Finnegan among nine players Royals send to Minors

Lefty, drafted in 2014, was key member of last season's postseason bullpen

Finnegan among nine players Royals send to Minors

SURPRISE, Ariz. -- The Royals made a round of nine roster cuts after Sunday's 4-2 victory over a Giants split-squad at Surprise Stadium, and the biggest name was left-hander Brandon Finnegan, who was optioned to Double-A Northwest Arkansas.

Finnegan, the club's No. 4 prospect, per MLB.com, made seven relief appearances for the Royals last September and recorded a 1.29 ERA. Even more significantly, he was on the 25-man roster throughout the postseason and again made seven more appearances, two each in the American League Division Series, AL Championship Series and the Kansas City's World Series loss to San Francisco in addition to the AL Wild Card Game.

"It's been a whirlwind for this kid from the day he signed," Royals manager Ned Yost said about Finnegan, the 17th-overall selection of the 2014 First-Year Player Draft. "He went from Double-A to Triple-A to the big leagues to the playoffs and the World Series. It was a hectic winter for him. We just need to get him back where he has to be to help us."

In addition, the Royals optioned right-handed pitchers Michael Mariot and Yohan Pino, catcher Francisco Pena, infielder Cheslor Cuthbert and outfielder Reymond Fuentes to Triple-A Omaha, and outfielder Terrance Gore to Class A Advanced Wilmington. They also reassigned catcher Parker Morin and outfielder Brett Eibner to Minor League camp.

The Royals have 37 active players in the Major League spring camp, including 28 players from the 40-man roster and nine non-roster invitees.

Mariot appeared in relief 17 times for the Royals last season and had a 1-0 record and a 6.48 ERA. Pino was a free-agent signing this past winter, who made 11 starts last year for the Twins and was 2-5 with a 5.07 ERA, but added 50 strikeouts in 60 1/3 innings. Fuentes played 23 games for the Padres in 2013 and batted .152.

Gore was called up late last season to utilize his speed. He was on the playoff roster throughout October and stole three bases, supplementing the five he swiped during the regular season. The other four players either have marginal or no big league experience.

Finnegan, only 21, struggled this spring, making four Cactus League relief appearances and compiling an 8.53 ERA -- seven runs (six earned) on nine hits with four walks in 6 1/3 innings.

Yost said Finnegan will go down to the Minors and work as a starter, with a limit on innings and a very strict pitch count.

"We just thought it was better for him to go down. He had a huge workload last year," Yost said. "He hasn't been real sharp in Spring Training. Just get him back down, get him going again. And have him ready for whenever we need him."

Barry M. Bloom is a national reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, Boomskie on Baseball. Follow @boomskie on Twitter. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.