Bannister pulled after two innings

Bannister: Headed to KC?

There was a potentially interesting development today in Omaha. Brian Bannister made his scheduled start against the Albuquerque Isotopes, but he went just two innings, before being lifted for reliever Josh Newman. Bannister was perfect in his two innings of work, getting five groundouts and a strikeout.

Josh Newman, RC has learned, was warming up during the first two innings, so the early exit by Brian Bannister was clearly planned. The big question now, of course, is whether or not Bannister will head to Kansas City, perhaps in time to make Wednesday's start against the Cleveland Indians. No announcement has yet been made, so it remains possible that the Royals simply wanted Bannister available for a quick call-up if necessary.

Royals manager Trey Hillman this weekend announced that Horacio Ramirez would start Wednesday's game, giving the other four pitchers in the rotation an additional day off between starts. Ramirez, however, has been ineffective thus far this season, compiling an 11.12 ERA in 5.2 innings of work, including six earned runs in 4.1 innings during his only start on April 11.

With today's scoreless two innings, Bannister has a 3.46 ERA in three outings with Omaha this season, with nine strikeouts and just one walk in 13 innings of work. The 28-year-old right-hander lost his first decision of the season, surrendering five earned runs in four innings against Albuquerque on April 9, but he bounced back nicely by shutting out Round Rock over seven innings last Tuesday.

Bannister spent the 2008 season with the Royals, making 32 starts while compiling a 9-16 record with a 5.76 ERA. In three major league seasons, Bannister has a career record of 23-26 with a 4.81 ERA and 209 strikeouts in 385.2 innings pitched.

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