Royals move Wade Davis to bullpen, name James Shields as opening day starter

03/08/2014 10:26 AM

03/08/2014 10:26 AM

With Luke Hochevar out for the season, the Royals removed Wade Davis from the fifth starter competition and ticketed him for a late-inning bullpen role.

"He’s a dominant factor down there for us," manager Ned Yost said. "Once we lost Hoch, it became apparent to me that his presence was sorely needed down there."

During his five big-league seasons, Davis has been a serviceable starter (4.57 ERA) and a good reliever (2.24 ERA). Yost indicated he could even close some games when Greg Holland requires a day of rest.

That means Yordano Ventura and Danny Duffy are the only two realistic candidates left for the fifth spot. The team released Brad Penny on Friday morning. Like general manager Dayton Moore, Yost would prefer the loser of the competition to go to Class AAA Omaha.

In the most predictable maneuver of this camp, Yost also named James Shields as his opening day starter. It was his subsequent choices that proved more interesting.

Jason Vargas will start the second game in Detroit. Jeremy Guthrie will start the home opener on April 4.

Yost declined to say when Bruce Chen, his fourth starter, would make his first appearance.

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