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Royals' Meche likely to come off DL

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Royals right-hander Gil Meche will likely come off the disabled list and make his first start of the season Sunday against the Boston Red Sox.

"That's the way we've got it lined up right now," manager Trey Hillman said. "He was real good in the report yesterday, felt good, threw the ball well."

Meche was placed on the DL with shoulder bursitis. He threw 81 pitches in five scoreless innings Tuesday against Royals minor leaguers in Surprise, Ariz.

He joined the team Wednesday and said his shoulder felt fine.

Meche was scheduled to start the second game of the season before the setback in spring training. Meche, who is the fourth season of a five-year, $55 million contract, was 6-10 with a 5.09 earned run average last season, but pitched only four times after the All-Star break because of back and shoulder problems.

He left a March 22 spring training start after three innings and 56 pitches with stiffness in his right shoulder. Meche struck out nine, walked two and allowed two hits in his final tune up.

"You know you're feeling good when you've actually having fun," Meche said. "I was able to throw all my pitches for strikes, which was good. I've been complaining about my curveball in spring training and finally it was to where I wanted it to be. I was throwing it for strikes. I was throwing it in the dirt.

"I was able to repeat my delivery. I felt loose. I felt good. It was able to throw 80-something pitches. I only went five innings, but we extended a couple of innings with a couple of extra outs in three of the innings. For me it was definitely a positive outing."

Meche left a March 22 spring training start after three innings and 56 pitches with stiffness in his right shoulder.