With just 18 days remaining until Opening Day, the major-league clubhouse here at Royals camp continued to empty.
The club on Friday optioned six players to Class AAA Omaha, including prospects Hunter Dozier, Bubba Starling and Jorge Bonifacio.
Dozier, a third baseman and outfielder, and Bonifacio, a corner outfielder, had terrific spring performances at the plate. Yet each is blocked at the big-league level and will begin the season at Omaha.
The Royals also optioned shortstop Ramon Torres, reliever Andrew Edwards and catcher Cam Gallagher.
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The latest round of cuts leaves 45 players in big-league camp, including 16 nonroster invitees. Reliever Brian Flynn, who is also in camp, is on the 60-day disabled list and not included in the number.
With just a few open spots remaining on the 25-man roster, Friday’s cuts were expected. Infielders Whit Merrifield, Christian Colon, Raul Mondesi and Cheslor Cuthbert continue to battle for the starting second base job and two remaining bench spots. Outfielders Billy Burns and Terrance Gore are also still in camp.
There is also one open bullpen slot, with Kelvin Herrera, Matt Strahm, Joakim Soria, Mike Minor and the two leftovers in the battle for the fifth starter spot well positioned to make the club.
Left-hander Scott Alexander, who has posted a 1.17 ERA in seven appearances, and right-hander Peter Moylan (1.80 ERA in five innings) remain in competition for a bullpen spot. Alexander is a member of the 40-man roster, while Moylan was invited to camp on a minor-league contract.
In addition, right-hander Yender Caramo and left-hander Eric Stout are thriving in their first appearances at big-league camp. Caramo, a sinkerballer from Venezuela, has allowed one run in 6 1/3 innings, while Stout has thrown six scoreless innings with five strikeouts.