With starters starting to go deeper into games and numerous candidates vying for bullpen roles, players like Dwyer, Lamb and Smith are shifting to get more innings in minor league camp.
Pucetas is competing against Jeremy Jeffress, Louis Coleman, Greg Holland, Blake Wood and others for a spot in the bullpen, but he’s been a starter almost exclusively as a minor leaguer. He was a longshot to make the team. Shell seemed like a candidate to sneak into the bullpen mix, but will instead be an option in case of injury.
Teaford seemed like a candidate to make the team as a left-handed reliever after a breakout 2010, but he’s struggled in camp, giving up 11 runs in 4.1 innings, including two homers.
Tim Collins seems like a lock for a bullpen role with the big league club with Teaford’s reassignment. He has a 1.80 ERA in 5 innings pitched. Danny Duffy, another possibility out of the pen, has had some control issues in 5 innings in camp, but has surrendered just two hits. Blaine Hardy is also in the running – and there’s always the chance the Royals go out and snag someone else.
Lamb made one appearance, striking out three of the four batters he faced. Dwyer walked four in 3.1 innings and struck out just one in three appearances. He put up an ERA of 7.36 in camp. Will Smith set down the first nine batters he faced in two appearances. He got roughed up a bit in a start against Oakland and finished with a 7.20 ERA.
The only player who seems to have missed an opportunity is Teaford. If Duffy does make the big league team rather than start at Triple A, he’ll get a chance to face major league hitters, but in small doses. Perhaps by midseason he’ll stretch out to make a spot start here or there, putting him in line to be a part of 2012′s rotation.
With just less than three weeks until opening day, there will be more cuts as the bullpen situation clears up and the organizational depth charts get settled.