. "These guys have two [lefty hitters] on their club. There's two guys probably in the next two series for each team, so we have enough lefties to handle that. We needed some length."
Mazzaro, 25, was acquired from Oakland prior to the 2011 season in a trade that sent outfielder David DeJesus to the A's. Last season for the Royals, Mazzaro appeared in seven games (four starts) and had a 1-1 record and 8.26 ERA. He spent most of the year at Omaha and was 7-2 in 22 starts.
Dick Kaegel is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.