A number of Royals moves on Monday moved the team closer to setting their 25-man roster for the start of the season, as Rustin Dodd of the Kansas City Star and other reporters have noted. Here’s the breakdown of where the Royals’ roster stands:
- First, the team optioned lefty Scott Alexander and outfielders Billy Burns and Peter O’Brien to Triple-A Omaha and assigned catcher Zane Evans, infielder Humberto Arteaga and relievers Yender Caramo, Eric Stout, Al Alburquerque and Malcom Culver to minor-league camp. The moves left veteran righty Peter Moylan as the Royals’ clear choice for the last spot in their bullpen. (Another veteran, Seth Maness, remains in camp, but he is recovering from injury and will not be ready for Opening Day.) Moylan’s minor-league deal with the Royals contains an opt-out clause tomorrow, so the team seems likely to place him on their 40-man roster shortly. Moylan allowed just one run in eight Spring Training innings, striking out six and walking one.
- Royals manager Ned Yost also announced that Raul Mondesi would serve as the team’s starting second baseman, beating Whit Merrifield, Christian Colon and Cheslor Cuthbert. Cuthbert will make the team, while Merrifield and Colon are still competing for a bench job. The 21-year-old Mondesi was the surprise winner of the job after batting just .185/.231/.281 in 149 plate appearances in his rookie season in 2016, but he was previously a top prospect and had a very strong spring, batting .378/.391/.623.
- Finally, Jorge Soler, who had been projected to start in right field, suffered a strained oblique this weekend and appears likely to begin the season on the disabled list. It’s only a grade I strain, MLB.com’s Jeffrey Flanagan tweets, and Soler may be able to begin resuming baseball activities in a week, so perhaps he can avoid a lengthy absence. That means Paulo Orlando will likely begin the season as the team’s right fielder, with Brandon Moss also occasionally helping at the position. Terrance Gore, who the Royals value for his speed and defensive ability, now seems likely to occupy a bench spot with Soler on the shelf.