SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Luke Hochevar is keeping it simple, and it's confounding opposing hitters.
Hochevar struck out eight, walked none and allowed three hits in six innings as the Kansas City Royals beat a Los Angeles Dodgers split squad 2-0 Friday."Results are results," Hochevar said. "What I'm trying to do is go out and execute quality pitches. One pitch at a time, that's my focus. You can't promise results, but I can promise myself my focus. Breaking it down and simplifying it, that where my approach is."When you sit down and think about it, that's all you can do," he said. "Trying harder in this game doesn't work. Trying to do too much doesn't work. It's just simplifying it and just focusing one pitch at a time."Hochevar is 3-1 with a 1.29 ERA in four starts with 15 strikeouts and one walk in 14 innings."It was dynamic," Royals manager Ned Yost said of Hochevar's performance. "Bob Davidson, the home plate umpire, came over in the fifth inning and said, `He's ready to start the season.' He threw the ball extremely well. They all did. It was a good day for us pitching wise."Jonathan Broxton, Louis Coleman and Kevin Herrera held the Dodgers to one single after Hochevar left. Broxton, who is a candidate to replace closer Joakim Soria as the Kansas City closer, struck out two in a perfect inning. Soria is scheduled to have season-ending reconstructive elbow surgery on April 3."Broxton was throwing 95 to 97 with an 89 miles per hour slider," Yost said. "That's overpowering stuff, plus he's commanding the ball down in the zone and moving the ball in and out. It doesn't get much better than that."Hochevar said he was "really impressed" with catcher Humberto Quintero, who arrived in camp Thursday after being acquired in a trade with Houston."For never catching me, I felt like he did a fabulous job pitch calling," Hochevar said. "That really pumped me up. We were right on the same page all day long. He's good back there. That's very comforting as a pitcher."Aaron Harang took the loss, giving up a run on five hits and three walks in five innings."I felt all right," Harang said. "I felt a little inconsistent with some of my pitches. I felt like I was trying to do too much in certain situations, but for the most part I was able to locate when I needed to and keep their batters off balance.""I still feel like there's a couple of more things I need to do, just little fine tuning stuff I need to work on. But for the most part I feel I'm ready to go (for the season)."Jason Bourgeois, who was also acquired in the trade with the Astros, singled home Mike Moustakas, who led off the second inning with a double, for the first run. Eric Hosmer doubled to lead off the seventh and scored on Tony Abreu's sacrifice fly.
Hosmer, who has only played first base in the majors, made his debut in right field in the sixth inning and caught the only flyball hit his way in the ninth in foul territory. Yost said he wanted to see him in the outfield probably three times in spring training to possibly get both DH-1B Billy Butler and Hosmer in the same lineup for interleague games. "I'm not going to say it's going to happen," Yost said. "I'm just saying we want to be prepared if it does happens." .Former Royals manager and Dodgers bench coach Trey Hillman was the acting LA manager in Surprise. The Dodgers had a split squad with manager Don Mattingly making the trip to Tucson.