Just a few hours after I posted my two weeks into Cactus League games position battles article, the KC Royals made some roster cuts. Those cuts brought a few of the battles into focus.
The Royals optioned four players to Triple-A Omaha. Those are right-handed starter Aaron Brooks (which was expected after his rough start on Sunday), infielder Orlando Calixte, and outfielders Lane Adams and Jorge Bonifacio.
Manager Ned Yost said after the moves that he was impressed with the play of Calixte, who showed that the shortstop can play both second and third base.
The Royals then assigned eight players to minor league camp. Those include lefties Buddy Baumann and Joe Paterson, bringing the battle for left-handed reliever down to Franklin Morales, Brian Flynn, and Brandon Finnegan. Finnegan is expected to pitch again on Saturday and the Royals are keeping him in the mix for the Opening Day roster for the next ten days.
Others that were reassigned include right-handers Brian Broderick and Casey Coleman, infielders Matt Fields, Hunter Dozier, and Raul Mondesi, and outfielder Bubba Starling.
Broderick and Coleman were battling for one of the few open bullpen spots. Now the right-handed battle is down to Yohan Pino, Joe Blanton, Ryan Madson, Louis Coleman, Jandel Gustave, and Michael Mariot.
I thought Fields would have gotten more of an opportunity this spring, but Kendrys Morales received the bulk of the at-bats at both DH and first base (when Eric Hosmer had the day off). Fields played in 11 games, but received just one start (16 at-bats).
Hopefully big league camp proves to be a giant positive for both Mondesi and Starling. Things started out rough for Starling, but he hit over the last week. Mondesi received a TON of playing time in big league camp and even played some second base (despite being a Gold Glove caliber shortstop).
The roster moves bring the Royals spring training roster down to 46 players (35 on the current 40-man roster).