With Brett Anderson sidelined for at least another month with a stress fracture in his right foot, one of the best offenses in baseball is in need of an ace.
"We have people who can step in," manager Bob Melvin said. "I feel we have a deep organization."
Tommy Milone may not have the win-loss record to show it, but he could certainly contribute in that role.
Milone, who takes the mound against the Royals on Saturday, has shown flashes of brilliance this season, highlighted by a 10-strikeout performance against the Angels three starts ago, as he's consistently shown the ability to generate swings-and-misses.
Perhaps most importantly, the 26-year-old lefty has pitched into the seventh inning in six of his eight starts.
"My goal is to keep the team in the game," he said last week. "That's what I'm going to do every time out, or I'm going to try to."
Both the Royals and A's are looking to turn the corner after losing eight of their last 11.
Saturday's starter for Kansas City, Ervin Santana might be one of the more underrated offseason acquisitions.
While he's the most expensive player on the Royals' roster, making $13 million in the last year of his contract, the 30-year-old right-hander has a 2.79 ERA with 39 strikeouts to just six walks over 48 1/3 innings.
His Achilles' heel, as it has been throughout his career, has been the home run. He averages about a home run per start, and that's held up in 2013, with six homers allowed in seven appearances.
However, Santana has posted strong numbers against the A's from his eight seasons (2005-12) pitching with the Angels in the American League West. In 26 games against Oakland, Santana is 14-5 with a 2.03 ERA.
A's: Hitting a speed bump
The A's, who entered Friday ranked 29th in the Majors with 41 runs scored in the month of May, put up just two runs against the Royals on Friday.
"We're not playing well here, and we haven't for a period of time," Melvin said. "You have to try to power through this thing and win some games, then you get some confidence and get on a roll.
Royals: Prospect Lough recalled
With Jarrod Dyson landing on the 15-day disabled list Friday, the Royals are taking a second look at 27-year-old David Lough, the team's 20th-ranked prospect according to MLB.com.
The left-handed hitting Lough was a September callup last year and had a .237 average in 20 games. Lough was hitting .340 (52-for-153) for Triple-A Omaha with three home runs, three triples, six doubles, five stolen bases and 17 RBIs in 36 games.
"Things lately have been going super-well for me," he said. "The first week I struggled down there and I just tried to get back to what I was doing in Spring Training, trying to stay consistent."
Lough was in right field hitting leadoff for the Royals on Friday and went 2-for-4 with an RBI double.
It's a tough break for Dyson, who had started five of the last eight games before incurring a right ankle injury Wednesday.
• Royals top prospect Bubba Starling underwent Lasik eye surgery Thursday and is not expected to miss much time. Starling, who was hitting .213 with Class A Lexington, had complained about not seeing well during night games.
• Right-hander Blaine Boyer has exercised an out clause in his contract and has been released by the Royals' Triple-A affiliate to pursue a career in Japan.
• A's outfielder Chris Young, who hasn't played since April 29 due to a strained left quad, is on track to be activated from the 15-day disabled list Saturday.
• Coco Crisp has yet to get a hit since returning from the disabled list Wednesday.