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MIN@KC: Ventura fans seven over seven to earn the win

Josh Collmenter will take the mound for the D-backs on Wednesday, and facing him will be an unfamiliar foe.

The Royals are in town for a three-game series against the D-backs, facing the home team for the first time since 2012. The teams have only played each other 22 games since the D-backs were founded in 1998.

The only time Collmenter has faced the Royals was a two-inning stint out of the bullpen in Kansas City in 2012. His opposing pitcher on Wednesday, Yordano Ventura, hasn't played the D-backs in his short time in the Major Leagues.

Collmenter is hoping that his two scoreless innings from 2012 carry over to his start on Wednesday. Thanks in part to a poor outing against the Phillies, he has a 10.13 ERA in his last two starts, and opponents are hitting .405 against him.

"You can't make pitches down the middle and get away with it," Collmenter said. "Especially the velocity I throw at."

Ventura doesn't have that velocity problem. His average fastball velocity -- 96.2 mph -- is second in the Major Leagues, according to Fangraphs.

But throwing hard isn't always the determinant of success. Ventura has been scuffling lately, too.

In his last three starts, the rookie hurler is 1-1 with a 5.09 ERA. However, he did rectify his problems in his last outing -- a seven-inning win against the Twins on July 31 in which he gave up just one earned run.

Royals: No burning decision on benching
Manager Ned Yost moved up the coaching ranks in the National League with the Braves and Brewers, but Interleague games in the past often came with a big decision.

What it came down to is who should play first base and who should sit on the bench: usual designated hitter Billy Butler or Eric Hosmer?

"Normally I don't like it because I've got to put one of my best hitters on the bench, but now that 'Hoz' is out, it doesn't matter really," Yost said.

Hosmer is currently out three to six weeks with a stress fracture in his right hand, so Butler has been playing first base in his absence.

D-backs: Hudson, Pollock, Pennington working back from injuries
The oft-injured D-backs should be getting several shots in the arm in the coming weeks.

The first of three players expected to return from the disabled list is utility infielder Cliff Pennington, who has been out of action since June 1 with a left thumb injury that required surgery.

Manager Kirk Gibson said Pennington could join the team within a week, possibly by the end of the D-backs' homestand.

Pennington has played nine rehab games with the Rookie League AZL D-backs and Triple-A Reno, going 13-for-32.

A bigger boost to the lineup, who is further from returning, is outfielder A.J. Pollock, who has played four rehab games between Reno and the AZL D-backs.

Pollock was one of the D-backs' best bats before he suffered a fractured right hand, hitting .316 with a .920 on-base-plus-slugging percentage through May 31.

"He's going to go quick," Gibson said Sunday.

Gibson said Sunday he expected Pollock to get at least 25-30 more at-bats before he returns to the Major League club.

Pitcher Daniel Hudson also started his road back to the D-backs, pitching an inning for the AZL D-backs on Tuesday. Hudson, who had Tommy John surgery in June 2013, has not pitched in a Major League game since June 26, 2012.

Worth noting
• With the Royals' win on Tuesday, Yost is one win shy of 800 for his career.

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