Royals trade Gload to the Marlins and finalize their rotation

SURPRISE, Ariz. | The Royals moved to trim their roster Wednesday morning by trading veteran first baseman Ross Gload to the Florida Marlins and asking release waivers on reliever Joel Peralta.

Manager Trey Hillman also confirmed Sidney Ponson and Horacio Ramirez will open the season as the rotation's final two members behind Gil Meche, Zack Greinke and Kyle Davies.

Ponson will start the home opener April 10 against the New York Yankees at Kauffman Stadium. Ramirez will spend much of the first month in the bullpen because open dates in the schedule minimize the need for a fifth starter.

Pitcher Brian Bannister was optioned to Class AAA Omaha, where he will join Luke Hochevar in the rotation. Hochevar was optioned Tuesday to Omaha.

Hillman also confirmed reliever John Bale will open the season on the disabled list. Bale is recovering from March 3 surgery to remove a hyperactive thyroid but made his first game appearance Wednesday in a 15-pitch appearance in a minor-league game.

The flurry of moves reduced the Royals' camp roster to 32 players. They must get down to 25 by 2 p.m. Sunday.

General manager Dayton Moore indicated the Royals are likely to open the season with just 11 pitchers, instead of the usual 12, on their 25-man roster. That is likely to be a temporary alignment.

The Royals sent Gload to the Marlins with cash for a player to be named later. The Royals are believed to be paying about $1.5 million of Gload's $1.9 million guaranteed salary. They will receive a minor-league player in return at an unspecified date.

Gload, who turns 33 on Sunday, batted .273 last season while appearing in a career-high 122 games but appeared ticketed for a severely reduced role after the Royals acquired first baseman Mike Jacobs in an offseason trade -- ironically -- from the Marlins.

"It's always shocking," he said. "I've been traded. I've been waived. I've been designated. I think (saying goodbye) to the guys is the toughest part. But baseball is baseball."

Gload's production declined last season to three homers and 37 RBIs after he batted .288 in 2007 with seven homers and 51 RBIs in 102 games. He has a .287 career average in 483 games over parts of seven seasons with four clubs.

The Royals cut Peralta, 33, rather than send him to the minors in a move that allows them to save about $480,000 on his $640,000 salary. Players with non-guaranteed contracts are entitled to only about one-fourth of their salary if cut by Wednesday’s deadline.

Peralta struggled this spring and became an odd-man out in a crowded bullpen. He allowed four homers, six runs and 10 hits this spring in just 8 2/3 innings after surrendering 15 homers last season in 52 2/3 innings.

Related stories from Wichita Eagle