Reliever Peter Moylan is positioned to take the final unoccupied spot in the Royals’ bullpen.
The club announced Monday that left-hander Scott Alexander was optioned to Class AAA Omaha, while relievers Yender Caramo, Eric Stout and Al Alburquerque were re-assigned to minor-league camp.
The moves left Moylan, right-handed reliever Seth Maness and catcher Brayan Peña as the only non-roster invitees remaining in camp. Maness, a former reliever with the St. Louis Cardinals, is recovering from elbow surgery and will make his first spring appearance this week. He’s close to three weeks behind the rest of the staff, Royals manager Ned Yost said.
Moylan, 38, posted a 3.43 ERA in 44 2/3 innings while making 50 appearances for the Royals in 2016. A submarine-style right-hander, he waited most of the offseason for a major-league contract. When that contract did not materialize, he returned to the Royals on a minor-league deal. He now appears poised to begin the season in the bullpen.
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If Moylan is added to the roster, the club would have to make a corresponding move to create room on the 40-man roster. Moylan’s minor-league deal has an opt-out clause that takes effect on Tuesday. The Royals can block the move by placing him on the 40-man roster.
In eight appearances this spring, he has allowed just one earned run and eight hits. He’s struck out six and walked one. He also missed part of camp while competing for his native Australia in the World Baseball Classic.
Moylan would join Chris Young, Travis Wood, Mike Minor, Joakim Soria, Matt Strahm and Kelvin Herrera in the Royals’ bullpen.
In other expected moves, the Royals optioned outfielders Billy Burns and Peter O’Brien to Class AAA Omaha and reassigned catcher Zane Evans and infielder Humberto Arteaga to minor-league camp.
O’Brien had a strong camp, hitting seven homers in 27 games. But he had little opportunity to make the club because of a looming roster crunch. The Royals plan to use Brandon Moss at designated hitter and Paulo Orlando and Jorge Soler in right field. Even after a oblique injury to Soler, there is little room for O’Brien. The club rarely pinch hits and would prefer to carry outfielder Terrance Gore as a specialist off the bench.