Kuroda has had an up-and-down year in his first season in the Bronx, turning in four solid outings as well as four he'd like to have back. His most recent outing fell into the latter category.
In his worst start as a Yankee, Kuroda was shelled for seven runs on eight hits, including three homers, in just five innings of work Wednesday against the Blue Jays. The loss dropped his record to 3-5, while raising his ERA nearly a full run from 3.56 to 4.50.
"I think all the home run balls I threw stayed up; that's what happened," Kuroda said, through an interpreter, after allowing three-plus homers for just the second time in his career. "I'm hoping I can be more consistent than I am right now, but unfortunately, it's not the way it's going right now. But it will come."
Though Paulino will be coming off a gem in which he pitched seven scoreless innings, Kansas City is hoping that he, too, can provide some consistency in its rotation. The right-hander has made just three starts this season, sandwiching one poor outing between a pair of impressive scoreless ones.
The pattern is nothing new for Paulino, who kept the Royals guessing as to what type of outing they'd get after they acquired him midseason from the Rockies last year. In 20 starts for the Royals in 2011, Paulino turned in nine quality starts, but also conceded four or more earned runs seven times.
The same also holds true when he faces the Yankees. After being scorched for five runs in 5 1/3 innings against the Yanks last August, Paulino hurled six shutout innings against the Bombers in his season debut on May 5.
Whether he tosses another gem Monday or turns in one of his shaky starts, the main concern for Paulino is the end result.
"My pitches were pretty good. I commanded my pitches really well," Paulino said after taking a no-decision in an extra-innings loss to the Orioles last Wednesday. "They gave me a couple runs of support. That was great. It doesn't matter in the end. We lost."
Royals: Perez rehabbing ahead of schedule
Catcher Salvador Perez departed on Sunday for Arizona, where he will continue his rehabilitation from the left knee surgery he had on March 16.
Once in Arizona, Perez will work with left-handed pitcher Jonathan Sanchez, who is on the disabled list with biceps tendinitis. The Royals backstop will also catch side sessions, take batting practice and play in extended spring training games as he prepares to return to the big league club.
"I think he'll be back before a month, but that's just me," manager Ned Yost said. "But if it's a month, I'll be happy."
Yankees: Gardner progressing, still no set return
Manager Joe Girardi said left fielder Brett Gardner -- on the disabled list since May 11 with a sore right elbow -- won't begin swinging a bat until at least Thursday.
Though Gardner was unable to test the elbow this past weekend as he had previously hoped, Girardi said his 28-year-old outfielder is progressing as planned.
"Gardy is young, younger," Girardi said. "It shouldn't take that long as long as he doesn't have any setbacks. The key is getting him over that hump to where he doesn't have a setback. When he does come back, you have to kind of build up to where he can play in a game. Hopefully, it wouldn't be long.
"We just don't feel it's quite healed yet."
Kuroda is 3-1 with a 3.08 ERA in four starts at Yankee Stadium this season. He's 0-4 with a 6.23 ERA on the road.
Current Royals players are hitting a cumulative .324 (11-for-34) against Kuroda. Alex Gordon is 3-for-3, Billy Butler is 2-for-3 with a pair of doubles and Jeff Francoeur is 4-for-8.
After splitting a four-game set from May 3-6 in Kansas City, the Royals will be looking to win just their second season series against the Yankees in the last 18 years. The Yankees are 13-1-3 in the series since 1995.