Crow Looks To Shake Off Rust In Second Season





KANSAS CITY Aaron Crow grew up in Topeka about 60 miles west of Kauffman Stadium.

Though he seemed to be moving away from Kansas City last season, he started 2011 as a member of the big league bullpen.

Crow began last season with Double-A Northwest Arkansas but finished it with high Class A Wilmington after struggling with his command in the Texas League.

Crow went a combined 9-10, 5.73 in 29 starts with 143 strikeouts and 65 walks in 163 innings. He also uncorked 14 wild pitches, hit seven batters and yielded 19 home runs.

"It didn't go as well as I hoped it to numbers wise, but I learned a lot and hopefully you can learn from those lessons and it translates to success this year," Crow said. "There were times it was frustrating, but I wouldn't say it was disappointing. But it was frustrating just to go out there and not be able to throw strikes like I wanted to. I tried to overthrow a lot last year and blow it by guys."

While Crow's fastball can reach 97-98 mph, just throwing heat is "not where my success is going to be," he said. "(I need to) throw a lot of sinkers and get ground balls."

Time off may have played a role in the 24-year-old Crow's rough debut.

Crow went 13-0, 2.35 as a junior at Missouri. He was drafted ninth overall by the Nationals but did not sign. After making three starts with independent Fort Worth, Crow was selected 12th overall by the Royals in 2009 but signed too late to play.

"That might have had something to do with it," Crow said of his lack of command after the lengthy layoff.

Crow pitched his way into the Royals' bullpen with a 2.02 ERA in 13 innings in spring training. He made his big league debut in the season opener against the Angels and retired all four batters he faced. In the third game of the season, Crow pitched out of a bases loaded jam and tossed 12⁄3 scoreless innings to pick up his first big league victory.

ROYALTIES


• Crow joined lefthander Tim Collins and righthanders Nate Adcock (a Rule 5 pick from the Pirates) and Jeremy Jeffress as one of four rookie relievers to start the season in the Kansas City bullpen.

• The Royals released Josh Worrell, son of former major league pitcher Todd Worrell, after he went 1-4, 2.72 in two minor league seasons.