Royals right-hander Meche goes on DL

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) - Gil Meche went on the 15-day disabled list Saturday, a move that is sure to rouse critics who say he's been poorly handled by Royals manager Trey Hillman.

The right-hander (4-9) has been bothered off and on by lower back problems much of the year. Some fans have criticized Hillman for letting him throw 114 or more pitches in several outings while his back problems keep flaring up.

Meche is winless in five starts since throwing 132 pitches in a complete-game shutout in June. About to turn 31, he's on pace for his fewest wins and most losses since signing a 5-year, $55 million contract on Dec. 8, 2006.

Meche will be replaced in the rotation by Sidney Ponson, who was brought off the DL after compiling a 2.18 ERA in six rehab starts at AAA Omaha.

Copyright 2009 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.