Josh Staumont, a 23-year-old right-hander who has emerged as one of the Royals’ top pitching prospects, will start the club’s Cactus League opener against the Texas Rangers at 2:05 p.m. Saturday.
The news came Wednesday morning as Royals manager Ned Yost revealed the team’s pitching schedule for the first week of spring-training games.
After Staumont, the Royals plan to use a collection of young arms and potential reclamation projections. Among those slated to throw on Saturday: Jake Junis, Yender Caramo, Luke Farrell, Andrew Edwards, left-hander Eric Stout, left-hander Jonathan Sanchez and Al Alburquerque. Staumont and Junis will work two innings or 35 pitches, Yost said. The rest of the pitchers are scheduled for one inning.
Right-hander Kyle Zimmer, who is returning from surgery to address thoracic outlet syndrome, will start against the Rangers on Sunday. He will be followed by Miguel Almonte, left-hander Scott Alexander, left-hander Jonathan Dziedzic, Malcom Culver, Kevin McCarthy, Brandon League and Bobby Parnell.
“We want to kind of pace our main guys here a little bit,” Yost said. “We don’t want them to peak too soon, if you will.”
Jason Vargas will start against the Seattle Mariners on Monday in Peoria. The Royals list Joakim Soria, left-hander Mike Minor and right-hander Chris Withrow as slated to pitch in relief.
Danny Duffy will make his first spring training start on the road Tuesday against the Milwaukee Brewers. Nathan Karns will start Wednesday against the Chicago Cubs in Surprise. Chris Young and left-hander Travis Wood will start Thursday against the Colorado Rockies.
The Royals’ Cactus League schedule is slated to start a week earlier than usual because of the World Baseball Classic, which begins in March.
“I’m not blowing guys out in spring training,” Yost said. “We’ve got more than enough time.”