Notes: Dessens is Royals' middle man

Notes: Dessens is Royals' middle man

SURPRISE, Ariz. -- The back of the bullpen is packed with Ambiorix Burgos, Andrew Sisco and Mike MacDougal.

The rotation is stacked with eight or nine guys.

In between is -- Elmer Dessens.

It's somewhat fitting that Dessens sits alone most mornings in the Royals clubhouse. He's really the only guy with a job as a middle reliever in hand.

Dessens was signed as a free agent, after pitching last season for the Los Angeles Dodgers, strictly to provide a long man in the bullpen.

"It's OK. I like to start more, but I can be a starter or a reliever. It depends what my role is," he said.

Last year, Dessens made 28 appearances, including seven starts, for the Dodgers. He was a rotation regular for the Cincinnati Reds and the Arizona Diamondbacks for four years before morphing into a middle man who occasionally started.

"That was key for him -- his versatility, being able to start and being able to give you quality innings in relief," assistant general manager Muzzy Jackson said. "It saves these other guys -- you don't have to use them too early in the game too often."

As camp goes along, Dessens will be joined by those who don't make the rotation or up-and-coming relievers. The list is long.

Dessens, 35, from Hermosillo, Mexico, has demonstrated what has carried him through nine Major League seasons and two in Japan.

"He's kept his sinker low and located his slider on both sides," catcher John Buck said. "Whatever I read about him, he's fit to a tee."

Full house: Outfielder Reggie Sanders and infielder Esteban German checked in Thursday. That made it 40-for-40 on the winter roster.

Also moving in was non-roster third baseman Alex Gordon.

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No, he wasn't back in his hometown of Lincoln, Neb., collecting on that big Powerball payoff.

"I bought gas there once, though," he said.

Gordon won his personal lottery last September, signing for $4 million after being the No. 2 overall pick in June's First-Year Player Draft.

The first full-squad workout will be held at 9:30 a.m. MT on Friday at the Surprise complex.

Mound bound: Left-hander Bobby Madritsch is still throwing long toss from about 150 feet as he recovers from offseason arm surgery. He's scheduled to throw from the mound next week.

Legends game: The 20th annual Legends Charity Baseball Game is scheduled for Sunday at Surprise Stadium.

Hall of Famer Bob Feller is to appear. Ex-Royals include Bob Boone, Russ McGinnis, Ken Phelps and Steve Scarsone.

An Arizona Diamondbacks home run-hitting contest is scheduled for 1 p.m. MT, followed by a celebrity game at 2 p.m.

Dick Kaegel is a reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.