Finnegan among spring decisions for Royals

Finnegan among spring decisions for Royals

SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Spring Training games are finally on deck, and Royals manager Ned Yost can soon begin the process of determining the 25-man roster that he will break camp with later this month.

The Royals open the Cactus League schedule against the Rangers on Wednesday at Surprise Stadium.

For the Royals, of course, there won't be many significant issues to resolve. But there will be a few, most notably if the club keeps rookie left-hander Brandon Finnegan in the bullpen or if it sends him out to Triple-A Omaha when the season starts to stretch him out as a starter.

Yost also will have to determine whether he keeps seven or eight relievers in the bullpen, which could have a ripple effect on whether he keeps an extra outfielder or infielder when camp breaks.

"For me, I really don't sit down and have riddles to solve," Yost said. "I let it solve itself. Are we looking at the bullpen? Yes. Let's see who jumps out. Let's see who forces our hand.

"We have to ask: Do we take four or five outfielders? If we do, who is that fifth outfielder? Do we take one or two backup infielders? Who is that extra infielder?"

An extra position player beyond catcher Erik Kratz, infielder Christian Colon and outfielder Jarrod Dyson -- all locks to make the team -- will only come into play if Yost decides on a seven-man bullpen.

But an eight-man 'pen is a real possibility considering the health of Luke Hochevar, one year removed from Tommy John surgery, and the inexperience of Rule 5 right-hander Jandel Gustave, who has never pitched above Class A.

"You might have to protect someone like Gustave," Yost said. "If you want to take him, you might take an extra pitcher."

Yost also will keep an eye on third baseman Mike Moustakas, who has had torrid Spring Trainings the past two seasons, but then started out painfully slow in April each time.

"Moose has had two phenomenal springs and gotten off to slow starts," Yost said. "I'd rather see him get off to cold starts here and be hot when the season starts."

Moustakas, like most players, is just eager to bring the games on.

"You like to get your work in and all of that," Moustakas said. "But you get a little pumped for the games to start."

Jeffrey Flanagan is a reporter for Follow him on Twitter at @jflanagankc. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.