Newspaper article The Topeka Capital-Journal

Kevin Haskin: Finnegan Delights Fans during Stop in Topeka

Newspaper article The Topeka Capital-Journal

Kevin Haskin: Finnegan Delights Fans during Stop in Topeka

Article excerpt

Excuse Brandon Finnegan if he does not want the dream to end.

Realize that the Kansas City Royals pitcher has barely had time to pinch himself.

Finnegan, called up from Double-A late last season as a left- handed ringer with wicked stuff out of the bullpen, became the answer to a trivia question -- the first baseball player to participate in the College World Series (for TCU) and the World Series (for Kansas City) in the same year.

Only Finnegan never approached his pursuit to any trivial degree - - a competitive edge that will help him as the Royals continue to define his role in the organization and look at their No. 1 pick from last year's draft (No. 17 overall) as a potential starter.

"I'll be part of the rotation at spring training and see if I can find a role. That's what they want me to do," Finnegan said Thursday as the Royals Caravan stopped at Academy Sports + Outdoors, where fans began lining up at 2:30 p.m. for a 7 p.m. arrival by the KC contingent.

"Whatever it takes for me to stay up (in the majors) is what I want to do," Finnegan added. "No one wants to play in the minor leagues. It's not that fun. Whatever they want me to do, I'm going to do. If I end up in Triple-A or Double-A starting, then that's what I'm going to do, but I'm going to do everything I can to stay up there."

His first call to the bigs came before the Arkansas Naturals completed their Double-A schedule last summer. Finnegan pitched in seven big-league games down the stretch, posting a 1.29 earned run average.

His most celebrated moment, though, came in the AL wild card game. It was not Finnegan's accustomed role. Rather than turn to him in the sixth inning, manager Ned Yost instead brought in Yordano Ventura and Oakland responded with a five-spot. Finnegan entered in the 10th, pitched 21/3 innings and helped the Royals outlast the A's, 9-8, in 12 innings.

As the Royals' startling postseason run progressed to Game 7 of the World Series, Finnegan made just as many appearances (seven) in the postseason as he did during the regular season. He was roughed up by Baltimore in the ALCS and absorbed a loss against San Francisco in the World Series, but Finnegan's promise remains encouraging. …

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