Kansas City Royals

Royals finalize roster; three lefties in bullpen

Everett Teaford and Tim Collins survived the Royals’ final roster cuts Thursday afternoon and will join José Mijares in a three-lefty bullpen.

The Royals set their 25-man roster following an 11-8 loss to the Los Angeles Angels at Tempe Diable Stadium. Essentially, that meant announcing Teaford, Collins and, in a mild surprise, right-hander Kelvin Herrera had made the club.

Herrera, 22, beat out Louis Coleman, who paid the price for a poor camp after compiling a 2.87 ERA last season as a rookie in 48 games. Coleman was optioned to Triple-A Omaha after allowing runs in five of his last six appearances.

“Coleman is just a little off,” manager Ned Yost said. “He’ll go to Omaha and get that straightened out. But Herrera came in and won a job.”

Herrera was the organization’s minor-league pitcher of the year in 2011 and made a late push for a roster spot by racking up two saves and permitting just one tainted run over seven innings in his last six appearances.

The Royals also optioned right-handed reliever Jeremy Jeffress to Omaha and reassigned four players to minor-league camp: lefty relievers Tommy Hottovy and Francisley Bueno, catcher Max Ramirez and third baseman Kevin Kouzmanoff.

The moves, officially, leave 31 players on the camp roster, but five players are expected to open the season on the disabled list. Catchers Salvy Perez and Manny Piña are already on the 60-day list while recovering from torn knee cartilage.

Closer Joakim Soria will undergo season-ending surgery Tuesday in Los Angeles to replace the ulnar collateral ligament in his elbow. Club officials announced Wednesday that right-hander Felipe Paulino will open on the DL because of a sore elbow.

Righty reliever Blake Wood is also expected to open the season on the disabled list because of a sore right elbow.

The only other player in camp is right-handed pitcher Sean O’Sullivan, who is likely to be placed on waivers following his scheduled start today against the Chicago White Sox at Surprise Stadium.

O’Sullivan is out of options but can be forced to accept an outright assignment to the minors if he clears waivers.

Teaford, Collins, Herrera and Mijares will join right-handers Greg Holland, Jonathan Broxton and Aaron Crow in a seven-man bullpen when the Royals open the season next Friday against the Angels in Anaheim, Calif.

“I’m happy with this group,” Yost said. “We’ve got a real good long guy in Teaford, multiple-inning guys in Crow, Collins and Herrera who can get lefties and righties out.

“We’ve got a good (lefty) set-up guy in Mijares and power at the back of the bullpen with Holland and Broxton.”

The Royals previously set their rotation and identified their 13 position players.

That rotation also contains three left-handers in Bruce Chen, Jonathan Sánchez and Danny Duffy. That means the 12-man staff is split evenly with six lefties and six right-handers. Luke Hochevar and Luis Mendoza are the rotation’s two righties.

The rest of the roster breakdown:

Two catchers: Brayan Peña and Humberto Quintero.

Six infielders: Yuniesky Betancourt, Billy Butler, Alcides Escobar, Chris Getz, Eric Hosmer and Mike Moustakas.

Five outfielders: Jason Bourgeois, Lorenzo Cain, Jeff Francoeur, Alex Gordon and Mitch Maier.

Teaford, 27, will serve as the bullpen’s sole long reliever. He had not permitted a run in 15 innings this spring against major-league and minor-league competition before surrendering five runs in three innings Thursday against the Angels.

“He did a great job in competition for the rotation,” Yost said. “We’re very confident that he can come into games in the third or fourth inning and get us to the sixth or seventh and let the rest of our bullpen come into play.”

Collins, 22, appeared in a club-high 68 games last season as a rookie but needed to show better command this spring — after yielding 48 walks in 67 innings — to hold his spot. He did that by issuing just one walk, and allowing one earned run, in 91/3 innings.

“He came in and did exactly what he was supposed to do,” Yost said. “He refined his command. He’s been banging strikes and limiting his walks.”

Minor-league rosters

The Royals also set the rosters for their four full-season farm clubs: Class AAA Omaha, Class AA Northwest Arkansas, Class A Wilmington and Class A Kane County.

Outfielder Bubba Starling, the club’s top pick in last year’s draft, will remain in Surprise for extended spring training, although he is expected to join Kane County — perhaps as soon as late April or early May.

Many Omaha players spent time this spring in big-league camp, including second baseman Johnny Giavotella, first baseman Clint Robinson, outfielders Jarrod Dyson and David Lough and pitchers Mike Montgomery, Zach Miner, Vin Mazzaro, Will Smith and Nate Adcock.

Outfielder Wil Myers will return to Northwest Arkansas, which is getting some of the organization’s top arms, including Jake Odorizzi, Chris Dwyer and Noel Arguelles.

Third baseman Cheslor Cuthbert and outfielder Brian Fletcher head the Wilmington roster along with pitchers Jason Adam, Yordano Ventura and Greg Billo.

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