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Hillman anticipates only a few more cuts before camp breaks

SURPRISE, Ariz. | The Royals, with 37 players still in camp, appear in no hurry to trim their roster even as Sunday’s 2 p.m. deadline for determining the final 25-player unit draws closer.

Manager Trey Hillman said Monday the club might make only a few more cuts before breaking camp after Thursday’s game against campus co-tenant Texas.

The Royals and Rangers conclude spring training with games Friday night in Frisco, Texas, and Saturday afternoon in Arlington, Texas. The Royals have an open date Sunday before opening the season next Monday in Chicago.

“We’re going to go heavy anyway to Texas for coverage,” Hillman said, “and I don’t think more than two or three more (moves) will happen before we leave Arizona. I could be wrong. We’ll know more in the next 48 hours.”

Here are the 37 players still in camp with asterisks indicating those on minor-league contracts:

Pitchers (19): John Bale, Brian Bannister, Roman Colon*, Juan Cruz, Kyle Davies, Brandon Duckworth*, Kyle Farnsworth, Zack Greinke, Tim Hamulack*, Luke Hochevar, Ron Mahay, Gil Meche, Joel Peralta, Sidney Ponson*, Horacio Ramirez, Joakim Soria, Robinson Tejeda, Doug Waechter and Jamey Wright*.

Catchers (3): John Buck, Miguel Olivo and Brayan Peña.

Infielders (10): Mike Aviles, Willie Bloomquist, Billy Butler, Alberto Callaspo, Ross Gload, Alex Gordon, Mike Jacobs, Tony Peña, Ryan Shealy and Mark Teahen.

Outfielders (5): Shane Costa, Coco Crisp, David DeJesus, José Guillen and Mitch Maier.

Pitching plans

Draw your own conclusions from the Royals’ plans for their starting pitchers through the end of spring training:

Sidney Ponson pitches Tuesday against the A’s in Phoenix; Gil Meche on Wednesday against the Rockies in Surprise; Horacio Ramirez on Thursday against the Rangers in Surprise; Zack Greinke on Friday against the Rangers in Frisco; and Kyle Davies on Saturday against the Rangers in Arlington.

Luke Hochevar and Brian Bannister have again been relegated to minor-league games. Hochevar pitches Tuesday, while Bannister goes Wednesday.

The schedule lines up for either Ponson or Hochevar to pitch again Sunday, presumably in extended spring training, and be on track to be the fourth starter in the rotation for an April 10 start against the Yankees at Kauffman Stadium in the home opener.

Mahay fine

Lefty reliever Ron Mahay reported no day-after problems following his one-inning appearance Sunday against the Mariners. It was his first outing against big-league opponents since March 6.

“He said all body parts feel great,” Hillman said. “That’s good enough for me. He knows his body better than any of us know it.”

The Royals have limited Mahay’s workload in an effort to aid his recovery from surgery in January to correct a persistent bruise in the heel and arch of his left foot.

Starting lineup?

Hillman offered a possible preview of his lineup for Opening Day in Monday’s game against the Cubs at Surprise Stadium:

1. Crisp, CF; 2. DeJesus, LF; 3. Teahen, 2B; 4. Guillen, RF; 5. Jacobs, 1B; 6. Butler, DH; 7. Gordon, 3B; 8. Olivo, C; and 9. Aviles, SS.

Teahen seems almost certain to be in the lineup next Monday regardless of whether he wins the job as the regular second baseman. He is 18 for 43 for a .419 average in his career against Chicago starter Mark Buehrle.

Position battles

Waechter’s spot in the bullpen is probably safe, but he’s pitching his way into long-relief duty after blowing save for the third time in his last four appearances.

Stat wrap

The Royals entered Monday leading all teams with 46 homers and hit three more against the Cubs.

Personnel moves

The Royals, with 37 players still in camp, appear in no hurry to trim their roster even as Sunday’s 2 p.m. deadline for determining the final 25-player unit draws closer.

Hillman said the club might make only a few more cuts before breaking camp after Thursday’s game against campus co-tenant Texas.

The Royals and Rangers conclude spring training with games Friday night in Frisco, Texas, and Saturday afternoon in Arlington, Texas. The Royals have an open date Sunday before opening the season next Monday in Chicago.

“We’re going to go heavy anyway to Texas for coverage,” Hillman said, “and I don’t think more than two or three more (moves) will happen before we leave Arizona. I could be wrong. We’ll know more in the next 48 hours.”

Etc.

It was a tough day for some ex-Royals. The Rangers released lefty reliever Jimmy Gobble, whom they signed earlier this month after his release by the Royals. Gobble spent the previous 10 years in the Royals’ organization.

The Cubs released catcher Paul Bako before their game against the Royals. Bako played for the Royals in 2006. That move came one day after they reassigned infielders Esteban German and Andres Blanco to the minor leagues. German spent the previous three years with the Royals; Blanco was in the Royals’ system from 2002-07.

On deck

The Royals play their last Arizona spring game away from Surprise when they travel to Phoenix to play the Oakland A’s.

Up next

Royals (RHP Sidney Ponson) vs. A’s (LHP Josh Outman), at 3:05 p.m. Central time in Phoenix.

Quotebook

“Shoot, one of the only times I remember that happening was in Yankee Stadium. Next day he came back in and did just fine.”

—manager Trey Hillman on All-Star closer Joakim Soria allowing three runs in the ninth inning.

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