When Jay Witasick was acquired from the A's last spring, the Royals stuck him in the bullpen and hoped his above-average fastball and power curve would steady a shaky relief corps. That plan didn't work. In seven innings over his first four appearances Witasick walked eight, struck out zero and had a 4,91 ERA. By the end of May, Tony Muser, in desperation, had tried him in the starting rotation, where the 27-year-old righthander wasn't much more successful. "I needed a lot of work," says Witasick, who lost four of his first five decisions. But Muser stuck with him, and Witasick finished the year with a flourish. He won five of his final seven starts, added a changeup to his repertoire and cemented a spot in the rotation. "His stuff qualifies him to be a power closer," says Muser, "but he pitched better and better as a starter."