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KC@MIN: Correia goes seven strong innings vs. Royals

Left-hander Bruce Chen is hoping that time has healed his aching gluteus muscle as well as wounded pride.

Chen, after a sharp season debut against the White Sox, returned on April 11 and was chased by the Twins in the third inning of a 10-1 loss. Then, he missed his regular starting turn on Thursday at Houston because of a troublesome tight glute.

As a result, the Royals decided to give him two days off and used James Shields to start on Thursday and Jason Vargas on Friday, holding Chen until Saturday afternoon against the Twins.

"I could've pitched [Thursday] but, after assessing the situation and the days off we have and Vargas and Shields being able to pitch those two days, it gave me time off to take care of that and be done with it," Chen said. "So that's what we did and I'm feeling good."

The downside is that Chen and Vargas are making back-to-back starts against the same club, something that Yost wanted to avoid when he originally fixed the order of his rotation. They're similar left-handers.

"Vargy throws a little harder than Bruce, but they're both command guys that change speeds well," Yost said. "I liked the look where you have Vargy and had [Yordano] Ventura coming in with the 100 mile-an-hour fastball, and then you're back to Bruce. It's like working the throttle a little bit from day to day."

When they last faced Chen, the Twins didn't chase Chen's tantalizing soft stuff out of the zone and manager Ron Gardenhire hopes to see a similar approach on Saturday, when Chen goes against right-hander Kevin Correia.

"We just played Kansas City," Gardenhire said. "Watch video and have a plan."

Meanwhile, Correia hopes to build on his April 13 start against the Royals when he worked seven strong innings, allowing three runs on six hits.

Twins: Patience at plate pays
Minnesota arrived in Kansas City with a Major League-best 82 walks. The next closest team was Oakland with 68. The ability to work the pitchers resulted in the Twins leading the Majors with a .353 on-base percentage through the opening 15 games.

"It's early and we have a long way to go," Gardenhire said. "But we've been taking some good at-bats. Guys are a little more experienced now. They are fighting off some tough pitches. It's concentration. You just can't give away at-bats. It's a work in progress, but we've been facing good pitchers and doing pretty well."

Royals: What? You guys again?
Following a break of only three days after being swept at Minneapolis, the Royals were back at it against the Twins -- just a whim of the schedule-makers.

"Am I glad we're playing them three days later?" Yost said. "Yeah. We didn't play good there, I'm glad we're getting another crack at 'em kind of quick. See if we can't be a little better."

The Royals rebounded with three victories at Houston after making too many mistakes at Target Field.

"But those things happen -- you move on and do what we did," Yost said. "You go to Houston and have a good series."

Worth noting
• Royals shortstop Alcides Escobar claims he can play anyplace on the field and Yost believes him: "In Instructional League over at Milwaukee, they put him behind the plate and he was one of the finest catch-and-throw guys that we had. He can play anywhere."

• After making nine errors over a five-game stretch, the Royals went without one in the series finale on Thursday night at Houston.

• Chris Colabello has already produced nine doubles for the Twins, the most in the Major Leagues. Colabello has 19 RBIs and trails only Giancarlo Stanton of the Marlins (26).

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