Start the countdown to spring training.
By BOB DUTTON
The Kansas City Star
The Royals announced their reporting dates and released their spring schedule Tuesday for the 2014 season. It all begins Feb. 14 when pitchers and catchers report to the clubs year-round complex in Surprise, Ariz.
Thats right: Valentines Day.
The first full-squad workout is Feb. 20 in preparation for the Cactus League opener on Feb. 27 against campus co-tenant Texas at Surprise Stadium. The 30-game spring schedule concludes March 28-29 with two games against the Brewers in Milwaukee.
The Royals open the 2014 regular season on March 31 in Detroit.
Spring season tickets to the Royals 14-game home schedule go on sale Dec. 2 through mail orders to the Surprise Recreation Campus box office. Fans can call (623) 222-2222 or go online here to obtain a ticket brochure.
Individual spring game tickets become available Dec. 9 through an online pre-sale at ticketmaster.com or by calling (800) 745-3000. The stadium box office opens at 7 a.m. Mountain time on Jan. 4 for walk-up purchases.
Tickets purchased online or over the phone are subject to a service charge.
The Royals, like all clubs, have until 11 p.m. Wednesday to set their 40-man roster in advance of the Rule 5 Draft, which takes place Dec. 12 at the Winter Meetings in Orlando, Fla.
Clubs can continue to add major-league players to their roster through trades or free-agent signings, even if it requires a corresponding space-clearing move, but are prohibited from adding any player from their minor-league system until after the draft.
Prospects become eligible for the Rule 5 Draft if not protected by a club on its 40-man roster after four or five pro seasons: four years for players who are 19 or older when they sign their first pro contract; five years for those younger than 19.
The Royals have one opening on their roster following Sundays move to sign free-agent catcher Francisco Pena. Adding more than one player prior to the deadline would require a corresponding space-clearing move.
Club officials are believed to be considering several prospects as roster additions, including reliever Michael Mariot, infielder Christian Colon, third baseman Cheslor Cuthbert and outfielders Brett Eibner, Lane Adams and Brian Fletcher.
Report: Johnson to sign with Padres
Another free-agent pitcher viewed by the Royals as a possible replacement for right-hander Ervin Santana appears to be heading elsewhere.
Right-hander Josh Johnson agreed to a one-year deal for $8 million with San Diego, according to ESPN. He indicated a strong preference to return to the National League after spending an injury-filled season in Toronto after parts of nine years with Miami.
Johnson, 29, would be the second of the Royals potential off-season targets to slip away this week to an NL team. Veteran right-hander Tim Hudson signed a two-year deal for $23 million Monday with San Francisco.
The Royals have also been linked to free-agent Phil Hughes, who spent the last seven years with the New York Yankees. The Royals also remain interested in retaining Santana, but not at his asking price of $112 million over five years.
Royals 2014 spring schedule
*All times Central; dates and times subject to change
(SS) indicates split squad
|Feb. 28||at Texas||Surprise||2:05|
|March 1||San Diego||Surprise||2:05|
|March 2||at Chicago Cubs||Mesa||2:05|
|March 3||at Chicago White Sox||Glendale||2:05|
|March 5||at Arizona||Scottsdale||2:05|
|March 6||Chicago White Sox (SS)||Surprise||2:05|
|March 7||San Francisco||Surprise||2:05|
|March 8||at Milwaukee||Maryvale||2:05|
|March 10||at Seattle (SS)||Peoria||3:05|
|March 11||Los Angeles Dodgers||Surprise||3:05|
|March 12||at Oakland||Phoenix||3:05|
|March 13||at Cleveland||Goodyear||3:05|
|March 15||Chicago Cubs||Surprise||3:05|
|March 16||at San Diego Padres||Peoria||3:05|
|March 18||Tuesday||OPEN DATE|
|March 20||Los Angeles Angels||Surprise||3:05|
|March 21||at Cincinnati||Goodyear||3:05|
|at LA Angels||Tempe||3:05|
|March 23||at San Francisco||Scottsdale||3:05|
|March 24||at Colorado||Scottsdale||3:05|
|March 26||at San Diego||Peoria||3:05|
|March 27||Thursday||OPEN DATE|
|March 28||at Milwaukee||Milwaukee||7:10|
|March 29||at Milwaukee||Milwaukee||1:10|