When Angels pitcher Hector Santiago faces the Royals on Saturday, he'll do so with his spot in the rotation potentially on the line.
As Tyler Skaggs prepares to come off the 15-day disabled list as early as next week, the club will have to clear space on its roster to accommodate his return. The two likeliest candidates to be replaced are righty Matt Shoemaker, who got blasted for eight runs over four innings in Friday night's 8-6 loss at Kauffman Stadium, and Santiago (0-7, 4.41).
Of course, with Shoemaker claiming a 5-0 record and 3.00 ERA over his previous seven starts, Santiago knows that his entire body of work will mean much more than Saturday's start when the Angels announce their move.
"I think they already have their decision made, they just haven't said it," said Santiago, who has allowed four runs in 11 2/3 innings in his second stint with the club this year. "I don't think there's any added pressure. If I go out there and throw a complete game, I don't think it's going to make a difference. I don't think one game is going to change what they have planned or what they have scheduled."
Santiago comes in with the disadvantage of not making a start in 13 days after he was skipped over during the last turn of the rotation. He only pitched out of the bullpen once in the interim -- a one-out appearance on Sunday -- but insists he has no issue with the extra rest.
"I've done it a bunch of times. I'm used to it," Santiago said.
Opposite Santiago, the Royals will turn to rookie righty Yordano Ventura, who has gone 3-1 with a 2.67 ERA across his last four starts.
Ventura's last outing against the Mariners was another impressive one -- a seven-inning, two-run affair that saw him register six strikeouts -- but he wound up taking the tough-luck loss on a go-ahead solo shot from Mike Zunino in the seventh inning.
"The curveball was a really good pitch for me, after my fastball," Ventura said, "and I tried to throw a curveball to strike [Zunino] out, but he put a good swing on it and he hit it out."
Angels: Frieri flies east, Grilli goes west
The Angels and Pirates agreed to swap struggling closers Ernesto Frieri and and Jason Grilli on Friday.
Frieri had largely disappointed at the back end of the bullpen this season, posting a 6.39 ERA and 1.36 WHIP over 34 games with the Angels. The right-hander blew a trio of saves in 14 chances and has already allowed eight home runs after surrendering 11 all of last season.
The 37-year-old Grilli was only marginally better for Pittsburgh this year, turning in a 4.87 ERA and a 1.62 WHIP while converting 11 saves in 15 chances.
"We'll see where he fits in," manager Mike Scioscia said. "He's pitched in the back end of games and has done a very good job in that role. We're going to get his feet on the ground here."
Royals: Dyson digging in at the plate
Outfielder Jarrod Dyson has been a part-time player for most of his career. However, Kansas City could be hard-pressed to keep him that way given how he's performed this season.
With Nori Aoki sidelined due to a groin injury, Dyson has seen a spike in playing time, and he's filled the spot well. Over his last 12 games, Dyson is hitting .349 with six RBIs and a home run while showing off similarly strong defense in the outfield.
"He contributed greatly with his bat, but what he did in the field was equally as big if not bigger. He saved numerous doubles roaming that outfield," manager Ned Yost said.
"He's a guy that could quite possibly end up being an everyday guy."
• Since extending their winning streak to 10 games on June 18, the Royals have played in five one-run games -- going 1-4.
• On Friday, Kansas City's Omar Infante hit his first career grand slam, launching a 2-2 changeup from Shoemaker over the left-field wall to put his team up by five runs and cap a seven-run third inning.
• The first 10,000 fans at Kauffman Stadium on Saturday will receive a James Shields bobblehead. The right-handed Shields is 8-3 with a 3.79 ERA this season.
Alec Shirkey is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.