Opinion

Paulo Orlando has chance to break camp with Royals on Opening Day roster

Alex Rios sat out Kansas City’s game on Friday, which denied fans at Surprise Stadium the chance for a sneak peak at the teams Opening Day lineup. But they did receive an opportunity to watch Paulo Orlando, a 29-year-old Brazilian outfielder who has a chance to make the roster as a backup outfielder.

Orlando started in Rios’ place in right field against Seattle. Manager Ned Yost listed Orlando and Moises Sierra as the two main candidates should he decide to carry a fifth outfielder. Whit Merrifield, the team’s reigning position player of the year in the minor leagues, is also still in camp.

Yost could also pivot and take an additional infielder like Ryan Jackson or Ryan Roberts. But Yost has said he seeks an outfielder.

Orlando fits the bill. He entered Friday’s games with a .387 batting average and a .987 on-base plus slugging percentage in 17 Cactus League games. He is on the 40-man roster, which gives him a slight advantage over Sierra, who is not.

“He’s done everything well,” Yost said. “He plays solid defense in all three outfield positions. He’s a true centerfielder. He can play left and right equally well.

“He’s swinging the bat really well. He’s making great strides the last couple years offensively.

“He’s athletic, and he can run. He fits our profile.”

To reach Andy McCullough, call 816-234-4730 or send email to rmccullough@kcstar.com. Follow him on Twitter @McCulloughStar. Download True Blue, The Star’s free Royals app, here.

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