CLEVELAND -- Strikeouts are the thing for Royals closer Greg Holland.
Prior to Saturday night's game against Cleveland, Holland had piled up 60 strikeouts in just 35 innings and led the Majors with a strikeout ratio of 15.43 per nine innings.
Not that a strikeout is his primary thought as he enters a game.
"It's always easier to come in and throw seven or eight pitches and get a couple fly balls or a couple ground balls, and get a quick inning," Holland said. "But if you get to two strikes and you're in the right count, you're definitely going to take a shot at expanding or elevating a fastball or something like that, because you've got a higher percentage chance of them getting on if they do hit it.
"But the main thing is just try to execute pitches and try to get weak contact. There are situations, though, with guys on or in close-game situations where you're going to take a chance on a strikeout. But normally, if you're coming in a clean inning, you're just trying to get weak contact early in the count so you can be up [and available to pitch] multiple days in a row and don't wear yourself out with a high pitch count."
Holland has a blazing fastball, but that's not necessarily his strikeout pitch. He depends on pregame analysis by pitching coach Dave Eiland, bullpen coach Doug Henry and bullpen catcher Bill Duplissea, who doubles as the advance scouting coordinator.
"A lot of times, you're just reading hitters. We do a lot of scouting reports and Duper and Dave and Doug do a great job of compiling reports," Holland said.
"Salvy [catcher Salvador Perez] always does a good job, too, and he's actually even getting better at reading hitters. Sometimes when you're out there on the mound, it's hard to read a hitter's swing. So if we're in a disagreement, he'll come out and say, 'OK, I can tell he's late [on his swing], let's stay hard,' or, 'Hey, he might try to jump your fastball here, let's go offspeed.' So having him back there, too, helps a lot."
Holland had struck out the side nine times in his 36 appearances up to Saturday, four times facing just three batters. Of his 22 saves, 15 were in succession starting on May 30 at St. Louis. During that span, his ERA was 0.95.
The Royals were hoping that, if an opening appeared on the American League All-Star pitching staff for Tuesday's Midsummer Classic at New York's Citi Field, Holland would be considered as a replacement.
Royals recall Teaford, option Joseph to Omaha
CLEVELAND -- Left-hander Everett Teaford, on the Royals' pitching staff for part of the 2011 and '12 seasons, is back.
Teaford was recalled from Triple-A Omaha on Saturday when Donnie Joseph, also a lefty, was optioned back to the Storm Chasers after a two-day stay in the Majors.
Joseph was called up to replace starting pitcher Wade Davis, who went on paternity leave on Thursday. In two games, his first Major League action at New York and Cleveland, Joseph pitched a total of 1 1/3 innings without giving up a run on one hit and three walks.
"He did fine," manager Ned Yost said. "We just wanted some protection against a predominately left-handed lineup and he did a nice job."
Teaford had a 3-2 record with a 2.88 ERA in 23 games (nine starts) for Omaha. He had 60 strikeouts against 23 walks in 59 1/3 innings. He's well-rested, not pitching since a start a week ago at Round Rock, Texas.
With Bruce Chen moving to the rotation, Tim Collins was the only remaining bullpen lefty until Joseph and now Teaford arrived.
"As much as we're using Timmy, we need some sort of backup," Yost said.
Meantime, Davis was home in New York when his wife Katelyn delivered their first child, a girl, on Friday night. Davis won't rejoin the team until after the All-Star break, but his three-day paternity leave expires on Saturday and technically he'll go back on the roster on Sunday, meaning that someone will have to be taken off.
Royals undecided on post-break rotation plan
CLEVELAND -- Manager Ned Yost is still mulling over his rotation plans for after the four-day All-Star break, which ends next Friday night for the Royals against Detroit at Kauffman Stadium.
Originally, Yost planned to start the second half of the schedule by starting the same pitcher he's using to close out the first half, James Shields. Now he's not sure.
"I've revised that. I'm still thinking through it," Yost said. "I'm still reviewing it, trying to make sure that we don't leave too many guys with eight, nine or 10 days [between starts], so we're trying to balance it out."
Which means the same pitcher is listed for all of the Royals' games after the break -- old Mr. TBA (to be announced).
Dick Kaegel is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.