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SURPRISE, Ariz. — After running wind sprints, Brad Keller wasted no time getting to the key word.

“We got a buzz that’s a lot of fun to be around.” Keller said.

Buzz is the keyword. The Kansas City Royals finished the last 18 games of the season 12-6. Starting pitching improved over the shortened season going from a 4.91 to a 4.65. The not quite a veteran yet, Brad Keller, also dealt with COVID issues last season.

This season, the presumed ace is working on conditioning more.

“Fine tuning some pitches, working on a change-up that I started middle of last year, fine tuning mechanics,” Keller said. “But as a whole, I think we ended the season on a good month.”

“I’ve gotten to know them better and tried to give them the best look they can at what they can expect from us and our staff,” Royals Manager Mike Matheny said. “You can see that some of those awkward conversations earlier turned a little more real.”

While Keller gained more confidence in a change-up, Brady Singer and Kris Bubic dealt with up and down confidence in their introduction to the majors. A full camp brings optimism they’ll get better.

“They’re experienced beyond their years, honestly, through the ups and downs last year. Such composure and ability to kind of navigate through some rough outings,” Keller said. “It’s really fun to watch and same thing with Kris. He’s probably got one of the best change-ups in the game.”

“Both are making minor adjustments and alterations to some of their pitches, some of their secondary pitches, the location of where they’re using their pitches,” Matheny said.

The biggest thing now is making sure they keep this confidence. So far in camp, no problem for the starting staff.

“I just think it’s the way guys carry themselves throughout the day, guys have a lot of more energy. They’re excited to be here,” Keller said.