04/21/2008 2:16 PM ET
Tomko: Versatility is a plus
Royals righty keeps himself marketable by filling many roles
I've made the switch from starter to reliever three times in my career, including last year. It's difficult, but there's something to be said for having that versatility. Being able to do a couple of different things improves your résumé.
This year with the Royals, I'm back to starting. I had some bullpen offers and some starting offers during the offseason. It came down to what I considered my best opportunity, which was with Kansas City.
Trey Hillman, our manager, did a great job when he called to talk about the team. There was a real sense that the Royals wanted me, and I felt they were excited about me joining their club. That made my decision easier.
Trey does a great job of teaching and reinforcing the fundamentals, which are pretty important with a young group like ours. Simple reminders to do things like move runners along and give up at-bats are important. He's also a fun guy. He also has a great attitude about the game, and he doesn't mind taking some ribbing from the players once in a while.
I'm one of the older guys on this club, and that helps to define part of my role. My job as a veteran starter is to provide as many innings as I can. I'm supposed to be around for everybody, to help people out, to be a leader and to be my best.
It didn't take too long to get settled with the Royals this spring. At first, you're always a little apprehensive when you enter a new clubhouse. After a week or so of getting into the flow, it's all the same. Baseball is a small world, and you realize you know a lot of guys.
Right now, the club has asked me to be a starter, and I'm going to focus on doing that as well as possible and providing as many innings as possible in that role. If they want me to do something else -- like pitch in relief -- I would do the best job that I could in that role, too.
At this point in my career, I want to help whenever and however I can.
Brett Tomko is 1-2 with a 3.60 ERA after his first three starts (four appearances) with the Royals. The 35-year-old right-hander has won 94 games in a career in which he has previously played for the Padres, Dodgers, Cardinals, Mariners and Reds.