Kansas City, Mo. Luke Hochevar figures he’d better go back to square one.
If it were up to the fans in Kansas City, he’d be going back to the minors.
The former No. 1 overall draft pick was battered for seven runs in fewer than three innings by the New York Yankees on Sunday. Robinson Cano had a grand slam and Nick Swisher homered two batters later to chase him from the game in the Royals’ 10-4 loss.
“When you give up a grand slam, that’s not what you want, but then again I need to get back to square one and figure it out,” Hochevar said, “and get things going and start helping this club and not be putting us in a hole early in the game.”
Hochevar’s ERA soared to 9.00 on the season. He was yanked after 2 1/3 innings, and has allowed 16 runs and 19 hits with four walks and a hit batter his past two starts.
Expected to be the staff ace, Hochevar has been perhaps the Royals’ worst pitcher — starter or reliever — so far this season. But he’s out of options, which means he’ll likely be given much more time to straighten things out before the team makes a drastic decision.
“Obviously, this is not where I want to be,” he said. “No, it’s definitely where I want to be. I need to get back to helping the ball club and doing the things I need to do to pitch deep into games and get outs. That’s the bottom line.”
Alex Rodriguez added a three-run shot in the eighth inning for the Yankees, helping them to a four-game split. The series began with a freak, season-ending injury to All-Star closer Mariano Rivera, but ended with the Yankees’ best offensive output in a dozen games.
“Great to see that from the middle of the order,” Yankees manager Joe Girardi said.