Originally posted on Fox Sports Kansas City
By JEFFREY FLANAGAN  |  Last updated 8/20/13
KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Here's the problem for Luke Hochevar: He's probably been too good as a reliever for the Royals to consider him a starter again. The grand experiment of converting Hochevar, the 2006 No. 1 overall pick, from a starter to the bullpen has, by all measures, been an astounding success. In 41 games, Hochevar has three wins, two saves and a 1.98 ERA. As the season has worn on, manager Ned Yost has become comfortable using Hochevar in high-leverage situations. "He has been phenomenal for us," Yost says. "A great addition to our 'pen." It's a wonderful narrative for Hochevar, who had posted an unsightly 5.73 ERA as a starter last season and who had exhausted the patience of Royals fans after five rocky years in the rotation. Hochevar, 30, is contributing to a winning team for the first time in his career, and the boo birds have finally flown away. But what's next for Hochevar? Hochevar is hesitant to speak from his heart -- say what you will, but he is a team player -- yet we can read between the lines and guess that his heart still longs to be a starter. "Well, I've been a starter my whole life," he says. "I enjoy working my way through a lineup. I enjoy the chess match. I enjoy going out there and maneuvering my way through the batting order for seven or eight innings. "Then again, I enjoy the adrenaline you get coming out of the bullpen. There's nothing quite like that. You just go out there and rush for an inning. "They both have their positives. Hey, I just enjoy having my feet on the hill. I don't get a vote. Whatever they have me do, I'll be happy to do." But these days, Hochevar isn't sure what his identity as a baseball player is. "I'll let them figure it out and slap a label on me," he says. "You know, this game is crazy. One day you can be a starter and the next day you might be a setup guy -- it can all happen pretty fast. You just never know. It's really not for me to decide. "Whatever the team needs me to be. It's not so much you slap a label on someone and that's what it is. Next year I come in and they want me to start, I'll start. If they want me back in the 'pen, I'll go back to the 'pen. "I don't know. Am I a bona fide bullpen guy now? I don't know. But whatever it is, I'll give it my all." General manager Dayton Moore doesn't really have time to ponder the future right now. He is obviously pleased that Hochevar adapted so quickly to his new role. "Next spring is a long ways away," Moore says. "A lot can happen between now and then." And it's still at least slightly conceivable Hochevar could get another shot at the rotation. Bruce Chen's contract is up after this season, as is Ervin Santana's. And Wade Davis has been nothing short of shaky. There are three potential openings, though the Royals also have Danny Duffy, Felipe Paulino and such prospects as Yordano Ventura and Kyle Zimmer all ready to compete for spots. Luis Mendoza might even get another shot. Hochevar's future also could be affected by finances. He will make 4.56 million this season, and likely will be due for another significant bump in arbitration, which begs the question: Do the Royals really want to pay over 5 million for a setup guy? "No telling what can happen," Hochevar says. "But what I know for sure now is that you don't sit around the table and make your demands. You get your role and you go out and be a pro about it. That's what I've tried to do. "At the end of the day, you get judged by getting hitters out in this game, and eventually how you perform will dictate where they place you, whether it's in the bullpen or in the rotation or whatever. "In a way, that makes it all less complicated. I just focus on getting outs." You can follow Jeffrey Flanagan on Twitter at @jflanagankc or email him at jeffreyflanagan6@gmail.com.
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Report: Grizzlies want Kevin Durant in free agency

WATCH: Karl-Anthony Towns throws down monster dunk

Dos Anjos: McGregor will 'break like a girl' at UFC 196

WATCH: D'Angelo Russell hit in groin by LeBron pass

Kobe Bryant has great response to Tyronn Lue story

Report: St. Louis Blues no longer interested in Jonathan Drouin

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Doc Rivers: Warriors have 'swagger' of defending champion

Damian Lillard added as a finalist for 2016 U.S. Olympic Team

Celtics legend Paul Pierce prepares for what ‘could be’ his last game in Boston

Free-agent WR Josh Morgan accidentally shot himself, charged with crime

Jon Beason retires after nine NFL seasons

Brewers Association sends Peyton Manning case of craft beer

Fighter says sex before fight partly to blame for loss

Kevin McHale: James Harden being out of shape hurt Rockets early

WATCH: Kevin Love re-injures left shoulder

Johnny Manziel’s grandpa on ex-girlfriend: ‘The girl has her problems’

Andy Dalton reunited with missing luggage thanks to social media

Chad ‘Ochocinco’ Johnson used to soak his ankles in urine

Why Tom Thibodeau needs to be in New York

Defensemen in high demand as NHL trade deadline looms

Thank you Daniel Bryan

The timeless greatness of Jaromir Jagr

Security guard indicted for assaulting University of Houston football fan

The LeBron-Kobe rivalry and Finals matchup that never was

Mario Williams recognizes Bills may release him

MLB News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Thank you Daniel Bryan

The timeless greatness of Jaromir Jagr

The NCAAB power rankings

Report: Kings to keep coach George Karl

Was Alain Vigneault right about NHL's lack of punishment towards Wayne Simmonds?

Report: Knicks fire coach Derek Fisher

The best and worst commercials from Super Bowl 50

Best and worst from Super Bowl 50

Six best plays from Super Bowl 50

Eli doesn't look thrilled as Peyton wins Super Bowl

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker