Royals going with Mondesi at second base

Royals going with Mondesi at second base

SURPRISE, Ariz. -- The intense and complicated battle for the Royals' second-base job is over. Manager Ned Yost named 21-year-old Raul Mondesi his starter Monday morning.

Mondesi, the surprise of camp who is hitting .378, beat out Christian Colon, Cheslor Cuthbert and Whit Merrifield. Cuthbert likely has the team made as the primary backup to third baseman Mike Moustakas, who is coming off right ACL surgery this past May and could be brought along slowly in April.

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Jeffrey Flanagan has covered the Royals since 1991, and for MLB.com since 2015. Follow him on Twitter @FlannyMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Soler might open season on disabled list

Royals' offseason acquisition has oblique strain

Soler might open season on disabled list

SURPIRSE, Ariz. -- Royals outfielder Jorge Soler sustained an oblique strain in his final at-bat in a Minor League game on Sunday and could start the regular season on the disabled list, manager Ned Yost said.

Soler, acquired in the offseason in a trade with the Cubs for closer Wade Davis, was expected to undergo an MRI exam on Monday afternoon.

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Jeffrey Flanagan has covered the Royals since 1991, and for MLB.com since 2015. Follow him on Twitter @FlannyMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Time running out for core as free agency nears

Time running out for core as free agency nears

SURPRISE, Ariz. -- It has been well-documented that, to some degree, the Royals' window of opportunity could close after 2017.

At one point this past offseason, the Royals had six major members of their core set to become free agents after 2017. One of those, closer Wade Davis, was traded for Cubs outfielder Jorge Soler. Another, left-hander and staff ace Danny Duffy, signed a five-year, $65 million extension.

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Jeffrey Flanagan has covered the Royals since 1991, and for MLB.com since 2015. Follow him on Twitter @FlannyMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Hammel displays new changeup

Hammel displays new changeup

TEMPE, Ariz. -- The only result Royals right-hander Jason Hammel was worried about Sunday in an 8-7 victory over the Angels was how effective his changeup would be.

Hammel, the Royals' No. 3 starter, will be introducing that changeup to his arsenal this season, especially to left-handers.

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Jeffrey Flanagan has covered the Royals since 1991, and for MLB.com since 2015. Follow him on Twitter @FlannyMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Franco lifts Royals in 9th; Moss, Orlando homer

Franco lifts Royals in 9th; Moss, Orlando homer

TEMPE, Ariz. -- Wander Franco capped a two-run rally in the ninth to lift the Royals to an 8-7 victory over the Angels on Sunday at Tempe Diablo Stadium. Franco, in his first game with the big league club, hit a flare to left-center to score pinch-runner Logan Moon for the victory.

Terrance Gore started the rally when he singled on a ground ball to right, moved to third on Brayan Pena's hard hit single, and scored on Salvador Perez's ground out to short to tie the score at 7. Paulo Orlando and Brandon Moss slugged two-run home runs for the Royals in the fourth inning.

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Maria Guardado covers the Angels for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Amped-up Kennedy lights out this spring

Amped-up Kennedy lights out this spring

SURPRISE, Ariz. -- You wouldn't blame Royals right-hander Ian Kennedy if he preferred to simply stay in Arizona while the rest of the team prepares to break camp this week.

Kennedy has been that good this spring. In 17 1/3 innings, Kennedy has not allowed a run and has 19 strikeouts. 

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Jeffrey Flanagan has covered the Royals since 1991, and for MLB.com since 2015. Follow him on Twitter @FlannyMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Royals tab Duffy for Opening Day start

Royals tab Duffy for Opening Day start

SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Royals manager Ned Yost finally made official Saturday what everyone in Royals camp already knew -- that left-hander Danny Duffy would be his Opening Day starter on April 3 in Minnesota.

"With what Danny did last year and this spring, we feel he has earned this," Yost said. "We knew this was the direction we were going to go weeks before we even showed up at Spring Training."

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Jeffrey Flanagan has covered the Royals since 1991, and for MLB.com since 2015. Follow him on Twitter @FlannyMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Kennedy stays hot; Mondesi hits walk-off

Kennedy stays hot; Mondesi hits walk-off

SURPRISE, Ariz. -- After nine-and-a-half scoreless innings, Royals second baseman Raul Mondesi finally broke the deadlock against the Brewers, delivering a walk-off solo home run off reliever Rob Scahill to seal a 1-0 Royals win on Saturday at Surprise Stadium.

Right-hander Wily Peralta, a rotation candidate for the Brewers, was strong over 5 2/3 innings, giving up three hits and no runs. He struck out three, walked two and tallied 83 pitches, as he prepares for the regular season. Saturday marked Peralta's first start in eight days, though he's maintained his throwing program with a Minor League outing and a bullpen session.

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Jeffrey Flanagan has covered the Royals since 1991, and for MLB.com since 2015. Follow him on Twitter @FlannyMLB.

Daniel Kramer is a reporter for MLB.com based in Denver. Follow him on Twitter at @DKramer_.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Duffy would do Classic again in a heartbeat

Lefty hopes to use emotion of special event to lead into regular season

Duffy would do Classic again in a heartbeat

SURPRISE, Ariz. -- When it was over, when the United States had beaten Puerto Rico, 8-0, on Wednesday night to capture the World Baseball Classic title, left-hander Danny Duffy had one more mission to complete.

Duffy had to find his USA and Royals teammate Eric Hosmer amid the sea of bodies and celebration.

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Jeffrey Flanagan has covered the Royals since 1991, and for MLB.com since 2015. Follow him on Twitter @FlannyMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Brewers-Royals game descended upon by swarm of bees

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Brewers-Royals game descended upon by swarm of bees

There are certain things you can count on during every Spring Training. Several car windshields will meet an untimely fate. You will spend far too much time staring longingly at pictures of baseball fields. And, of course, there will be bees -- so, so many bees.

Over the years, the bees have taken many shapes and sizes and claimed many victims, from Jason Heyward to ballpark netting to the entire Blue Jays infield. And, during Saturday's Brewers-Royals game, they reared their head once again, swallowing a portion of the grandstand roof at Surprise Stadium.

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Hosmer has done it all at every level

Hosmer has done it all at every level

SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Eric Hosmer's championship quest now is complete.

With the World Baseball Classic title in hand, Hosmer believes he has won it all at every level.

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Jeffrey Flanagan has covered the Royals since 1991, and for MLB.com since 2015. Follow him on Twitter @FlannyMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Orlando, Duffy strong against Mariners

Orlando, Duffy strong against Mariners

PEORIA -- Kyle Seager continued warming up with his first Cactus League home run and Hisashi Iwakuma pitched 5 2/3 strong innings on Friday afternoon as a Mariners split squad topped the Royals, 4-3, at Peoria Stadium.

Paulo Orlando led off the fifth with a solo homer off Iwakuma. Orlando went 2-for-3 and Jorge Soler added a two-run home run with two outs in the ninth. Alex Gordon added a pair of base hits for the Royals.

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Greg Johns has covered the Mariners since 1997, and for MLB.com since 2011. Follow him on Twitter @GregJohnsMLB and listen to his podcast.

Jeffrey Flanagan has covered the Royals since 1991, and for MLB.com since 2015. Follow him on Twitter @FlannyMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Perez returns behind the plate

Perez returns behind the plate

PEORIA, Ariz. -- A familiar face was behind the plate for the Royals on Friday -- All-Star catcher Salvador Perez.

Perez played defensively for the first time since injuring his knee in a collision with Drew Butera at home plate while playing for Venezuela in the World Baseball Classic on March 11.

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Jeffrey Flanagan has covered the Royals since 1991, and for MLB.com since 2015. Follow him on Twitter @FlannyMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Hosmer among All-Classic Team standouts

Along with Hosmer, pair selected unanimously to field of 12 honorees

Hosmer among All-Classic Team standouts

Following a thrilling World Baseball Classic that culminated in the United States winning its first title thanks to Wednesday's 8-0 win over Puerto Rico, World Baseball Classic, Inc. (WBCI) announced the All-World Baseball Classic Team.

From the champions, tournament Most Valuable Player Marcus Stroman of the Blue Jays (2.35 ERA, six-plus scoreless innings in final), Eric Hosmer of the Royals (unanimous choice) and Christian Yelich of the Marlins were selected. Stroman, as WBC 2017 MVP, joined Japan's Daisuke Matsuzaka ('06 and '09) and the Dominican Republic's Robinson Cano ('13) as MVPs in Classic history.

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Manny Randhawa is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @MannyOnMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Karns K's 9 in 6 scoreless; Moose, Cuthbert homer

Karns K's 9 in 6 scoreless; Moose, Cuthbert homer

SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Cheslor Cuthbert hit a two-run double as well as his first spring home run, and Mike Moustakas hit his fourth as the Royals beat the Padres, 6-2, on Wednesday at Surprise Stadium.

Royals right-hander Nathan Karns, in his first start since winning the No. 5 spot in the rotation, was dominant. Karns went six innings and gave up four hits, no runs and no walks while striking out nine. He threw 72 pitches, 54 for strikes.

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Jeffrey Flanagan has covered the Royals since 1991, and for MLB.com since 2015. Follow him on Twitter @FlannyMLB.

AJ Cassavell covers the Padres for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @ajcassavell.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Versatile Cuthbert delivers at plate, at first base

Versatile Cuthbert delivers at plate, at first base

SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Royals infielder Cheslor Cuthbert had a special day Wednesday, perhaps his best day of the spring.

Cuthbert hit his first home run of the Cactus League season, doubled in two runs and made the defensive gem of the month in the Royals' 6-2 win over the Padres.

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Jeffrey Flanagan has covered the Royals since 1991, and for MLB.com since 2015. Follow him on Twitter @FlannyMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

5th starter runner-up Wood has no hard feelings

5th starter runner-up Wood has no hard feelings

SURPRISE, Ariz. -- One of the main reasons left-hander Travis Wood signed with the Royals this offseason was the promise of getting a chance to compete for a starting job.

The Royals fulfilled their end of the deal by giving Wood that chance this spring. But Wood came up short in the battle for the final rotation spot, as manager Ned Yost named Nathan Karns his No. 5 starter on Monday.

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Jeffrey Flanagan has covered the Royals since 1991, and for MLB.com since 2015. Follow him on Twitter @FlannyMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

O'Brien belts 7th HR, Soler connects for 1st

O'Brien belts 7th HR, Soler connects for 1st

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- D-backs left-hander Robbie Ray turned in another impressive outing in a 4-2 win over the Royals on Tuesday in front of 10,131 fans at Salt River Fields.

Ray allowed a pair of runs over five innings while striking out six and walking one. Both of the runs came on homers.

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Steve Gilbert has covered the D-backs for MLB.com since 2001. Follow him on Twitter @SteveGilbertMLB.

Jeffrey Flanagan has covered the Royals since 1991, and for MLB.com since 2015. Follow him on Twitter @FlannyMLB.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Vargas continues to build for regular season

Vargas continues to build for regular season

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- As Royals' camp draws closer to the end, left-hander Jason Vargas looks more and more like the pitcher he was in 2014 and '15 before he underwent Tommy John surgery.

Vargas continued to build his pitch count up on Tuesday, throwing 72 pitches and tossing a strong 4 1/3 innings in a 4-2 loss to the D-backs at Salt River Fields.

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Jeffrey Flanagan has covered the Royals since 1991, and for MLB.com since 2015. Follow him on Twitter @FlannyMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Strahm shakes off rough outing against Reds

Strahm shakes off rough outing against Reds

SURPRISE, Ariz. -- For five straight outings this spring, Royals left-hander Matt Strahm looked just like he did during his sensational rookie debut last season -- virtually unhittable.

Strahm had given up two hits and no runs in 8 1/3 innings, walked none and struck out nine.

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Jeffrey Flanagan has covered the Royals since 1991, and for MLB.com since 2015. Follow him on Twitter @FlannyMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

MLB.com Columnist

Fred Zinkie

Tale of the fantasy tape: Royals vs. Tigers

Which American League Central rival has superior fantasy assets?

Tale of the fantasy tape: Royals vs. Tigers

Though the Indians ran away with the American League Central last season, the Royals and the Tigers should both serve as formidable challengers to the Tribe this year.

But which club has the best chance of ending Cleveland's reign atop the division? By using fantasy value to assess the key players on the Detroit and Kansas City rosters for 2017, we can get a head start on determining the answer to that question.

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Fred Zinkie is the lead fantasy baseball writer for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @FredZinkieMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Prospect O'Hearn, Hammel stand out vs. Reds

Prospect O'Hearn, Hammel stand out vs. Reds

SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Right-hander Tim Adleman, in the battle for a Reds rotation spot, hit a go-ahead two-run double in the eighth inning as the Reds rallied for a 10-6 victory over the Royals on Monday.

The Reds sent 13 men to the plate in an eight-run eighth inning, highlighted by Adleman's double, which erased a 4-2 deficit.

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Jeffrey Flanagan has covered the Royals since 1991, and for MLB.com since 2015. Follow him on Twitter @FlannyMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Karns named No. 5 starter; Young, Wood to bullpen

Offseason acquisition made 15 starts for Mariners in 2016

Karns named No. 5 starter; Young, Wood to bullpen

SURPRISE, Ariz. -- The first major decision of this Royals camp came down Monday, as manager Ned Yost named right-hander Nathan Karns as his No. 5 starter.

Karns, acquired in the offseason from the Mariners for Jarrod Dyson, had been battling with right-hander Chris Young and left-hander Travis Wood for the No. 5 spot.

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Jeffrey Flanagan has covered the Royals since 1991, and for MLB.com since 2015. Follow him on Twitter @FlannyMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Hammel sharp vs. Reds, ready for regular season

Righty starter fires 76 pitches (57 strikes) in effective outing

Hammel sharp vs. Reds, ready for regular season

SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Royals right-hander Jason Hammel will have at least one more start in the Cactus League before camp breaks.

But he declared himself ready for the regular season now after a strong outing Monday against the Reds. Hammel had a no-hitter for 4 1/3 innings and left after 5 1/3 innings; he gave up three hits and one run while striking out five in a 10-6 loss, throwing 76 pitches.

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Jeffrey Flanagan has covered the Royals since 1991, and for MLB.com since 2015. Follow him on Twitter @FlannyMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

O'Hearn, Parnell among five reassigned by Royals

O'Hearn, Parnell among five reassigned by Royals

SURPRISE, Ariz. -- The Royals cleared some space in their camp following Monday's game, reassigning right-hander Bobby Parnell, catcher Parker Morin, first baseman Ryan O'Hearn, infielder Garin Cecchini and right-hander Chris Withrow to their Minor League camp.

The Royals also released left-hander Jonathan Sanchez, who was trying to make a comeback after not having played in the Major Leagues since 2013.

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Jeffrey Flanagan has covered the Royals since 1991, and for MLB.com since 2015. Follow him on Twitter @FlannyMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Kennedy finds form against Cubs

Kennedy finds form against Cubs

MESA, Ariz. -- Ian Kennedy looked ready for the regular season on Sunday night.

The Royals right-hander struck out seven and held the Cubs to three hits over six innings in a 6-2 victory in front of a sellout crowd of 15,497 at Sloan Park. Addison Russell led off the Chicago eighth with a home run, his fifth this spring.

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Carrie Muskat has covered the Cubs since 1987, and for MLB.com since 2001. She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings. You can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat and listen to her podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

O'Brien giving Royals something to think about

O'Brien giving Royals something to think about

MESA, Ariz. -- It's a bit of a long shot for Peter O'Brien to make the Royals' Opening Day roster in two weeks. But long shots have come to be O'Brien's specialty. His game-tying homer in the ninth inning against the Indians on Saturday was his Cactus League-leading sixth, sending the game to extra innings and an eventual 4-4 draw.

It was O'Brien's second pinch-hit home run of the spring -- his first came in the Cactus League opener in February -- and for a 26-year old trying to make his first Opening Day roster, the ability to come off the bench with that kind of pop is a selling point.

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Owen Perkins is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.