Opinion

Royals inching closer to decision on first-round pick Brandon Finnegan

Kansas City Royals pitcher Brandon Finnegan
Kansas City Royals pitcher Brandon Finnegan The Kansas City Star

Brandon Finnegan will make two more pitching appearances before the Royals decide whether to continue to stretch him out as a starter or shift him into a bullpen role, manager Ned Yost said on Friday morning.

Finnegan will throw one or two innings for Kansas City on Saturday against the Angels. He will tally three frames in another outing five days later. At that point, Yost said, the club should have better clarity about whether Finnegan’s services are required in the major leagues. Otherwise, the 2014 first-round pick will develop in Class AAA Omaha’s starting rotation.

“We’ll have a little bit better idea where we’re at,” Yost said. “We’ll extend him out to a point where if we want to continue extending him, we can. Or if we want to back him down, it’s easier.”

Even if Finnegan continues to lengthen himself out for a starting role in the minor leagues, the Royals reserve the right to shift him back late in camp. With Tim Collins out for the season, Finnegan appears to be the best left-handed option on the 40-man roster.

Though Yost said he would “maybe” take two southpaws in his bullpen to start the year, the competition appears to come down to Finnegan and Franklin Morales. Morales is not on the 40-man roster, but he can inherit a spot vacated when Collins is placed on the disabled list.

“I’ve liked what I’ve seen from Morales,” Yost said. “Veteran guy. Throws strikes. Has good stuff. I’ve liked what I’ve seen from Morales a lot.”

To reach Andy McCullough, call 816-234-4370 or send email to rmccullough@kcstar.com. Follow him on Twitter: @McCulloughStar.

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