The KC Royals set their 25-man roster for Opening Day Sunday morning Outfielder Terrance Gore and reliever Chien-Ming Wang won the final spots.
Kansas City Royals manager Ned Yost elected to open the 2016 season with a a now-typical split of 12 pitchers and 13 position players. Drew Butera won the back-up at catcher over Tony Cruz, who was optioned to Omaha earlier in the week.
Here’s the opening day roster breakdown:
Twenty of the 25 played for the KC Royals sometime in the 2015 season. Ian Kennedy, Joakim Soria, Dillon Gee, Chien-Ming Wang, and Reymond Fuentes did not appear with the Kansas City Royals last season.
The 36-year-old Wang, who has not played in MLB since 2013, earned the final bullpen spot over Brian Duensing, John Lannan, and David Huff. Wang was the runner up for the 2006 Cy Young Award with the Yankees. He earned his spot by adding 5 mph to his fastball over last season, lighting up the gun at 94 mph in Surprise.
Gore won the final KC Royals roster spot over utility infielder/outfielder Whit Merrifield and infielder Cody Decker, who were sent down Sunday. By adding Gore, manager Ned Yost picked a player whose only real use is as a pinch runner, since his bat is useless at the major-league level.
To me, the biggest surprise in Kansas City Royals camp this spring has been Chien-Ming Wang, who is showing the stuff that he had 10 years ago when he was a top of the rotation pitcher in New York.
This roster is hardly set in stone. Expect things to change rather quickly when outfielder Jarrod Dyson returns from a strained oblique, which is expected to happen after the first two weeks of the season. With Dyson on the roster, the KC Royals could elect to send down both Fuentes and Gore and add a utility player like Whitfield or Decker.