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Royals will give Farnsworth a chance to start

Kyle Farnsworth enters his 12th big league season, somehow still a project. His tools belie his consistently disappointing results, a fact Yankees and Cubs fans never will forget.

But it's going to be interesting to see how he does at his latest adventure. The 33-year-old Farnsworth, who still looks as intimidating as almost any pitcher in the majors, will get a chance to start for the Royals, who must figure they have nothing to lose.

Signed to a two-year, $9.25-million contract a year ago - the kind that bottom-tier teams offer when they can't land the free agents with options - he flopped as a setup man for Joakim Soria. An Opening Day meltdown at U.S. Cellular Field capped by Jim Thome's three-run home run set the tone for a season in which he threw a career-low 371/3 innings and saw Kansas City go 13-28 when he pitched.

The Royals are blessed with a good pitching coach, however, and Bob McClure has convinced manager Trey Hillman that Farnsworth can be an effective starter, in part because he has developed a two-seam fastball to complement his four-seam fastball/hard slider combination.

"We're going to lengthen him out and see how it goes," McClure told MLB.com. "Because what he showed me last year was the ability to back off a little bit and not pitch with his hair on fire. And to be a starter, you have to be able to just kind of go pitch by pitch."

McClure struck on the idea of experimenting with Farnsworth while noting the Yankees' decision about keeping Joba Chamberlain in the bullpen or making him a starter.

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