Hillman mum on final two starters

Hillman mum on final two starters

PEORIA, Ariz. -- The auditions are over, but manager Trey Hillman still isn't saying which pitchers have won the remaining two roles in the Royals' rotation.

Right-handers Brett Tomko and Kyle Davies closed out the tryouts in separate games on Tuesday.

Tomko pitched four innings against the San Diego Padres and gave up five hits and three runs. But only one run was earned because of a missed fly ball by left fielder Esteban German.

"I was pretty happy with it," Tomko said. "The command of my offspeed stuff the first couple of innings wasn't too good. I made an adjustment going out in the fourth inning and I felt good with it."

After his outing, Tomko went to the bullpen and threw 30 more pitches, giving him a total of 100 for the night.

Davies worked five innings in a Minor League game in the afternoon and surrendered six earned runs on 11 hits.

Although Hillman resolutely declines to confirm it, left-hander John Bale is assumed to have the No. 4 starting spot in hand.

"We like what we've seen from Bale. Davies was not very sharp today. I'm not going to say that's going to take him out of the mix, but that probably promotes John Bales' status even more," Hillman said.

Is there any way that Bale would not be in the rotation?

"To not make it, barring injury? I'm not sure I could give you any good excuse right now," Hillman said.

The decision on the No. 5 starter then apparently comes down to Tomko and left-hander Jorge De La Rosa, who had a spotty performance on Monday night against the Los Angeles Dodgers.

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"He's got electric stuff, and he is left-handed," Hillman said, declining to rule out De La Rosa.

The makeup of the bullpen is also pending. Hideo Nomo worked one inning against the Padres and gave up two hits and a run. That snapped his string of four perfect innings.

The makeup of the 'pen, of course, could hinge on who is in the starting rotation. But the wait continues.

"I don't think there'll be any announcements tomorrow," Hillman said after the 8-4 victory over the Padres.

But wait a minute. Hillman also mentioned a two-hour meeting with general manager Dayton Moore and others, that sounded suitably mysterious.

"There are still scenarios that could develop that I can't discuss," he said.

Hmmm. A looming trade, perhaps?

Hillman wasn't offering any hints, just that he expected more long meetings in the next two days. The Royals break camp on Thursday, heading for Milwaukee for two exhibition games, and Hillman said at least five extra players who would not be on the Opening Day roster would make the trip.

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