Ned Yost played coy last week when revealing the slotting for his starting rotation. He declined to say when Bruce Chen would pitch during the Royals’ first week of the season.
But with Opening Day less than three weeks away, Chen is lined up to pitch in the fifth game. That opens up the third spot for either Yordano Ventura or Danny Duffy. Ventura is scheduled for that day right now, pitching after Jason Vargas.
Yost explained his thought process on Wednesday morning. But Vargas and Chen are left-handed, command specialists. Yost does not want to stack two similar pitchers on back-to-back days.
“I don’t really want to give you a good look at Vargas, and then a good look at Chen,” Yost said.
Yost indicated there was still enough time in the spring to shift Duffy into that third spot, if he outpitches Ventura.
Here is the lineup as Ventura faces the Athletics in Phoenix:
1. Lorenzo Cain, CF.
2. Justin Maxwell, RF.
3. Eric Hosmer, 1B.
4. Billy Butler, DH.
5. Alex Gordon, LF.
6. Salvador Perez, C.
7. Mike Moustakas, 3B.
8. Danny Valencia, 2B.
9. Christian Colon, SS.
As you can see, Perez is back in the lineup after missing Tuesday with a bruised left palm. Perez said he feels fine.
Second baseman Omar Infante (shoulder inflammation) received a scheduled day off. Yost intends to play him again on Thursday. Shortstop Alcides Escobar (shoulder inflammation) will take a few days to rest his arm.