Kansas City Royals manager Ned Yost believes there's still good baseball left from former No. 1 overall pick Luke Hochever, and that the starter can be the boost the rotation needs without having to add another pitcher from outside the organization.
Starting pitching is at the top of the Royals' wish list this offseason, as Bob Dutton of the Kansas CIty Star writes from Nashville, Tenn., site of the MLB Winter Meetings. The team has already traded for Ervin Santana from the Angels and re-signed free agent Jeremy Guthrie, but seem to lack a real front-of-the-rotation presence.
Yost has faith in Hochever despite the pitcher's struggles. He pitched to an 8-16 record last season while posting a 5.73 ERA in 32 starts. Still, the Royals manager sees a lot of promise in his player:
"I look for Luke Hochevar to bounce back," Yost declared Monday in his news conference at the Winter Meetings. "I really do. I think Luke has great stuff, and I feel good every time he steps on the mound. ... The optimist in me thinks he's going to have a great year."
Hochevar is 38-59 with a 5.39 ERA in parts of six seasons. He was the top pick in the 2006 draft.