"I just know that's the answer," said Fischer, walking briskly toward the batting cage. "I know it." He stopped and watched Busby take his place in leftfield. He shook his head and continued walking. "Just a little mechanical thing," Fischer said, convincing himself. "That's it, all right. I'll tell you one thing, I'll bet my wife, home and car he'll be back. I just know he'll be back."
Maybe so, but not yet. In the weeks since that workout in Denver, Busby's pitching mechanics and the speed of his deliveries have improved somewhat. But his record—3-7 with a 5.15 ERA—has been poor. It and a freak back injury, now cured, resulted in his being sent to Sarasota in the Gulf Coast League, the lowest level of the minors. The Royals have kept him on their 40-man roster, which means Busby will be eligible to return to Kansas City in September, when the 25-man limit is lifted. But will the Royals choose to bring him back?
Busby, irrepressible as always, thinks they might. "I'm still optimistic," he says. "I'm throwing harder. I'm breaking the ball harder. But I'm not ready to throw my hardest. I've got to get back my strength to do that, and my mechanics have to be just right before I can work on strength. My motion is pretty good. I just need to work on it some more." He said all this as he packed his bags a week ago for the trip down to Sarasota.