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Royals Q&A: A final decision on Hayes, Kottaras

Updated: 2013-03-29T14:29:51Z

By BOB DUTTON

The Kansas City Star

SURPRISE, Ariz. -- The Royals break camp after today’s game against Cleveland at Surprise Stadium and, by then, they should have a decision on whether Brett Hayes or George Kottaras will be the backup catcher.

Everything else is already decided.

The club will fly tonight to Chicago and have a true day off Saturday before holding a workout Sunday at U.S. Cellular Field. They open the regular season at 3:10 p.m. Monday against the White Sox.

Jeremy Guthrie will start today’s game against the Indians, which begins at 2:05 p.m. Central time. It will be a tapered outing: four innings or 60 pitches -- just as James Shields and Ervin Santana had the last two days.

I’ll tweet a lineup when it’s available.

The rosters are out for the Royals’ four full-season affiliates. Some highlights:

Class AAA Omaha is chocked with lots of familiar names. Johnny Giavotella is listed as the second baseman, while Christian Colon and Irving Falu are designated as second baseman/shortstop.

Right-handed pitchers Yordano Ventura and Jason Adam will open the season at Class AA Northwest Arkansas along with shortstop Orlando Calixte and outfielder Brett Eibner.

Lefty John Lamb will begin his first full season back from Tommy John surgery at Class A Wilmington. He’ll join Kyle Zimmer, Sam Selman and Kyle Smith in what projects as a dominant rotation. Third baseman Cheslor Cuthbert and right fielder Jorge Bonifacio are also on the Blue Rocks.

Class A Lexington gets three of the organization’s top young prospects in outfielder Bubba Starling, shortstop Adalberto Mondesi and pitcher Miguel Almonte.

Here are the full rosters:

Class AAA Omaha

Pitchers (14): Nate Adcock, Buddy Baumann, Blaine Boyer, Francisley Bueno, Chris Dwyer, Donnie Joseph, Michael Mariot, Justin Marks, Anthony Ortega, Brian Sanches, Atahualpa Severino, Will Smith, Everett Teaford and Ryan Verdugo.

Catchers (2): Adam Moore and Max Ramirez.

Infielders (7): 1B Chad Tracy, 2B Johnny Giavotella, 2B/SS Christian Colon, 2B/SS Irving Falu, UTL Anthony Seratelli, UTL Brandon Wood and UTL Xavier Nady.

Outfielders (4): CF Luis Durango, OF David Lough, OF Paulo Orlando and OF Willy Taveras.

Class AA Northwest Arkansas

Pitchers (14): Jason Adam, Noel Arguelles, Edwin Carl, Andy Ferguson, Santiago Garrido, Jon Keck, Sugar Ray Marimon, Brooks Pounders, Matt Ridings, Nick Rogers, Sam Runion, J.C. Sulbaran, Yordano Ventura and Cole White.

Catchers (3): Mitch Canham, Juan Graterol and Manny Pina.

Infielders (6): 1B Matt Fields, 2B Angel Franco, 3B Rey Navarro, SS Alex McClure, SS Orlando Calixte and UTL Whit Merrifield.

Outfielders (4): CF Brett Eibner, LF Brian Fletcher, LF Roman Hernandez and RF Yem Prades.

Class A Wilmington

Pitchers (13): Angel Baez, Aaron Brooks, Antonio Cruz, Malcom Culver, Cody Fassold, John Lamb, Kellen Moen, Spencer Patton, Sam Selman, Kyle Smith, Andrew Triggs, Robinson Yambati and Kyle Zimmer.

Catchers (2): Parker Morin and Kenny Swab.

Infielders (7): 1B Daniel Mateo, 1B Murray Watts, 2B Justin Trapp, 3B Cheslor Cuthbert, SS Jack Lopez, UTL Kenny Diekroeger and UTL Nick DelGuidice.

Outfielders (5): CF Lane Adams, OF Geulin Beltrem RF Jorge Bonifacio, OF Chris Elder and OF Tim Ferguson.

Class A Lexington

Pitchers (13): Scott Alexander, Miguel Almonte, Christian Binford, Bryan Brickhouse, Cory Hall, Daniel Hernandez, Alec Mills, Aroni Nina, Mark Peterson, Colin Rodgers, Clayton Schulz, Daniel Stumpf and Ali Williams.

Catchers (3): Cameron Gallagher, Alex Marquez and Jin-Ho Shin.

Infielders (7): 1B Mark Threlkeld, 2B/SS Humberto Arteaga, 3B Michael Antonio, SS Adalberto Mondesi, UTL Nick Cuckovich, UTL Adrian Morales and UTL Yowill Espinal.

Outfielders (4): OF Ethan Chapman, RF Fred Ford, LF Terrence Gore and CF Bubba Starling.

Thanks for the interest and all of the questions this spring. We’ll figure out a way to continue the interaction during the season in some fashion.

@benny_the_buddy: Will the fact that the team is already "over budget" going into opening day make it harder for KC to acquire an upgrade?

Initially, yes. But if they’re in contention as the trade deadline nears, I’d expect owner David Glass to show a willingness to improve the club.

@LimbackShawn: Why wasn't AGordon given time in RF? His arm is better for it than Hos, etc and easier to find LF in free agency next yr.

Alex Gordon is a two-time Gold Glove winner in left. The Royals are unlikely to mess with that. Also, there are few if any right fielders with a better arm than Jeff Francoeur.

I agree completely that Eric Hosmer is suspect fit in right field. I’ll be surprised if he gets much time there.

@nedlatimer: Who will be the usual 8th inning guy?

That figures to rotation to reflect who is rested and pitching well, but it seems clear that Kelvin Herrera is viewed as the bullpen’s backup closer to Greg Holland. I’d look for him to get the eighth more than anyone else.

@dgdowner2: You really added a lot to the ST this year, Mr. Dutton. Thank you for all the work you did. You are a Star bright spot.

Pay attention, Jeff. You too, Nicole.

@unkieheaf09: who's rotation spots will Ventura and Duffy take in June?

You’ve being optimistic in predicting a June return for Danny Duffy in his recovery from Tommy John surgery and a June promotion for Yordano Ventura, whose resume shows six starts and 29 ⅓ innings above Class A.

Anything is possible, of course.

Plus, if Duffy and/or Ventura are needed in June, then something probably went wrong -- either an injury or a sustained disappointing performance. An injury is possible for anyone. Cutting cards for an answer is as good as any.

@PhilGarver: In your opinion starting RF on September first: Frenchy. Lough, Cain or another?

Your guess is as good as mine. If I had to pick, I’d say Jeff Francoeur.

@swartsr: How much stock do you put into this spring's performance? Will it carry over?

The Royals played well this spring, and they played well when the No. 1s were playing the No. 1s. No question, spring results are suspect. But they’re not meaningless. The Royals leave Surprise as a confident bunch.

@Bjoe87: Thoughts on Ervin Santana this spring?

Pretty much as advertised. I saw no reason to be concerned by previous elbow issues. I also see no reason he can’t be a productive member of the rotation.

@juliokcmo: only 9 managers enter this year with an expiring contract. Ned is one of them. He may not be on the hot seat, but it's warm.

You might think so, but I see no evidence that the Royals agree with you.

@chaser_racer32: How can the Royals possibly prepare for 35 degree weather for opening day in the Windy City?

The White Sox spent the last two months in the Phoenix area, too. Should be a push.

To reach Bob Dutton, Royals reporter for The Star, send email to bdutton@kcstar.com. Follow his updates at twitter.com/Royals_Report.

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