Ervin Santana makes his first home start for the Royals as they celebrate the 40th anniversary of Kauffman Stadium.
Santana will take the mound in the sold-out stadium on Monday, but insists the crowd and pregame antics won't distract him.
"I really don't pay attention to that," Santana said. "I'm in my zone, always in my zone."
Besides, he's been in this position before.
Santana spent eight years with the Angels and pitched in a home opener for them in 2011. Santana controlled the game in the packed Angels Stadium, allowing six hits and three earned runs in eight innings.
"It's just another game, just with different stuff before the game," Santana said. "A lot of stuff before the game, that's just the way I take it. I just try to have a good game, that's it."
Santana made his first start of the season for the Royals last Wednesday, taking a 5-2 loss against the White Sox after giving up four runs on three homers in his six innings.
He'll match up against Kevin Correia, who is coming off his own milestone outing with the Twins. Correia fared well in his Minnesota debut Wednesday, limiting the Tigers to two runs over seven innings. He only struck out two, but was able to locate his pitches well and keep the Detroit batters off-balance throughout the game.
That control will be crucial against a Kansas City team that showed its ability to explode offensively in a recent series win against the Phillies.
Correia doesn't have much experience against the Royals going into Monday's game. The righty has only appeared in one game against Kansas City, as a member of the Giants in 2008. Correia took a loss in that game after allowing six hits and three earned runs in five innings.
Royals: Santana solid at the K
Santana has fared well at spacious Kauffman Stadium over the years. He was 3-2 for the Angels with a 4.59 ERA in eight starts there, but he said he isn't taking anything for granted.
"It doesn't matter where I pitch. All that matters is I have to do my job, that's it," he said.
Twins: Alter pitching staff
Minnesota recalled left-hander Pedro Hernandez from Triple-A and activated Anthony Swarzak from the 15-day DL before Sunday's game, in which both pitched and Swarzak got the win in Baltimore. Swarzak was placed on the DL on March 22 after fracturing his ribs during a horseplay incident in late January. He also had his wisdom teeth removed on Wednesday but said he's fully recovered.
"It feels very good," Swarzak said. "There were a few weeks there in Spring Training where I wasn't sure how much time I'd miss and it was scary. But now that it was only five games and I'm back I feel ready to go."
Gary Cotton is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.