Two candidates for the Royals’ 2013 bullpen – lefty Francisley Bueno and right-hander Jeremy Jeffress – are among 13 players from the organization expected to take part in the various winter-ball leagues throughout the Caribbean and Venezuela.
Jeffress, 25, will pitch for the Margarita Braves in Venezuela, while Bueno, 31, will pitch for the Licey Tigers in the Dominican Republic.
The Royals, in all, anticipate 21 players expected to take part in winter ball, including eight currently playing for the Surprise Saguaros in the Arizona Fall League.
Jeffress allowed 10 earned runs and 19 hits in 13 1/3 innings over 13 big-league appearances but spent most of the season at Class AAA Omaha, where he was 5-4 with a 4.97 ERA in 37 games. He also had 61 strikeouts and 25 walks in 58 innings.
Bueno looms as a strong candidate to serve next season as a situational lefty after allowing just three earned runs over 17 1/3 innings in 18 big-league appearances following his promotion from Omaha. He also stranded all 14 of his inherited runners.
Others scheduled for duty in the Caribbean or Venezuela:
Outfielder Jorge Bonifacio and right-hander Michael Mariot will join Bueno at Licey. The Star recently ranked Bonifacio as the organization’s No. 8 prospect. Lefty reliever Blaine Hardy and catcher/first baseman Max Ramirez will join Jeffress at Margarita.
Third baseman Mario Lisson and lefty reliever Brandon Sisk are at Magallanes in Venezuela. Infielder Christian Colón (Ponce) and left-hander Ryan Dennick (Mayaguez) will play in Puerto Rico.
Utilityman Anthony Seratelli (Mazatlan) and righty Federico Castaneda (Culiacan) are in Mexico, and outfielder Carlo Testa is heading to Australia to play for Melbourne.
Early AFL numbers
Shortstop Orlando Calixte, No. 15 in The Star’s recent rankings, is three for nine in two games for Surprise in the Arizona Fall League. Outfielder Brian Fletcher is three for 10 through three games.
Lefty Justin Marks worked three hitless innings last week in starting Surprise’s season opener.