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Royals' Ventura on track for regular Thursday start

By Andy Mccullough

McClatchy-Tribune

Rare is the day when Bruce Chen isn't armed with a joke. On Sunday morning, he mentioned to a reporter that he had heard about Royals starter Yordano Ventura's bullpen session on Saturday, and indicated the results portended "bad news."

Then Chen delivered the punch line.

"He threw really, really well," Chen said, grinning inside the visitors clubhouse at Rogers Centre before a 4-0 loss to the Toronto Blue Jays. "And that's bad news for the Cardinals."

For now, the fear surrounding Ventura's right elbow has faded. He will throw a more rigorous bullpen session on Monday at Busch Stadium, and the team has penciled him into his regularly scheduled appearance on Thursday against St. Louis.

"He's on track," manager Ned Yost said.

Ventura left midway through the third inning of his last appearance, on May 26. His elbow felt uncomfortable, the product of a valgus extension overload in the joint. An MRI verified the stability of his ulnar collateral ligament, and Ventura reported no lingering pain.

Now, he will just have to get back on a mound. The final test is today.

The team suffered in his absence. Aaron Brooks replaced Ventura in Saturday's blowout. He collected all of two outs, and yielded seven runs in the first inning. The meltdown forced Yost to raze his bullpen, a troubling decision, considering the team does not have a day off until June 12.

Hosmer makes 'aggressive mistake'

Eric Hosmer dunked a pop-up double in the sixth inning on Sunday. But he found himself thrown out at third during the next at-bat, when he tested the arm of shortstop Jose Reyes on a ball in the gap between shortstop and third base.

Yost called it "an aggressive mistake."

Hosmer was less charitable. He referred to his decision as "stupid."

"Just trying to be aggressive and make something happen," he said. "It didn't work out for us today."

Hosmer indicated later he misread the ball on the artificial playing surface at Rogers Centre. Grounders move quicker on the turf here, which allowed Reyes time to make the throw to third.

Yost declined to scold his player. "I thought that the ball was going to get through, too," he said.

Bueno officially back

The Royals completed some housekeeping on Sunday morning, optioning spot starter Aaron Brooks back to the minors and recalling lefty reliever Franciscley Bueno from the disabled list.

Bueno rejoined the club a day earlier, but waited a day before being activated.