December 3, 2022

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Lynch earns 5th spot, likely to start Tuesday; Singer to bullpen

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KANSAS CITY — Manager Mike Matheny announced Thursday that Daniel Lynch will be the Royals’ fifth starter and will likely start Tuesday’s game against St. Louis, finalizing Kansas City’s rotation as Zack Greinke, Brad Keller, Kris Bubic, Carlos Hernández and Lynch, in that order.

Lynch revamped his curveball this spring and commanded the ball well, earning the fifth spot in the rotation in the final days of the Cactus League schedule.

“Very, very pleased with the progression Daniel made,” Matheny said. “Thought he did a very nice job of working on things that he needed to work on, be more consistent with all four pitches. Exactly what we asked for — pounding the strike zone, controlling the running game, repeating his mechanics.”

Naming Lynch to the rotation also means Brady Singer will be in the bullpen to start the year, alongside Jackson Kowar. The two will be available for multiple innings if needed, or Matheny can use them in shorter stints.

“We see [them] as starters. Both of [them],” Matheny said. “Going into this shortened spring, we didn’t know how many guys we were going to need stretched out, but we are very happy with the progression of all our pitchers. We’re still going to need some guys who can pick up innings for us.”

Singer has been a starter for the Royals for the past two seasons, following his debut in 2020. Drafted No. 18 overall in the 2018 Draft, the right-hander has a career 4.62 ERA over 39 starts and 192 2/3 innings. Appearing out of the bullpen will be different from the routine-oriented starting role — and he acknowledged the news of his role was disappointing but one he accepted.

“Different role than I’ve ever done,” Singer said. “I think Mike mentioned the hybrid role, so kind of long or short, whatever they need. They mentioned this is where I’m going to be to help the team. I agreed with that. That’s fine. Obviously, I want to be a starter. But this is where I’m going to help the team, so this is where I’m going to be.”

Matheny added: “It’s not what he came in here for, so we can’t expect him to be excited about it. He’s excited about being on this team and being able to help us win. He was a starter for the last two years. It’s hard. We acknowledge that. But still let him know that we see him as a starter. This is where we are right now.”

Singer came out of the bullpen some during his freshman year at Florida before moving to the rotation full-time. He’s anticipating having to get used to being ready to pitch as needed instead of every fifth day, as well as making sure he stays sharp and stretched out on the days he doesn’t pitch.

“Obviously, I’m a lot more routine-oriented now,” Singer said. “That’s going to be the difficult thing, being a starter and going every five days, knowing what I’m going to do every single day. So it’s a little different now. I’m figuring it out. We’re going to get it done.”

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