SURPRISE, Ariz. — Newcomer Elliot Johnson can expect to see some duty this spring in the outfield when the Royals swing into their Cactus League schedule.
By BOB DUTTON
The Kansas City Star
Manager Ned Yost said versatility will be a key element this spring in determining who makes the roster as a utility player. It’s possible the Royals might keep two utility players.
“We’re going to do a lot of stuff’,” he said. “(Miguel) Tejada is going to play third, second, short and first. (Irving) Falu is going to play some outfield. (Xavier) Nady is going to play some outfield and some third and first in spring training.
“We’re going to look at Elliot at second, shortstop and some in left, maybe a little in center. Just to see what we’ve got. We’ll try to remain as versatile as we can.”
That could make for an interesting camp.
Johnson has played just 21 1/3 innings in the outfield over seven games in his three big-league seasons. Tejada has just four games of experience at second base in a 15-year career, although he did play the position in winter ball. He has never played first base.
Falu didn’t play the outfield last season while appearing in 24 games as a rookie. He does have 118 games of minor-league experience as an outfielder over 10 seasons – primarily in right field.
Nady has lots of experience in the outfield and first base but has only three games at third in 11 seasons.
Duffy on tap
Lefty Danny Duffy exhibited no day-after problems Wednesday following his first work from a mound since undergoing reconstructive-elbow surgery and will repeat his workout at Thursday’s practice.
That’s one day ahead of schedule.
Duffy said it “was everything I wanted” after throwing 18 fastballs Tuesday, which marked his first mount appearance since leaving a May 13 start in Chicago because of elbow pain. He subsequently underwent Tommy John surgery on June 13.
The original plan for Duffy was to throw again Friday. His full timetable projects a complete recovery by mid-July, but Duffy is vowing to be ready by late June.
Veteran lefty Bruce Chen took to Twitter on Wednesday to confirm what he announced a day earlier — that he’s ending his quest to play for China in the World Baseball Classic.
“I have decided to withdraw from competing in the #WBC for#teamchina,” he tweeted. “I want to thank #WBC, #teamchina, @royals and the fans for all the support.
“Now I am working on getting ready for this upcoming season.”
Chen sought to play for China because his grandparents emigrated from that country to his native Panama. Such a connection is usually sufficient for eligibility, but Chen had difficulty providing the certification committee with sufficient supporting documents.
All infielders and outfielders are required to report in Thursday and be ready Friday for the Royals’ first full-squad workout.
The only anticipated absence in shortstop Alcides Escobar, who remains in Venezuela because of problems in obtaining a visa for his new wife. Escobar expects to arrive late Friday to camp and be ready for Saturday’s practice.
The Royals open their 36-game Cactus League schedule a week from Friday with the first of three straight games against complex co-tenant Texas at Surprise Stadium.
To reach Bob Dutton, Royals reporter for The Star, send email to . Follow his updates at twitter.com/Royals_Report.