Hochevar, Davis eye final spot in rotation

Hochevar, Davis eye final spot in rotation

KANSAS CITY -- Now that left-hander Bruce Chen has been virtually assured of starting the season as the Royals' No. 4 starter, there'll be a scramble for the fifth and last spot.

And make no mistake, despite their successes in the bullpen last season, Luke Hochevar and Wade Davis will be aiming for that opening in Spring Training.

Hochevar spent the entire 2013 season in relief and was especially effective, finishing his 58 appearances with a 1.92 ERA along with a 5-2 record, two saves and 82 strikeouts in 70 1/3 innings. He finished the season as the primary setup man for closer Greg Holland.

"We'll see what shakes out. I'll take the ball in whatever situation they want to me to take the ball to help this club win," Hochevar said. "I like the rotation, I do. I had a lot of fun in the bullpen last year. I'm happy as long as I've got the ball and am on the hill."

Davis made 24 starts last season but was shifted to the bullpen late and made seven relief appearances. In those 10 innings, he had a 0.90 ERA, won two games and held opponents to a .094 average. Davis also had a good year in relief for Tampa Bay in 2012.

"I'm definitely going in to start," he said as he looked toward the start of camp next week. "I hope I get the opportunity to pitch and help this team win a lot of ballgames. ... I'm ready, probably more so than I ever have been."

Davis said he's added some muscle and some weight in the offseason. He's also going to wear a new uniform number, changing from 22 to 17.

"It was my brother's number, so I wear it in honor of him," Davis said.

Davis' step-brother, Dustin Huguley, died unexpectedly in Florida last Aug. 3 at age 25.

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