Paukovits promoted to Wilmington

As expected, the Royals on Thursday promoted Burlington pitcher Bryan Paukovits to the Wilmington Blue Rocks. The 22-year-old right-hander learned of his promotion prior to departing for Tuesday's Midwest League All-Star game. Paukovits pitched a scoreless inning in the game and then drove to Wilmington to join the Blue Rocks.

In 62.1 innings pitched for the Bees this season, Bryan Paukovits was 3-3 with a 3.32 ERA. He struck out 65 batters while walking just 16, and he held Midwest League opponents to a .189 batting average. Paukovits departs Burlington with the league's third-best WHIP (0.95).

Paukovits was originally signed by the Royals in 2007 as the club's last draft-and-follow signee. He missed the entire 2008 season after undergoing Tommy John surgery on his right elbow. In an interview with RC last weekend, Paukovits explained that his injury may have been something of a blessing in disguise.

"My velocity isn't where it was before I had surgery, but in kind of a weird sense, it's caused me to be more of a pitcher than just a thrower," he said. "I used to throw in the mid-90s, but now I probably throw in the low-90s and high-80s. So I definitely became more of a pitcher."

When asked about the reasons behind his success this season, Paukovits cited improved command and the development of a new pitch.

"I actually have been throwing a split-finger since my second outing this year," he said. "I used to throw one in high school, but I didn't have it in my arsenal during my last couple of years in pro ball. I think that's really helped me to keep batters on their toes. I've been really hitting my spots, and I've kept my walks down, so I think that's definitely helped. I've been getting ahead of batters and pounding the strike zone."

Paukovits will take the rotation spot of Alex Caldera, who was promoted to Double-A NW Arkansas on Thursday. The 6-foot-7 hurler looks forward to the challenge of the more advanced league.

"It's been a pretty good year, and hopefully I can take that up to Wilmington," he said.

To fill the vacancy on Burlington's roster, the Royals on Friday promoted pitcher Brandon Barrow to the Bees. The 21-year-old southpaw signed with the Royals in April after spending the first three years of his professional career in the Florida Marlins' organization. Last season, Barrow was 1-0 with a 5.68 ERA in 12.2 innings pitched between two levels in the Marlins' system.

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