Royals invite 16 players to Spring Training

Royals invite 16 players to Spring Training

KANSAS CITY -- Five of the Royals' brightest young prospects are among the 16 non-roster players invited to Major League Spring Training.

Pitchers Mike Montgomery and Will Smith, both 22, and Chris Dwyer, 23, will be in the Royals' camp for the second consecutive year. Getting invitations for the first time are pitcher Jake Odorizzi, 21, and outfielder Wil Myers, 22.

The list of 16, down from 25 last year, was released by the Royals on Wednesday.

The others are pitchers Francisley Bueno, Tommy Hottovy and Zach Miner; catchers Cody Clark, Max Ramirez and Julio Rodriguez; infielders Tony Abreu, Irving Falu and Kevin Kouzmanoff, and outfielders Greg Golson and Paulo Orlando.

Montgomery made a strong bid for the roster last spring, but he was sent to Triple-A Omaha, where he was 5-11 with a 5.32 ERA in 28 games. Dwyer, drafted out of Clemson three years ago, made 27 starts for Double-A Northwest Arkansas and was 8-10 with a 5.60 ERA. Smith, obtained from the Angels in the Alberto Callaspo trade, led the Texas League with 13 wins and 161 1/3 innings. All three are left-handers.

Odorizzi, who came from the Brewers in the Zack Greinke deal, is a right-hander who might get a crack at the rotation himself -- if not this spring, then before the season ends. Myers, a catcher moved to the outfield, is a strong right-handed hitter who tore up the Arizona Fall League after an injury-interrupted summer with Northwest Arkansas.

Hottovy, 30, is a Kansas City native and Wichita State product. The left-hander reached the Majors last season and pitched in eight games for the Red Sox. Bueno, 30, is also a lefty who made 15 starts (7-5, 4.15 ERA) last year for Monterrey in the Mexican League. He was formerly in the Braves' organization. This is the second Royals camp for right-hander Miner, 29, who had a 157-game history with the Tigers before undergoing Tommy John surgery. He got into 23 games last year in the Minors.

Kouzmanoff, 30, brings six years of experience as a Major League infielder with four teams. A right-handed batter, he's got some power, hitting 23 homers for the Padres in 2008. Kouzmanoff could provide insurance behind third baseman Mike Moustakas.

The switch-hitting Falu, 28, hit .301 last year for Triple-A Omaha. Versatility is a strong suit; he played second, third, short and right field. Abreu, 27, is also a switch hitter who batted .252 in 146 big league games, last with the Diamondbacks in 2010.

Orlando, 26, is a right-handed hitter who was with both Omaha and Northwest Arkansas (.268). He's trying to become the first Brazilian-born player to reach the Majors. Golson, 26, has played with three big league teams, including the Yankees the last two years (33 games, .235).

Cody Clark, 30, has been a regular extra catcher in Spring Training; he's played the last two years for Omaha. Rodriguez, 22, came in a 2011 trade with the Tigers; he's been a Minor League All-Star three times. Ramirez, 27, caught briefly for the Rangers, and like Royals regular catcher Salvador Perez, is from Venezuela.

The Royals also re-signed right-handed pitcher Roman Colon, who pitched 48 games in relief for them in 2009-10 before being released so he could play in Korea. Colon, 32, got a Minor League contract with no invitation to the big league camp.

Workouts for pitchers and catchers begin on Feb. 20 in Surprise, Ariz. The rest of the squad starts five days later. In reality, however, many players begin informal workouts earlier.

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