Royals ace Gil Meche didn’t pitch around Manny Ramirez on Friday. If he had, the Dodgers wouldn’t have gotten a hit that reached the outfield grass.

Royals ace Gil Meche didn’t pitch around Manny Ramirez on Friday. If he had, the Dodgers wouldn’t have gotten a hit that reached the outfield grass.
Meche worked seven scoreless innings and allowed four hits – three singles Ramirez – as the Royals beat the Los Angeles Dodgers 4-1 Friday.
It was the best outing of the spring for Meche, who entered with a 10.45 ERA over 10 1-3 innings in the Cactus League. He struck out six and walked one against Los Angeles.
The only other hit he gave up was to starting pitcher Hiroki Kuroda, who reached on an infield single in the third.
“I went with Bucky (Royals catcher John Buck) for awhile. I made a comment after the third inning, ’You’re not a bad catcher when I listen to you,”’ said Meche, who won 14 games for the Royals last year. “I was trying some inside cutters to righties, which I don’t normally throw. I just mixed it up all day.”
Showing no signs of the hamstring tightness that cost him all of last week, Ramirez singled to center in the first, fourth and sixth innings before leaving for a pinch runner. He sat out Thursday’s trip to Tucson and said he had no problems running or in the field when he charged one ball and made a strong throw to the cutoff man to hold a runner at third base.
“You always have (the injury) on your mind, but it seems to be OK now,” Ramirez said. “I was just going. When you can fly like me. I still think the (left) leg is a little behind but I think maybe three or four days everything will be normal. I haven’t (charged a ball) in a game, so that was great.
“It’s good to know it’s coming around. I’ve been working out since November, trying to maintain. Everything happens for a reason, you just have to keep working. I don’t want to be hurt anymore because they have you doing all the running, being in the pool just playing is easier.”
Ramirez said he has enough time to be ready for the April 6 opener in San Diego, especially now that he’s not being pitched around.
“They threw me good pitches in the middle so I went that way,” Ramirez. “They say ’Oh, if he’s going to keep hitting singles, we’re going to pitch to him.’ Let’s be scared of (Andre) Ethier or something.”
Jose Guillen had a run-scoring double for Kansas City in the fourth inning and added a sacrifice fly in the fifth after Mike Aviles’ RBI single. Buck doubled and scored in the sixth.
Aviles, Willie Bloomquist and Ross Gload each had two hits for Kansas City.
The Dodgers avoided their first Cactus League shutout of the spring when Doug Mientkiewicz singled home Xavier Paul with one out in the ninth off reliever Robinson Tejeda.

ROYALS NOTES: The only member of the opening-day lineup missing for the Dodgers was 3B Casey Blake, who left the team to be with his wife Abbie for the birth of the couple’s third child Mientkiewicz, a late arrival in spring, now had 11 RBI in 29 at-bats covering 17 games. He has six extra-base hits (four doubles, a triple and two home runs) among his nine hits. Royals OF Coco Crisp leads the American League in walks (13) and on-base percentage (.515) this spring, and his .404 average is tied for second with Josh Hamilton of Texas. ... Dodgers OF Delwyn Young, who has been out since March 20 with a right elbow problem, will be further examined by doctors Saturday.