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TEX@KC: Ventura fans six in stellar spring outing

Chris Archer and Yordano Ventura will lock horns in Kansas City on Tuesday night, pitting two lively young arms against each other in what should be an exciting matchup.

Archer is coming off a solid six-inning performance against the Blue Jays in which he allowed two runs on four hits and two walks while striking out seven in his first start since signing his contract extension.

Despite his outing, Archer felt like he had "a lot of area where I could've improved."

"I have some room to grow from [his last start]," Archer said. "I did some things well. We put enough runs up where they were comfortable to leave me in till the sixth."

Specifically, Archer noted that he fell behind too many times in his first start.

"I was able to make pitches at critical times, but can't rely on falling behind 1-0, 2-0, leading off innings with walks," Archer said. "It's not going to fly, it's not the pitcher I want to be. I definitely need to get strike one, not being passive with my fastball."

Since the start of the 2013 season, the Rays are 13-1 when Archer has lasted six-plus innings in a start and 2-8 when he didn't.

Ventura will make his first start this season after being delayed when the Royals' third game of the season was rained out Thursday at Detroit.

Manager Ned Yost didn't want Ventura, with a background of just three starts last September, to be thrust into the home opener the next day at Kauffman Stadium. So his turn was skipped.

Ventura is best known for his blazing fastball that has been clocked at more than 102 mph.

"You still have to pitch," Yost said. "Does it help you? Yeah, absolutely. But it doesn't help you if you can't get your secondary pitches over for strikes. Then they just spit on everything and gear up for the fastball and wait for it, take everything else."

So Ventura has learned that variety is the spice of Major League life.

"I try to confuse the hitters," Ventura said. "I throw changeups, fastballs, breaking balls. Sometimes inside, outside, up, down."

Royals: Three rookies in bullpen
It could change quickly but, at the moment, the Royals have three rookies in the bullpen with Aaron Brooks, Michael Mariot and Donnie Joseph. Upon arrival in the last three days, only Joseph had big league experience and then only six brief appearances last year.

"It's not a disadvantage if they come in and do their jobs," Yost said.

During his coaching days with the Braves, a similar move worked out well.

"In Atlanta, we brought three rookies up at the same and threw 'em right in the fire and all three of them turned our bullpen around," Yost said. "You start somewhere with them. I've got confidence in all three rookies and we'll go with 'em."

One of the newcomers might have a short stay, however, if right-hander Louis Coleman is deemed ready to come off the disabled list. He's been out with a jammed finger and could come off the DL as soon as Tuesday."

Rays: Longoria making history
Last week, Evan Longoria tied Carlos Pena for the franchise home run record of 163.

That blast came with two aboard in Thursday night's game against the Blue Jays.

Longoria's milestone week continued Sunday when he collected his 202nd career double in the Rays' 3-0 loss to the Rangers, tying B.J. Upton for second place in club history.

Longoria moved past Upton on Monday night when he doubled off Kansas City's Jason Vargas in the second inning. Carl Crawford holds the team doubles record with 215.

Worth noting
• The Royals did not homer Monday night, leaving them as the only MLB team without a home run this season.

• James Shields' take on Ventura: "I mean, I'm going to tell you what. This guy has electric stuff. Stuff-wise, he's one of the best I've ever seen. This guy has thrown it 102 miles per hour. He's got an 86 mph curveball. He's got a really good changeup. And he throws it with ease. It's like effortless out there.

"He's got a lot to learn as far as pitching goes, but every time he went on the mound in Spring Training this year, you've got guys like Elvis Andrus and Prince Fielder stepping out of the box just laughing because of how good his stuff is. To see that is pretty special."

• The Rays were shut out for 17 straight innings over the last two games, snapped by Ben Zobrist's solo home run to lead off the ninth. Comments