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’s 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 earned-run average 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 pitchingwise.”
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.