KANSAS CITY -- Right-hander Luis Mendoza will start on Friday night against the Toronto Blue Jays, but he'll be skipped on the next turn of the rotation because of three off-days in an eight-day period starting on Monday.
The weekend series with the Blue Jays will feature an intriguing matchup on Saturday night, when Royals' No. 1 pitcher James Shields will be opposed by R.A. Dickey, the knuckleballer who won last year's National League Cy Young Award with the Mets.
Ervin Santana will start Sunday's game against the Blue Jays and, after an open date, Jeremy Guthrie and Wade Davis will start in a two-game series at Atlanta. Then, Shields will come back after five days' rest instead of the usual four to pitch on Friday at Boston. Manager Ned Yost didn't want Shields to go after six days' rest, which would be the case if Mendoza was included.
Yost feels Holland is back on right track
KANSAS CITY -- Struggling Royals closer Greg Holland might be onto something.
"He figured something out last night, I think," manager Ned Yost said on Wednesday.
Yost referred to Holland's escape from a self-inflicted, bases-loaded situation that included two walks. Holland struck out the Twins' Joe Mauer to end the game in a 7-4 Royals victory -- logging his second save.
Yost figured that Holland's approach, in two rough outings at Philadelphia and early on Tuesday night, was wrong.
"It happens -- you lose your closer's mentality," Yost said. "You start looking at the game situation -- OK, I've got a two-run lead or a three-run lead and I need to throw strikes here, instead of going with the mindset that, hey, it's a one-run game no matter what the score is and coming in on the attack, boom-boom-boom with all your pitches."
In short, Holland was just trying to place his fastballs for strikes instead of aggressively using his full assortment of pitches. Holland tended to agree and said he readjusted his approach against Mauer.
"My mindset was to get ahead so I can use all my pitches, which I haven't done the last few outings," Holland said. "I was so [focused] on getting ahead with my fastball that I haven't pitched like I pitched in years past, when I would throw any pitch in any count."
Holland stranded the three runners in rain and poor footing.
"What he did was pretty amazing, to get through that inning as hard as it was raining and as muddy as it was," Yost said. "It's like trying to pitch in snowshoes."
After Holland slogged through the mud and threw 27 pitches in the perilous ninth inning, Yost decided that if a save opportunity arose in Wednesday night's series finale, he'd opt for Kelvin Herrera. That would give Holland a chance to rest up for the Toronto series.
That came as a surprise to Herrera.
"I didn't know that," he said.
Herrera worked a scoreless ninth, pitching around a Mauer double with three strikeouts, getting the save in a 3-0 victory. But Yost emphasized that Holland's status had not changed.
"Greg Holland's our closer, so there's no question there," Yost said. "When he's right, he's as dominant a closer as there is in the American League."
Moustakas, Kottaras proud of Greek heritage
KANSAS CITY -- Third baseman Mike Moustakas and catcher George Kottaras are flying the flag -- the flag of Greece, that is.
The Greek flag is hanging above their dressing stalls in the Royals' clubhouse as they take note of their heritage.
"Moose had it in the back of his locker. He said he had one and I said, 'Pop it out,'" Kottaras said.
Kottaras' parents were born in Greece, but settled in the Toronto area where he was born. Moustakas is from the Los Angeles area, but his grandmother was born in Greece.
"I don't know how many times you've had two Greek guys in the same clubhouse on the same team," Kottaras said. "And they put us next to each other, which makes it even better."
Kottaras played for Greece's baseball team in the 2004 Olympics. Why didn't Moustakas join him?
"I was only about 14 years old then," Moustakas said.
Royals players excited to attend '42' screening
KANSAS CITY -- Several Royals players plan to attend the advance screening of the Jackie Robinson movie "42" on Thursday night at the BarryWoods 24 theater in Kansas City.
The movie's stars, Harrison Ford and Chadwick Boseman, are expected at the event, which will include a red carpet reception and a panel discussion with sports writer Joe Posnanski and David Robinson, son of Jackie.
"This will be my first red carpet," said Royals pitcher Bruce Chen, who was debating over what to wear.
"No jeans," he was told. "I may go suit and no tie."
Chen has heard positive reports about the baseball drama about Robinson breaking baseball's color line.
"It's very inspirational," Chen said. "The guy had to be so good and prepared to put up with a lot of stuff. He knew that if he messed up, it could actually postpone the time that other players could come."
Outfielder Jarrod Dyson pondered some grooming.
"I've got to get a haircut at some point," Dyson said.
Dyson was eager to see the story of the Brooklyn Dodgers' pioneer.
"I just know that guy went through a lot for us guys today in this game of baseball," Dyson said. "I appreciate everything he had to go through. He made it a lot easier for all of us African-Americans in baseball."
Other Royals on the guest list include Billy Butler, Lorenzo Cain, Jeremy Guthrie, Eric Hosmer, George Kottaras, Luis Mendoza and Mike Moustakas.
The event benefits the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum in Kansas City and the Kansas City Sports Commission. Robinson played for the Kansas City Monarchs before being signed by the Dodgers.
Royals draw large TV audience on Tuesday
KANSAS CITY -- The turnstile count was down at Kauffman Stadium on Tuesday night -- there were 11,697 fans at the Royals' rainy 7-4 victory over the Twins -- but TV interest was high.
FOX Sports Kansas City reported that the preliminary household rating was 7.2, according to Nielsen Media Research. That's the second-highest rating ever for a Royals game on FOX Sports KC. The telecast peaked at 8.9 or 83,000 households in Kansas City.
Of roughly 900 Royals telecasts in 11-plus seasons on FOX, the highest was the May 6, 2009, game against the Mariners which pulled a 7.49 rating.
Dick Kaegel is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.