Left-hander Will Smith was a pedestrian 1-3 with a 4.01 ERA in nine starts for Class AAA Omaha this season before the Royals purchased his contract Tuesday.
On Wednesday, the Royals thrust him into the rotation on baseball's biggest stage -- Yankee Stadium -- against a star-studded, veteran lineup.
Smith, 22, was not quite ready for his Broadway debut, giving up three runs in the first inning on homers by Curtis Granderson and Alex Rodriguez. Rodriguez homered again in the third inning.
Smith's final line was 16 batters faced, five runs and six hits, including the three homers. He walked one and struck out one in 3 13 innings in an 8-3 loss to the Yankees.
To make matters worse, the Yankees started veteran Andy Pettitte, who came out of retirement this season. Pettitte earned his 242nd major league win, while Smith is looking for his first. Pettitte improved to 14-3 against the Royals. He has not lost to them since Aug. 18, 1999, when Smith was 10 years old.
Smith's outing conjured up memories of the only other Royals pitcher to make his major league debut as a starter at Yankee Stadium. That was Eduardo Villacis on May 1, 2004. He, like Smith, gave up five runs on six hits in 3 13 innings. That was Villacis' only game in the majors.
Smith is a highly regarded prospect and will get other chances, but his first one was certainly forgettable.
-- CF Jarrod Dyson was not in the lineup Wednesday for only the second time in the past 24 games. Dyson struck out four times Tuesday, and he is hitless in his past 10 at-bats. Mitch Maier replaced Dyson and homered Wednesday.
-- LF Alex Gordon, who batted leadoff to start the season, returned to the top of the order Wednesday. It the first time since April 20 that Gordon batted leadoff. Gordon went 0-for-3 with a walk, dropping his average to .235.
-- 1B Eric Hosmer got three hits Wednesday night to raise his average to .191. While they look like line drives in the box score, two were infield singles and the other was a bloop double. However, as manager Ned Yost pointed out, Hosmer has hit into a lot of hard outs this season.
-- SS Alcides Escobar went 2-for-4 for his seventh multi-hit game in 12 games. Escobar, who hiked his average to .305, has hit safely in 15 of 17 games.
-- RF Jeff Francoeur has hit safely in nine of his past 11 games, going 15-for-46 (.326). He has hits in six straight road games, going 10-for-25 (.400) with six runs, a double, three home runs and five RBI.
BY THE NUMBERS: 196 -- Starting pitchers used by Royals. LHP Will Smith joined that list Wednesday in an 8-3 loss to the Yankees.
QUOTE TO NOTE: "He's a perfect long guy. If you need him in the second or third (inning), he can get you to the seventh or eighth. You don't have to kill your staff." -- Manager Ned Yost, on RHP Luis Mendoza, who was moved back to the bullpen to make room for rookie LHP Will Smith in the rotation.