Volquez willing, if needed, to start Opening Day

Volquez willing, if needed, to start Opening Day

SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Royals manager Ned Yost isn't about to announce his Opening Day starter. He'll do that much later this spring.

Shoot, Yost isn't even prepared to announce his starter for the Cactus League opener against the Rangers on Wednesday.

As for Opening Day, the two obvious candidates are Edinson Volquez and Yordano Ventura. While Volquez said last month that he didn't really want the assignment, preferring to sit back and enjoy the sights and sounds of the day, he backed off a little from that stance on Thursday.

Royals' Spring Training info

"I've done it three times in my career and it's OK," Volquez said. "I don't know. If they ask me, yeah, I'll do it."

As Volquez spoke, Ventura approached his neighboring locker.

Outlook: Ventura, SP, KC

"How about him?" Volquez said, smiling and pointing to Ventura. "Go with the young guy.

"I don't know. If they go by what happens down here, they won't ask anyway."

Volquez traditionally struggles in Spring Training. Last year here, he posted a 6.33 ERA with a 1.92 WHIP.

"For whatever reason, my sinker doesn't work down here," Volquez said. "I'm guessing people were saying last year, 'We signed this guy?'"

Rule change
Major League Baseball instituted a rule change for runners going into second base:

"Under new Rule 6.01(j), which has been added to the existing Rule 6.01 on 'Interference, Obstruction, and Catcher Collisions,' slides on potential double plays will require runners to make a bona fide attempt to reach and remain on the base. Runners may still initiate contact with the fielder as a consequence of an otherwise permissible slide. A runner will be specifically prohibited from changing his pathway to the base or utilizing a 'roll block' for the purpose of initiating contact with the fielder. Potential violations of Rule 6.01(j) will be reviewable using instant replay."

Asked about the changes, Yost seemed to long for the old days.

"It's strange for me because when we grew up if you were on first, you were going to kill that guy at second," Yost said. "Any ground ball, you were going to wipe that guy out. That was back when Hal McRae used to do roll blocks. That was everyone's intent back then."

Photo Day
Royals coaches and players were busy on Thursday morning with photo day, which also includes signing plenty of baseballs and bats.

Royals all smiles at photo day

Yost said it does break up the day in a good way.

"You just do it," he said. "There's a lot that goes on in Spring Training. It's just one more thing you check off the box. We got photo day out of the way, autograph day out of the way.

"But it's really for a good cause. A lot of that stuff goes to charity. And our guys are really good about that. They don't complain."

Don't mess with Royals
Yost was asked if he thought the Royals might be targeted again by opponents, as they seemed to be early last season.

"You mess with one guy, you'll mess with them all," Yost said. "Everybody found that out last year."

Signings
The Royals signed several 40-man roster players to one-year deals: left-hander Scott Alexander, right-hander Miguel Almonte, outfielder Jorge Bonifacio, infielder Cheslor Cuthbert, outfielder Brett Eibner, outfielder Terrance Gore, outfielder Jose Martinez, right-hander Alec Mills, infielder Raul Mondesi, outfielder Bubba Starling and right-hander Kyle Zimmer.

Top Prospects: Bonifacio, KC

Most signed for the league minimum of $507,500. Cuthbert's deal was for $509,425. Gore, Alexander and Almonte got $508,500.

Still unsigned: Infielder Christian Colon, left-hander Brian Flynn, outfielder Reymond Fuentes, outfielder Paulo Orlando, left-hander Matt Strahm, and infielder Ramon Torres.

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